The Portraits

Tammy Duckworth

Artist Steve Alpert,  Senator Tammy Duckworth, Project Director Linda Maloney

U.S. Army, Retired • Lieutenant Colonel

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, Sen Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG and Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. Senator Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she quickly became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers and testified before Congress about caring for our Veterans and wounded warriors.

Sen Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms. In 2018, Sen Duckworth became the first Senator to give birth while serving in office. She and her husband Bryan are the proud parents of two daughters, Abigail and Maile.

Duckworth attended college at the University of Hawaii and earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University. In 2015, she  completed her Ph.D. in Human Services at Capella University. Since her recovery, Duckworth has resumed flying as a civilian pilot and fulfilled a promise she made at Walter Reed by completing several marathons. In her spare time, she volunteers at local food pantries and enjoys couponing and flea markets.