Tammy Duckworth was the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first woman with disabilities to be elected to Congress, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.
An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. After losing both legs, Duckworth was fitted for prosthetics and is now fully mobile. She helped establish the Intrepid Foundation to help injured veterans. Senator Duckworth was the first female double amputee from the war. Having received a medical waiver, she continued to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, a signal officer and fellow Iraq War veteran, until her retirement from the Army in October 2014.
In May 2010, Duckworth was awarded an honorary doctorate by Northern Illinois University. In 2011, Duckworth was honored by Chicago's Access Living for her work on behalf of veterans with disabilities.
Tammy Duckworth has been very vocal in the Senate that in January 2018, following a federal government shut down after the Senate could not agree on a funding bill, Duckworth responded to President Trump's accusations that the Democrats were putting “unlawful immigrants” ahead of the military:
“I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something that the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do — and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: If you cared about our military, you'd stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger."