Last week, the Republicans displayed their share of brilliant women including, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Mayor Mia Love, Gov. Nikki Hayley, Gov. Susana Martinez and Sen. Kelly Ayotte. This week the Democrats will have their own broad range of brilliant woman speakers at their convention.
On Tuesday night the nation was introduced to Tammy Duckworth. Lt. Colonel Duckworth is the latest in a string of remarkable woman that have burst onto the national stage. Duckworth was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She grew up in a military family and spent time in Southeast Asia as a child. Her family settled in Hawaii when she was 16. She graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, and received a Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University.
Duckworth is a career soldier and public servant. She became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992 and chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school and joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996.
Duckworth was deployed to Iraq in 2004. She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. She is the first female double amputee from the Iraq war. The explosion "almost completely destroyed her right arm, breaking it in three places and tearing tissue from the back side of it."
Duckworth received a Purple Heart on December 3 and was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole dedicated his biography One Soldier's Story in part to Duckworth.
Duckworth is now running for Congress. She is seeking to represent the 8th congressional district of Illinois.
In her speech, Duckworth discussed how a helping hand helped her achieve her dream. She said, “Dad's work took us all over the world until he lost his job. My 55-year-old dad tried to find work. But at 15, I was the only one with a job—after school, for minimum wage. Thank God for the food stamps, public education and Pell grants that helped me finish high school and college.”
“Our family did the responsible thing and rolled up our sleeves. In time we pulled through.”
“I became an assault helicopter pilot, working my way up to command a Blackhawk helicopter company. In 2003, my National Guard unit was mobilized, and I became one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in Iraq.”
Duckworth understands the importance of the economy. She wants to “build an economy that will create jobs here at home and out-compete countries around the world."
She believes in an America unafraid to give a helping hand and unafraid to work together.
“It's about whether we will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me; whether we'll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled; whether we'll pull together in a time of need; whether we'll refuse to give up until the job is done.”
Duckworth is a proud American, soldier, war hero. She understands personal sacrifice, hard work, personal responsibility and how to reach back to give a helping hand.
Conservative journalists might not always agree with Tammy Duckworth’s politics, but a number of them applauded her speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention. Duckworth earned praise from journalists at outlets including the National Review, the American Spectator, NewsBusters and Townhall.com.
Transcript of LT Colonel Duckworth’s speech.