15 things about Tammy Duckworth
1. Tammy Duckworth was born in Thailand and lived in countries throughout Southeast Asia before her family moved to Hawaii while she was in high school.
2. She was over $70,000 in debt when she graduated from the University of Hawaii.
3. She went to graduate school in the District of Columbia at George Washington University, where she joined the ROTC. She relocated to Illinois to continue her studies, then received a commission in the Army Reserve.
4. She requested training in one of the only combat jobs available to women: helicopter pilot.
5. Serving in the military is a long family tradition, dating back to the Revolutionary War.
6. She was deployed to Iraq during her doctoral work, where she served until her Black Hawk helicopter was ambushed Nov. 12, 2004.
7. She was seriously injured in the attack, waking up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to learn she had lost both of her legs and shattered her right arm.
8. During her rehabilitation, Duckworth placed a copy of the Soldier's Creed in her hospital room for inspiration. It reads, in part, "I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit."
9. One of her early goals during rehabilitation was to regain enough strength to be able to put her hair up in a ponytail by herself. Apparently, her husband's well-meaning hair-styling skills were minimal.
10. Two of her visitors while at Walter Reed were former Sen. Bob Dole and Sen. John McCain, who both helped her start thinking about a life in public service.
11. On the first anniversary of her injury, she held an "Alive Day" celebration at Walter Reed. Popular among injured soldiers, these parties celebrate their recovery. Duckworth used hers to pay tribute to all who had aided in her recovery.
12. Duckworth attended 2005's State of the Union address as the guest of Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who recruited her for this congressional race.
13. While she was still at Walter Reed, friends and National Guard peers remodeled her Illinois home to be wheelchair accessible.
14. Duckworth says people often come up to her in public and ask how they can get a prosthetic leg like hers for a family member.
15. She describes herself as a girlie girl. Her favorite color is pink, and she has ordered special prosthetic feet that she can wear heels with. She owns a baseball jersey that says, "Dude, where's my leg?"