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May 2, 2007

Q & A With Tammy Duckworth

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Tammy Duckworth

Photo Credit: Alessandra Petlin

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On November 12, 2004, former Army Major Tammy Duckworth lost both her legs when Iraqi insurgents launched a grenade at the Black Hawk helicopter she was copiloting. During her 13-month recuperation, Illinois Democrats asked her to run for the Congressional seat Rep. Henry Hyde will give up this month. She said yes, and she won the primary. Lisa Henricksson caught up with the unstoppable Duckworth at a campaign event in Illinois.

Q: WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY YOU WERE ATTACKED IN IRAQ?
A: I was finished flying my mission for the day, and I started to hear this “taptap tap” on the side of the fuselage. I knew we’d been hit by small-arms fire. Then I saw a giant fireball in front of my face. I just focused on the controls, and I remember feeling really frustrated that the tail wasn’t responding to my rudder inputs, which is what you do with your foot pedals. I never looked down, so I didn’t even realize my legs were gone.

Q: IF YOU’D BEEN IN A POSITION TO, WOULD YOU HAVE VOTED TO INVADE IRAQ?
A: No, because I felt it was a mistake from the beginning. The right thing to do was to pursue those enemies who attacked us on 9/11. And that was already happening in Afghanistan, with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.


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