Tammy Duckworth as a soldier
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Dealing with painful physical injuries is another struggle some female soldiers face, and Maj. Tammy Duckworth is a prime example. In 2004, Tammy was piloting an Army Blackhawk helicopter just north of Baghdad when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. "It had exploded right against the aircraft, and it vaporized my right leg, amputated my left and blew off most of my right arm," Tammy says.

Tammy barely survived the attack and was sent home to start the long recovery process. Back on American soil, Tammy learned to walk on her prosthetic legs and became a high-profile
advocate for veterans. She also received the Purple Heart for her service. "I should have died that day in Iraq," she says. "I don't know how I survived. I feel that this time in my life is bonus time. I've been given this great gift."

Why Tammy fights for veterans Watch  

In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Tammy to assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs, the government agency that provides services for veterans. Tammy says she's made it her mission to improve the system for both men and women. "I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can help make changes happen," she says. "I see it as a real privilege."

FROM: American War Heroes: Why Are These Women Now Homeless?
Published on October 15, 2010
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