Juanita cleaning Tammy Duckworth's hair
PAGE 8
Tammy isn't the only female soldier speaking up for her fellow veterans. Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson was the first American mother to lose a limb in Iraq. Oprah first met Juanita in 2009 when she visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. What Oprah didn't know was that Juanita and Tammy share a connection.

After her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, Tammy was also taken to Walter Reed. "For five days, I was in searing, unrelenting, endless pain that just would not stop," Tammy says. "I was sure that I wasn't going to make it. All I could do was just lay there and look at this clock, and I just kept thinking, 'I can make it 60 seconds.'"

While Tammy was in recovery, Juanita, a fellow amputee, came to visit her and removed her own prosthetic arm. "She said, 'I know you're in pain,'" Tammy says. "'You're going to make it.' She said, 'Can I stand here for you?'"

Juanita stood by Tammy's side for five days, and helped wash the dust, sand and dried blood from Tammy's hair. "She just radiated this peace, this serenity that came out of her," Tammy says. "I hung onto that like it was a lifeline. Every so often I'd turn back, and she'd still be there."
FROM: American War Heroes: Why Are These Women Now Homeless?
Published on October 15, 2010
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