FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth shared her personal story and thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month observation hosted by Headquarters & Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison on May 26 at Greely Hall.
The 2021 AAPI theme, Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service, framed the comments from the senator and local leaders on the importance of valuing diversity and putting people first.
"In today's Army, my number one objective is building leaders," said Maj. Gen. Anthony Hale, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence & Fort Huachuca. "This is a great theme for this year’s observance."
Hale introduced Duckworth, the first female double amputee and second Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, who joined the event via video conferencing.
"It's not every day we get a sitting U.S. Senator to Zoom in to Fort Huachuca," Hale said.
Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, she was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard where her helicopter was hit by an RPG, and she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2014. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.
Duckworth shared her experiences as an Asian American and the honor these cultures bring to military service.
"The American story as we know it would not exist if it were not for the strength of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community," she said. "In honoring this special month, we are reminded of contributions of Asian immigrants who have come to the shores of this great nation."
Being an American raised in southeast Asia by her Thai mother and American father, a former U.S. Marine, Duckworth was able to see America through another nation’s viewpoint.
"America's values, way of life and civil rights are all admired," she said. "I grew up incredibly patriotic knowing that I wanted to serve."
Duckworth closed by asking the audience to use this month of celebration to value others for their unique perspectives and life experiences, and to continue enhancing the community.
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command, and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 964 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, critical components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army's Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca