Friday, July 29, 2011

Illinois National Guard Aviator Inducted in Aviation Hall of Fame

Maj. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates and a 19 year veteran of the Illinois National Guard holds up her Federal Aviation Administration certificate following her final check ride July 19, 2010 with Tom Adams, the senior flight instructor at Dulles Aviation in Manassas, Va. Duckworth was recently inducted into the Women of Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. In November 2004, she lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm when her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

By Sgt. Nathan Hastings, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/28/2011)(readMedia)-- There are few people in the world born to fly, but Maj. Tammy Duckworth is one such person. The 19 year veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard and Hoffman Estates resident was recently inducted into the Women of Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame.

"I am extremely humbled to have been inducted into the hall of fame," said Duckworth. "Especially when the other inductees were an astronaut and an original member of the Women's Air Service Pilots or WASPs who served during World War II."

The Women of Aviation International (WAI) is an organization that recognizes and promotes female pilots. The WAI provided aviation scholarships, holds forums for professional pilots, and promotes flying for business or pleasure.

"Because of the WAI, women now have the opportunity to pursue aviation careers as pilots, engineers, or mechanics," said Duckworth.

Duckworth called her induction one of the highlights of her career as a pilot, which began in 1993.

"When I first went to flight school, all I hoped for was to graduate and not embarrass myself or my unit," said Duckworth.

Duckworth said some of her most memorable moments as a pilot happened while deployed to Iraq.

"My memorable moment on deployment was watching our unit execute a flawless Air Assault mission," recalled Duckworth. "We planned, led and executed the entire mission in conjunction with active duty, Reserves and other Guard units. It was the culmination of so many years of training for all of us."

Duckworth is qualified to fly Hueys, Blackhawks, and single-engine airplanes under 14,000 pounds. Serving in the Army National Guard has presented many opportunities for Duckworth.

"I have served next to some of the bravest and finest people I know, and had a lot of fun doing it. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a pilot and would still enlist tomorrow knowing what lies ahead of me," said Duckworth. "I have had a fantastic career as an Army National Guard pilot. To have also been inducted into the WAI Hall of Fame is simply the icing on what is already an incredible privilege, serving in the Guard."

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