Tammy Duckworth flew Blackhawk helicopters in Iraq. She has a story to tell you:
Running back to the helicopter, jumping in, getting ready to end our day’s missions, we got the call: We have passengers for you over in a base northwest of where we were. Can you please detour and come and pick up some of these passengers and go on home? So we did, and on the way back, we flew over basically a nest of insurgents who had been flushed out of Fallujah. The area where they were had not been cleared in about 29 days, and they had watched Black Hawk after Black Hawk fly over their position all day long, and they ambushed us. They shot everything they had up into the air. An RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] came up through the chin bubble of the aircraft. We’re not sure whether it exploded inside the aircraft or just outside, but basically in my lap. It vaporized my right leg, kicked my left up into the instrument panel of the aircraft, which amputated it, blew off most of my right arm — and all I could think of is, it’s time to land the aircraft.
The next thing I remember is waking up at Walter Reed. My husband during this whole time was sitting next to my bed and saying, “You’ve been hurt. You’re safe. You’re at Walter Reed,” over and over and over again for 10 days. So I woke up knowing that I’d been hurt but that I was safe.