One flew an A-10 Warthog over Iraq and Afghanistan. Another was part of the 29th Infantry Brigade's medical operations near Baghdad. A third lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq.
All are war veterans aiming to serve in Congress. All reflect an evolving U.S. military. All are female.
After more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dozens of military veterans — Republicans and Democrats — are running for Congress this election year as voters have shown a fresh enthusiasm for candidates with no elected experience. This year, as the military has opened more jobs to women closer to the front lines, several of those veterans are females with battlefield scars and pioneering accomplishments.
Tammy Duckworth was a captain in the Army National Guard, sent to Iraq in 2004 and injured in November of that year when the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was struck but landed safely. In her second bid for Congress, the Democrat and former assistant secretary at Veterans Affairs hopes to wrest a northern Illinois seat from Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, an outspoken tea party freshman whose comments have stirred controversy.
Republicans and Democrats consider the 44-year-old Duckworth the favorite.
Tulsi Gabbard was a specialist with the medical unit of the 29th Brigade of the Army National Guard and a military police platoon leader who helped train the Kuwaiti national guard's counterterrorism unit. The 31-year-old stunned Hawaii's political establishment earlier this month with a come-from-behind win in the Democratic primary.
The former Honolulu City councilwoman is favored in the Democratic-leaning district in November.
The above is an excerpt from Politics on NBCnews.com - read the full article here.