Veterans And Family Invited To ‘Debt Of Honor’ Preview

wusf_debt_of_honor_invitationFor veterans living in the Tampa Bay region, WUSF Public Radio invites you to participate in a panel discussion and preview of the new Ric Burns film “Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History.”

The WUSF Florida Matters Town Hall taping is Thursday, Nov. 5 at the University of South Florida Tampa campus, in the College of Public Health’s Samuel Bell Auditorium (13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612).

Please join us at 5:30 p.m. for an opening reception, and the taping that starts at 6 p.m. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP at this link, or call 813-905-6901.

A preview of the film will be followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Filmmaker Ric Burns
  • Actor and national veterans’ spokesman JR Martinez
  • Taylor Urruela, a disabled veteran who lives in Tampa

It will be moderated by Carson Cooper, the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show.


Tammy Duckworth Named as One to Shake Up Congress

Tammy Duckworth arriving for her speech at University of South Florida Oct 12, 2010.

Tammy Duckworth arriving for her speech at University of South Florida Oct 12, 2010.

An news article by US News names former assistant secretary at the VA and Iraq combat veteran Tammy Duckworth as one of seven new members expected to shake up Congress.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth – One of the first female Black Hawk helicopter pilots to fly combat missions, Duckworth survived a 2004 rocket-propelled grenade attack. She lost both legs and part of her right arm, but managed to safely land her helicopter before attending to her injuries.

Duckworth competed in one of the most bitter races in 2012, against Tea Party incumbent Republican Joe Walsh. Duckworth proved herself as a hefty fundraiser, outspending her opponent by more than $3 million.

Continue reading

Women in Combat: One Newspaper’s Photographic Tribute

The Christian Science Monitor notes that even though women technically cannot serve in combat the lines between that rule  and their roles they fill has blurred.

Here are a few of the photos the newspaper shares in tribute to the military woman’s role.

Tammy Duckworth, former assistant secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (l., at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.),lost her legs in combat while piloting a Black Hawk helicopter. “When I’m asked if the country is ready for women in combat, I look down at where my legs used to be and think, ‘Where do you think this happened, a bar fight?’ ” Photo courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.

Though barred from combat, women in military service do have de facto roles. the photographic tribute includes 15 photos of women who have achieved high ranks despite the handicap of not serving in combat – technically.

Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the Army 101st Airborne Division splashes water on her face during expert field medical badge testing at Fort Campbell, Ky. Women can be “attached” to infantry units but not assigned to them– a policy that puts women in combat but never officially recognizes them. Photo courtesy of Christian Science Monitor.

Most military women will tell you that they do not seek special standards just the opportunity to serve and receive the credit for that service. You can see the full slide show HERE.

Air Force Maj. Allison Black was known as the ‘Angel of Death’ among Taliban fighters because it was her voice calling in airstrikes in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. “As a woman,” she says, “I would be devastated if any man gave up information to protect me [if captured by the enemy]. I would expect to be whooped up on … just like the guys.” Photo by the U.S. Air Force, courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.

You can read the Christian Science Monitor’s article HERE that looks at women in the military.

Handling the Holidays by Tammy Duckworth


Tammy Duckworth during her recent visit to USF.

The guest column below comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs blog, VAntage Point. Tammy Duckworth is the VA’s Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. She is a member of the Illinois Army National Guard and served as a Blackhawk pilot in Iraq where she was wounded losing both her legs and injuring her arm. Duckworth recently spoke on the challenges of living with disabilities at the University of South Florida.

By Tammy Duckworth December 21, 2010

I have real hermit tendencies. If it were not for my job and my husband, I would happily spend my days at home curled up, reading a book. This time of year can be both joyful and very isolating simultaneously. For those who are homebodies like me, or who are isolated, for whatever reason, this time of year can be downright deadly. It’s not a very far step from reading a book at home to feeling left out by the world.

The feelings of isolation can happen anywhere, even in crowds. I have a thing about crowds. I don’t like them. When I was a kid, I loved big holiday crowds, stores full of smiling people, lines to go see Santa. Nowadays, crowded malls and stores give me a headache and, at best, make me irritable and feeling trapped from potential exit points. Sometimes it can feel like one is literally an island amid the sea of people surging by in their holiday rush. These feelings are often intensified for those who have served in combat or who are on deployment.

We all know the holidays can be a stressful time. We also know there are lots of folks out there who can feel alone even among a crowd of people. This season, if you’re a Veteran, a service member or a family member, you can talk to a VA counselor. Please call 1-800-273-talk (8255). If you’re in danger of becoming homeless or are already homeless, call us at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).

It takes strength to ask for help. I know all of our warriors have that strength–sometimes you just have to dig deep for it. Please reach out to us. Your VA is ready to listen.

Duckworth: Celebrate Your Abilities

Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Tammy Duckworth

By Bobbie O’Brien

TAMPA (2010-10-12) –It was like a homecoming of sorts when Tammy Duckworth visited the University of South Florida to speak Tuesday. The former Illinois Army National Guard helicopter pilot is now an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth lost both her legs and the partial use of one arm when her Black Hawk was shot down in Iraq in 2004. The nurse credited with saving her life is a USF graduate.

Duckworth told hundreds gathered for the “Showcase Abilities Day” on USF’s Tampa Campus that her life is not about disabilities. Instead, she wakes up celebrating each day.

“It’s tough being disabled. It’s tough having to get up and take extra time to put on legs. It hurts. It’s a pain in the butt,” Duckworth said. “But, you’ve got to put all that stuff aside and think about the stuff you get to do.”

Tammy Duckworth arriving for her speech at University of South Florida Oct 12, 2010.

One of the many things Duckworth is delighted to be doing again is flying single engine planes.

After spending 13 months in the hospital recuperating and rehabilitating, Duckworth said, “It (flying) was like going home. I was once again controlling something again myself.”

Duckworth also made a private visit to newly wounded warriors at Tampa’s Haley VA Medical Center while in town.

To listen to Duckworth’s full speech, please click here: Duckworth USF speech Oct 12, 2010.

%d bloggers like this: