Disabled and non-disabled veterans among those elected to Congress
This list is by no means exhaustive, and we have someone on staff that will look them all up later. But since it is 5am, there's obviously no one in the office. But some veterans, both disabled and not have been elected:
In Florida's 18th Congressional District, voters selected Brian Mast, a double amputee with service in Army EOD:
After graduating from South Christian High School in 1999, I followed in my father's footsteps and enlisted in the U.S. Army. There I enjoyed service for over 12 years. However, as much as I loved being a soldier, I always knew pleasure was never its intent. During my service, I had the honor of serving under the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as a bomb disposal expert. This meant that life was always dangerous and very often deadly.
Working under JSOC meant fighting at the tip of the spear in the ongoing war against radical Islamic terrorism. Being a bomb technician in this high level of special operations came with a great responsibility. My task was protecting my fellow soldiers from the war’s most deadly weapon, the improvised explosive device (IED). This meant placing myself directly in the line of fire on each and every mission.
While I was able to detect and destroy most of these IED's, the very last IED I found resulted in sustained catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both my legs. During this time in service I was awarded medals for valor, merit, and sacrifice, to include The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
I believe in my heart that the trials we each face have little importance compared to what we do in response to each challenge that we face. We as Americans do not curl up into a corner and quit when life gets tough. We own our challenges. We use those challenges as the tool to make us the strongest we have ever been. I believe it is that kind of people we must never cease to be.
And in Illinois, amputee and former helicopter pilot Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Senator and Navy Reservist Mark Kirk. Tammy spent some time working for the VA before she ran for political office (From WIKI):
Following in the footsteps of her father, who served in World War II, and ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War, Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a graduate student at George Washington University in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992 and chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school, later transferring to the Army National Guard and entering the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996. Duckworth also worked as a staff supervisor at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.
Duckworth was working towards a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University, with research interests in the political economy and public health in southeast Asia, when she was deployed to Iraq in 2004. She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. She was the first female double amputee from the Iraq war. The explosion "almost completely destroyed her right arm, breaking it in three places and tearing tissue from the back side of it". The doctors "reset the bones in her arm and stitched the cuts" to save her arm.[Duckworth received a Purple Heart on December 3 and was promoted to Major on December 21 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal. She retired from the Illinois Army National Guard in October 2014 as a lieutenant colonel. She returned to school and completed a PhD in Human Services at Capella University in March 2015.
Meanwhile in Indiana, former Congressman and Marine Todd Young has been elected to the US Senate:
Just a few weeks after graduating high school, Young enlisted in the United States Navy and reported for duty in Newport, Rhode Island. In May 1991, Young received an appointment from the Secretary of the Navy to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where his classmates elected him a class officer and he earned a varsity letter as a member of Navy's NCAA Division I soccer team. He graduated cum laude in 1995, earning a B.S. in political science, and accepted a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Upon graduating from Annapolis, Young trained for six months as a rifle platoon commander at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, where he qualified as an expert rifleman. In 1996, he completed the Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course in Dam Neck, Virginia and was entrusted with a Top Secret security clearance. Young then led the intelligence department of VMU-2, an unmanned aerial vehicle squadron based in Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he participated in various military operations, including counter-narcotics activities in the Caribbean, and was trained in Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. In 1998, Young was transferred to Chicago, Illinois, where he managed all Marine Corps officer recruiting operations in the greater Chicago and northwest Indiana region.
I'm sure there are others, and I will include them all when I get the list.
Worth noting is that the one outstanding Senate race (meaning we have no winner yet) reatures Kelly Ayotte versus Maggie Hassan. Kelly's husband is Joseph Daley, an Iraq War veteran and former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq which is why she's a huge advocate of the A10 as a weapons platform.
Coming incredibly close to knocking off incumbent Senator Roy Blunt was Jason Kander who
After 9/11, he enlisted in the Army National Guard. While earning his law degree at Georgetown University, he earned his commission through the University's ROTC battalion. After completing his law degree, he volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan, where he served as a lieutenant.
When he returned home, Kander took a position as an instructor at the Missouri Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School at Fort Leonard Wood. In 2010, Kander was named one of 10 finalists for the Army Reserve Association's Maj. Gen. Strom Thurmond Outstanding Junior Officer of the Year Award. He was discharged honorably at the rank of Captain in 2011.
Kander came astonishing close in a race many had written off quite a while ago, but he ran hard on his veterans status, and probably has a bright political career ahead of him.
Another person elected, this time on the state level, was former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens who was elected Governor of Missouri.
Greitens attended Naval Officer Candidate School in January 2001, after graduating from Oxford. He began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) and graduated with Class 237 in Coronado, California, in February 2002. Greitens is currently a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Reserve, and he was deployed four times to Iraq,Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia. He served as the commander of a joint special operations task unit, commander of a Mark V Special Operations Craftdetachment, and as commander of an al Qaeda targeting cell. Some of his personal military awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal,Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
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Since our founding, we have always been a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing together veterans and innovative community organizations to create transformational change for communities in need all across the country.
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Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve.
So either way, lots of new veterans faces on the Hill, which is always a good thing.