Obama to tap state director for U.S. VA

Feb. 3, 2009 at 6:13 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said he will nominate Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth as assistant U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary.

As assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs, Duckworth would oversee the department's public affairs, international communication and intergovernmental relations, the White House said Tuesday in a news release.

"Effective communications with Veterans and VA's stakeholders is key to improving our services and ensuring Veterans receive the benefits they deserve," said Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. "Tammy Duckworth brings significant talent, leadership and personal experience to this important work."

Duckworth was appointed director of the Illinois veterans office in 2006. She is a major in the Illinois National Guard, and was deployed to Iraq where, as a captain, she was assistant operations officer for a 500-soldier aviation task force. While piloting a helicopter flying combat missions, she lost both legs and partial use of one arm when her aircraft was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.

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