Guardsmen Elected to Congress

NGAUS Washington Report

(Nov. 13, 2012) Voters last week added five more current or recently retired National Guardsmen to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The five include the first two female combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in Congress: Capt. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Gabbard deployed to Iraq in 2004 and to Kuwait to 2008. She currently commands a military police company in the Hawaii Army Guard.

Duckworth lost both her legs and partial use of her right arm when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004. She was assistant secretary of veterans affairs for public and intergovernmental affairs from 2009 to 2011. She continues to serve in the Illinois Army Guard.

They will be joined as freshmen members of the 113th Congress by retired Maj. Gen. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., retired Sgt. 1st Class Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., and Col. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

Enyart served as the Illinois adjutant general from 2007 until earlier this year. Bentivolio is a veteran of the war in Vietnam and first Persian Gulf War, who deployed to Iraq with the Michigan Army Guard’s 1st Battalion, 182nd Field Artillery, in 2008.  

Perry commanded the Pennsylvania Army Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 104th General Support Aviation, in Iraq in 2008 and now heads the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Site.

The five will join another six currently serving or retired Guardsmen in the House.

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., Rep. Steven M. Palazzo, R-Miss., Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. all were re-elected Nov. 6.

Womack is a retired Arkansas Army Guard colonel. Kinzinger is a pilot in the Wisconsin Air Guard. Walz is retired Minnesota Army Guard command sergeant major. Palazzo is a sergeant in the Mississippi Army Guard. Stivers is a colonel in the Ohio Army Guard. And Wilson is a retired South Carolina Army Guard colonel.

The only currently serving Guardsmen in the Senate, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., lost his bid for re-election.

In addition, retired Brig. Gen. John E. Walsh, a former NGAUS vice chair-Army and Montana adjutant general, won election to serve as his state’s lieutenant governor.