She was born in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1968 and is fluent in Thai and Indonesian. She attended college at the University of Hawaii and earned a Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University.
After her graduation, Duckworth moved to Illinois and began studying for her Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University.
In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard and was hit by and RPG. She lost both legs in the attack. She wounded her right arm and lost partial use of it.
She was awarded the Purple Heart for her injuries.
After becoming director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, she was appointed by then-President Barack Obama to serve as assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Duckworth, 52, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, and she serves on the Armed Services Committee. She was later elected to the Senate in 2016.
Duckworth publicly commented on sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden back in May, and said the women accusing him deserve to be heard.
“Any woman who brings, or any man for that matter, who brings forward allegations of abuse, especially in the workplace, deserve to be listened to, and I certainly think that we need to thoroughly look at these allegations,” Duckworth said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
She also defended Bill Clinton's invitation to speak at the convention, despite photos surfacing of one of Jeffrey Epstein's female accusers giving the former president a neck massage.
"I will let Bill Clinton defend himself and I'll let Bill Clinton make his remarks tonight," Duckworth told Bret Baier of "Special Report" on Tuesday. "What I can tell you is that the Democratic Party is a big tent and all sorts of folks fit underneath it. And I welcome anyone who truly wants to come and work to solve the problems we have in this country."
Her convention speech is slated for between 9-11 p.m., according to the party website.