(The Telegraph) Maura Sullivan served as a marine in Iraq. Chrissy Houlahan worked on America’s response to nuclear attacks. Pam Keith defended troops who were court-martialed.
All three women dedicated years of their lives to the American military. All three are now running for seats in the US Congress.
The candidates are part of a new wave of female veterans who want to be on Capitol Hill after the 2018 mid-terms in November.
Currently just four of the 535 sitting senators and congressmen are women who served in the military. But in this cycle no fewer than 32 have ran for office.
The numbers are tilted towards the Democrats, with around two thirds of such candidates fighting against Donald Trump’s Republicans.
Experts credit the opening up of frontline military roles to both genders and a surge in women deciding to enter politics as driving the apparent spike.
Speaking to The Telegraph, all three women – who are running as Democrats – suggest that a sense of duty mixed with deep concern over Mr Trump sits behind the trend.
Ms Sullivan, 38, spent five years in the US Marine Corps, seeing deployments in Japan and the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2005 – just two years after the invasion.
She earned two medals for her service and later served as Barack Obama’s assistant secretary on veterans affairs.
It was her concerns about the state of America after Mr Trump’s victory that convinced her to enter the political fray, seeking the congressional seat in New Hampshire’s 1st district.
“Our country faces a crisis of leadership. We’re at an unprecedented moment,” she said.
“I’ve fought for our country, put my life on the line for our country. But I’ve never seen a moment facing our country quite like now.”
Ms Sullivan named “tenacity”, “unparalleled work ethic” and “determination” as strengths shared by female veterans who become political candidates, adding in a nod to her fighting days: “This is not the hardest thing that I have done.”