NEW YORK, NY (September 14, 2017) – On September 27, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, will host its inaugural “IAVA Salutes” event to recognize individuals who have demonstrated tremendous courage and leadership in support of the veterans community at its first annual “IAVA Salutes” event in Washington D.C.
IAVA will honor ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz with the 2017 IAVA Leadership in Journalism Award for her strong coverage and understanding of the complexity of issues affecting troops and veterans, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2) with the 2017 IAVA Leadership in Government Award for her focus and effectiveness in ensuring veterans remain a priority on Capitol Hill. The evening will feature a special live performance from The Fishermen Band and is made possible by generous sponsorship led by The District Communications Group.
“This is a historic event honoring two of our nation’s greatest veterans advocates working in media and government. Martha Raddatz is one of our generation’s most prolific war correspondents. Her work on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has always thoughtfully and relentlessly given voice to the service members and their families that have sacrificed so much for the last 16 years. She has also personally supported veterans through her service on the Board of the Bob Woodruff Foundation,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA . “We are honored to have the opportunity to recognize Congresswoman Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and soldier in the National Guard, who continuously has the backs of IAVA members through her work in Congress and as a steadfast advocate for national defense issues. Congresswoman Gabbard is an example of what our generation of veteran leaders can accomplish and has been a critical leader in IAVA’s fight for increased recognition and services for women veterans, including serving as an original co-sponsor of the Deborah Sampson Act.”
Martha Raddatz: Martha Raddatz is ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and co-anchor of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” She has covered national security, foreign policy and politics for decades – reporting from the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, and conflict zones around the world.
She began covering war during the crisis in Bosnia in the late 1990s, but it is Iraq and Afghanistan where she has spent most of her time overseas. Even during her stint as White House correspondent during President George W. Bush’s administration, she continued to make regular trips into war-torn Iraq.
Raddatz embedded with U.S. forces during dozens of trips abroad, from the sands of Al Anbar province to the mountains of the Hindu Kush. She is the only television reporter allowed to fly in an F-15 fighter jet on combat missions over Afghanistan, spending nearly 10 hours in the air on two separate missions. In 2011 she reported exclusive details on the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. That same year she was one of the few reporters on the last major convoy out of Iraq. She also had an exclusive interview on the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Libya with the Marines who helped rescue two American pilots who had gone down in Libya. In 2012, Raddatz was on a U.S. destroyer as it made its way through the Strait of Hormuz. Raddatz reported exclusively from the USS George H.W. Bush covering the airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in 2014, and again in March 2016 from the USS Truman. In 2015 she was granted exclusive access to the anti-ISIS command center at an undisclosed location in the Middle East, and anchored “This Week” from an air base from which drone warfare is conducted.
In addition, her reporting trips have taken her to Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, Libya, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and numerous countries in Africa and Asia.
In October 2012, Raddatz moderated the only Vice Presidential debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden, which covered both domestic and foreign topics. Post-debate Raddatz received an outpouring of praise for asking pointed questions on a range of issues while asserting control over the conversation. She received the Walter Cronkite Award for excellence in political journalism with a special commendation for debate moderation. During the 2016 election Raddatz co-moderated the Democratic and Republican primary presidential debates on ABC as well a presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, for which she once again received praise for her moderating skills.
From 1993-1998 Raddatz was the Pentagon correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR). Prior to joining NPR in 1993, she was the Chief Correspondent at the ABC News Boston affiliate WCVB-TV. In addition to covering several Presidential campaigns, she reported from the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East, the Philippines and Europe.
In 2012 Raddatz received the First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) for excellence in journalism as well as the prestigious Fred Friendly First Amendment Award. She received five Emmy Awards, including an Emmy for being on the team covering the inauguration of Barack Obama, the attacks of September 11th and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. She was also the recipient of the 2007 International Urbino Press Award, the 2005 Daniel Pearl Award from the Chicago Journalists Association, and a 1996 Overseas Press Club Award for her live coverage of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. In 2007 the White House Correspondents’ Association awarded her the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in Presidential news coverage under deadline pressure.
Raddatz is the author of “The Long Road Home-a Story of War and Family,” a highly acclaimed book about a battle in Iraq that made both The New York Times and The Washington Post bestseller lists. The Washington Post described the book as “a masterpiece of literary non-fiction that rivals any war-related classic that has preceded it.”
Raddatz is the mother of a daughter and a son. She is also on the board of the Bob Woodruff Foundation that supports wounded veterans and their families.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard: Tulsi Gabbard spent her life growing up in beautiful Hawai’i. As a teenager, she co-founded an environmental non-profit called Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, focused on educating children about protecting Hawaii’s environment.
An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai’i State Legislature in 2002 when she was just 21 years old, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. A year later, she joined the Hawai’i Army National Guard to serve Hawai’i and our country. In 2004, Tulsi volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone.
Tulsi served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a Major in the Army National Guard. Tulsi’s 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.
In between her two tours, Tulsi served in the U.S. Senate as a legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), where she advised him on energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veteran issues. While working for Senator Akaka in 2007, Tulsi graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy, where she was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the Academy’s 50-year history. Tulsi was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and again assigned to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard-this time to serve as the Military Police Platoon Leader.
Tulsi continued to work for Senator Akaka until 2009, when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East. During this second deployment, in addition to leading her platoon on a wide variety of security missions, she also conducted non-military host-nation visits and served as a primary trainer for the Kuwait National Guard. Tulsi was one of the first women to set foot inside a Kuwait military facility and became the first woman to ever be awarded and honored by the Kuwait National Guard for her work in their training and readiness program.
In 2010, Tulsi was elected to the Honolulu City Council, serving as Chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. In 2011, she visited Indonesia as part of a peacekeeping training with the Indonesian Army. Tulsi was elected in 2012 to the United States House of Representatives, serving Hawaii’s 2nd District. She is one of the first two female combat veterans to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, and also its first Hindu member.
Now in her third term in Congress, Tulsi brings with her a broad range of real world experience, a storehouse of personal strength, and tested leadership as she represents the people of Hawai’i and our nation in Congress. As she works on the challenges that face our country, she remains focused on bringing her pragmatic approach to working in a collaborative, bipartisan fashion to find real solutions that best serve the people. Tulsi serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee where she is a strong advocate for veterans, our service members, and making smart strategic decisions that best secure our nation. Tulsi is working every day to make sure we have a sustainable economy that works for all families, with access to affordable health care, good jobs, and a quality education.
The Fishermen Band is a national and DC-local favorite, with deep roots in Georgetown and the Potomac River. Their original songs cover an inclusive range of genres, with a specialization in upbeat folk music. Lindsay and Phillip Hough, the founding brothers behind The Fishermen Band come from a military family, traceable all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.