A Changing of the Guard Among Veterans in Congress

The 113th Congress convened for the first time on Thursday, welcoming the largest wave of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since those wars began more than a decade ago.

Sixteen members of the new Congress served in Iraq or Afghanistan, including nine new members, according to the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

But the number of veterans joining Congress continued a four-decade long slide, dropping to 106 in the 113th Congress, according to data from CQ Roll Call.

The Senate will have 18 veterans, down from a peak of 81 in 1977 and the lowest since at least World War II, according to data from the Senate Historical Office. The House will have 88 veterans, down from a peak of 347 in 1977, according to the Military Officers Association of America.

The presence of veterans in Congress peaked in 1977, shortly after the Vietnam War, when 412 veterans were sworn in with the 95th Congress, according to the military officers group.

But the number of veterans serving in Congress has fallen steadily since then, with Congress losing about 10 veterans over the last few election cycles, according to the military officers group.

The new crop of veterans includes the first two female combat veterans to serve in Congress, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, both Democrats.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/a-changing-of-the-guard-among-veterans-in-congress/

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