After four U.S. soldiers were tragically killed in an ambush attack in Niger, the widow of 25-year-old Stg. La David Johnson shared an infuriating account of her conversation with Donald Trump.
Myeshia Johnson says that, during a condolence call from the White House, Trump struggled to remember her husband's name and told the pregnant widow that Johnson
"must have known what he signed up for." (Trump has stated that her account is inaccurate.)
Now, female veterans and military personnel are responding to Trump's alleged comments on an unlikely platform: Lifetime. It's clear that times have changed when a decidedly middle America brand (one that has previously stayed out of politics) responds to Trump in a such a strong manner.
As Veteran's Day approaches, the network is rolling out a series of powerful videos in which a number of incredible women explain what they actually signed up for when they enlisted.
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"I signed up to become a better version of myself," says Tahlia Burton, Staff Sergeant U.S. Air Force. "People who decide to serve ultimately believe in something bigger than themselves." Burton, who was named "Airman of the Year" at the squadron and group levels in 2014, served six years as a Chinese, Pashto, and French cryptologic language analyst. After being honorably discharged, she was accepted to Columbia University and is currently studying political science and human rights.
"I wanted to be where I could do the most good and I could help the most people," says Elana Duffy, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army. "I knew that might involve being hit by a roadside bomb and I knew that might involve getting one of these Purple Hearts." In 2013, Business Insider reported that an IED in Iraq resulted in a massive brain bleed that was "essentially an aneurysm." After undergoing surgery, Duffy was no longer fit to serve. Today, she's putting the knowledge gained from her decade of service to good use. Duffy is the CEO of Pathfinder, a ratings and reviews platform for veteran resources.
Tee Hanible, Gunnery Sergeant (Ret.), U.S. Marine Corps explains that she signed up to remove herself from a negative environment in Chicago. "I was getting in trouble with the cops, I was hanging with the wrong crowds," she recalls. "I signed up to be a part of something that I knew would make my mom proud of me." Hannible was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and she was the only woman to go out with her unit. Today, you can catch her on Fox's reality show American Grit where she's the only female military expert.
"What I signed up for was to defend this country that let my mom in from war-torn Vietnam in the mid '70s and paved the way for other people to enjoy freedom," says Amanda Burrill, Lieutenant U.S. Navy. After her service, Burrill attended French culinary school and she currently works as a freelance writer.
Pam Campos, Technical Sergeant U.S. Air Force, explains that she "signed up for the military to fulfill my potential, to gain upward mobility, and to serve my country." Before Campos was 19, she was already briefing top commanders. "Before I was 23, I deployed twice by myself. When somebody trusts you in that way, with such high stakes, I think it really changes your life," she concludes. After over a decade of service, Campos currently works as a strategist, campaigner, and public speaker. Last year alone, she served as an international consultant for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a strategy team lead in Guatemala for a global social venture, and with a poverty-relief NGO in Honduras.
To see more of these women's compelling stories, visit "What I Signed Up For" on Lifetime.