My Dad Was KIA In Iraq – Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Bicker Over Phone Calls

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Jena Greene Reporter
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There’s a ton of controversy surrounding the recent allegations that Trump called a war widow and blustered that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”


Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson has inserted herself into the mudslinging, claiming she was present when the conversation took place. Trump retorted that he has proof that this is fabricated.

Meanwhile, new widow Myeshia Johnson is vacuumed into a narrative she’d probably prefer not to be a part of.

Warping the tragedy of a fallen soldier into a PR stunt is lower than low. It’s dismal. I can certify this first-hand. My father was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot and was killed by hostile fire in 2004. I was 10 years old.

At the time, my father was one of the highest ranking soldiers to die in Iraq. The press surrounded our house for days, hoping to get a glimpse of the newly bereaved family. Flowers, cards and casseroles poured in. We received exactly one letter written and signed by President Bush and the first lady. We didn’t get a phone call from the president, and we didn’t expect to. It was not protocol for the commander in chief to personally phone a Gold Star family.

I know dozens of families who have lost loved ones in the war since 2004. None of them have received phone calls from Bush or Obama. It wasn’t protocol (and still isn’t) to call families after the death of their soldier unless it is VERY high-profile. And in that case, you’ll probably meet the president in person at Dover to receive the remains together.

And I can personally guarantee you that a phone call is the last thing on a family’s mind after they learn their soldier won’t be returning. Do you know what I was thinking about when I was 10 and just learned about the death of my father? My safety. My family’s safety. How we were going to pay for college without him there? Who was going to walk me down the aisle when I got married someday?

I wasn’t sitting by the phone waiting for the president to drop a line.

The fact that Trump is even attempting to call every new Gold Star family is itself honorable. It’s one of the toughest things a president can do. To turn the ultimate sacrifice into a war of words is nothing more than salt in the wound. Deceased soldiers deserve our utmost respect, and bickering over this kind of protocol rarely ends well.