Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Interview with Injured War Zone Contractors: What makes a civilian become a contractor?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 12, 2010

In the NPR interview it was suggested that money and patriotism were the main reasons someone became a contractor in a war zone.

Why did you become a contractor to work in a war zone?

7 Responses to “Interview with Injured War Zone Contractors: What makes a civilian become a contractor?”

  1. anonymous on purpose said

    Hello,

    The recruiter came to my class to recruit us, first I heard of KBR. I tried joining every branch out of High School but had asthma so that was a no-go. I went because I wanted to travel the world, have an adventure, make some money. I STAYED because I felt a deep sense of fulfillment that I was doing something important to protect our troops. It felt good to give my all and do a job that hardly anyone else in the world could, or would do. Unfortunately my sense of duty kept me working for a year after I was injured and then I had the audacity to think that the company I gave my all to would take care of me in my hour of need….HA…what a joke!

  2. Krash said

    When I called KBR Recruiting the tax free portion of the money was a great incentive to go to work overseas, but once I was actually there my reasons changed, as did many other of my coworkers, to a deep sense of patriotism. We could and still do provide a service, as truck drivers on the supply lines, that is essential to the military.

    As I have heard from many of my coworkers we expected to pay off our bills and come home safely or come home in box. What we didn’t count on was getting injured and being thrown to the curb not only by the company that hired us, but by the insurance companies that were paid premiums for our benefits in case we were injured. These premiums for medical benefits were paid and now the insurance companies are spending the monies on legal fees to deny benefits instead of just paying medical benefits.

  3. Art said

    I have worked here, in Iraq, since early 04. My reasons for coming were mixed. I had a good job, paying good money and headed over leaving a wife and 4 kids at home. Honor, duty, patriotism all played into the decision. Those words are outdated by most standards today but I was raised on them. It was “not” the money because I did not know what it would pay at the time. It seemed the right thing to do. I remember telling my wife it was just what I had to do.

    Those of us who have spent so much time here are paying a price for that decision. Broken homes, isolation and the loss of friends are part of the price. Doing the right thing is hard most of the time. There is no monuments in DC for this job. None the less I am proud of what we are doing, forgotten as we may be.

  4. American in Iraq said

    After i retired from the military in 2003. I worked as a defense contractor in San Diego. I had been contacted by a recruiter four times prior to that, about a job working in Iraq and declined.

    At the beginning of 2004, the company lost the contract. I was called by the same recruiter the day i was let go. I submitted my resume and had an offer letter 3 days later. So i took the job. I looked at it as another job along with working in a military environment, which i was comfortable with.

    I finish up finally after 5+ yrs, this June and going back to school. It’s been monetarily rewarding and professionally as well. I’ve enjoyed my job and my responsibilities working in a 3 man team in some very remote FOB’s. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

  5. My husband was a contractor for many years doing Humanitarian Demining in Post War Countries. He went to “Post War” Iraq, landed 4 hours after the mission accomplished speech. Well choreographed war in the beginning Iraq was. It had a start date and end date………
    There was no financial lure, no patriotism involved, it was his profession. It was rewarding to him knowing that the work he did clearing minefields or making way for power lines had a real impact on peoples lives.
    Only this time he was expected to do this dangerous work while bullets were still flying, soldiers were being kidnapped and sniped, improperly staffed, and with no security of any kind. His requests to move to a safer area until things calmed down fell on ears that were more concerned with pleasing the customer than the safety of him and his teams.
    He had no idea that the Defense Base Act made this complete disregard for the safety of those covered under it a legal and acceptable part of doing business.

  6. anonymous on purpose said

    Wow Marcie,

    That is some story. Your husband sounds like a brave man. Wish he was being treated better.

    Maybe one day…….

  7. Mike said

    Hello,
    My whole family has been active duty at one time or another.
    I got off active duty in 96. When my brother in-laws unit got called up he asked me what I was going to do for my country.
    He then suggested KBR. I had lots of bills from a previous marriage and this seemed like a good way to get out from under them!
    I was injured I a truck accident and told it was just pulled muscles, I toughed out the pain for several months. The pain became unbearable, was able to get south to Kuwait on business trip and had myself checked out at the International clinic. I was sent home from there and have been fighting a DBA claim for the last three years.

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