Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for September, 2010

American Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 30, 2010

The crew over at American Contractors asked us to let you know that their website has been compromised and that they are working on getting all pages up and running ASAP.

You may access the website by using either of the following links

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

British Woman, Linda Norgrove, USAID Worker, Missing, Captured, in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 26, 2010

Linda Norgrove, 36, from Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland, was employed by US aid group DAI. She was seized with three local staff on 26 September.

Their two-car convoy was ambushed in the eastern province of Kunar.

Ms Norgrove was killed by her captors on Friday during a rescue mission by US forces.

Her colleagues were released unharmed last week.

The Briton is believed to have been taken by her captors from village to village as British, Afghan and other intelligence agencies worked in the remote and mountainous area of Kunar province to locate her.

Both the prime minister and Foreign Secretary William Hague were kept fully informed and British approval was given for a rescue mission to be mounted on Friday night, involving US forces with British officials offering advice.

In a statement, Mr Hague said the aid worker was “killed at the hands of her captors in the course of a rescue attempt”.

He said: “Working with our allies we received information about where Linda was being held and we decided that, given the danger she was facing, her best chance of safe release was to act on that information

A British aid worker who was abducted in Afghanistan last month has been killed by her captors.

Linda Norgrove died during an attempt by US special forces to rescue her. She was 36 and from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland and was working in Afghanistan for the American aid group, DAI.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said everything possible was done to rescue to Ms Norgrove.

Will update as reports are confirmed

She was working for an American contractor when the convoy she was travelling in was intercepted by militants.

Linda Norgrove  from May

Ten Medical Workers DIA from August

Three other workers, thought to be Afghans, were also captured.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ”We can confirm that a British national is missing in Afghanistan.

”We are working with other international agencies to urgently investigate these reports.”

Afghan media reported that the Briton was employed by Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) an American aid contracting firm.

The attack happened on Sunday morning in eastern Kunar province as the aid workers were travelling in two vehicles from Asadabadm the provincial capital, to Jalalabad.

Suspected insurgents stopped them in the Spin Jumaat area of Sawakai district at 11am local time, said Gen Abdus Saboor Allahyar, the provincial police chief.

He said DAI workers had not informed police of their journey.

The Afghans were the Briton’s guard, driver and another worker.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Suicide part of troubling trend

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 25, 2010


HEWITT, Texas, Sept. 20 (UPI) — A soldier who defused explosives in Iraq and killed himself in Texas had become “a ticking time bomb,” his father said.

Police said Spc. Armando Aguilar shot himself in the head at a gas station Aug. 21 after leading a policeman on a 10-mile chase, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Aguilar, 26, a member of Fort Hood’s 87th Sapper Company, was at least the 15th serviceman at the huge Texas base to commit suicide this year, Army records show.

Aguilar’s mental deterioration may have begun after his buddy from basic training committed suicide while in Iraq, Aguilar’s family told the Express-News. A month before his suicide, he thought he was seeing shadows of his friend.

Aguilar was twice hospitalized after attempted overdoses and was put on suicide watch. Two weeks before his death, he was put on anti-psychotic medication, which his family said may have backfired.

“He was a ticking time bomb already,” said the soldier’s father, Armando Aguilar Sr.

Statistics for the year through August show the Army had recorded 196 confirmed or suspected suicides.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Contractor Wounded in Rocket Attack on Green Zone Government and Diplomatic Enclave

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2010

FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Sept 23

BAGHDAD – Three rockets targeting a security company were fired at Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone government and diplomatic enclave, wounding one foreign contractor, an Iraqi army source said. Police said two rockets were fired without giving any further details.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2010

More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.

More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures.

This milestone in the privatization of modern U.S. warfare reflects both the drawdown in military forces in Iraq and the central role of contractors in providing logistics support to local armies and police forces, contracting and military experts said.

Steven Schooner, a professor of government contracting at George Washington University Law School, said that the contractor deaths show how the risks of war have increasingly been absorbed by the private sector. Private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan provide fuel, food and protective services to U.S. outposts — jobs once performed by soldiers.

“It’s extremely likely that a generation ago, each one of these contractors deaths would have been a military death,” Schooner said. “As troop deaths have fallen, contractor deaths have risen. It’s not a pretty picture.”

Schooner, who conducted a recent study of contractor fatalities published in Contractor Services [1] (PDF), an industry newsletter, said contractors now make up more than 25 percent of total deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan — a proportion that has grown steadily throughout the conflicts. Official figures show that 5,531 troops and 2,008 civilian contract workers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan between the beginning of hostilities in 2001 and June 2010.

Many working under U.S. contracts are local civilians, often working as translators for troops, or are hired from third world countries to do basic labor, such as cleaning kitchens and toilets.

Previous ProPublica stories [2] have noted that companies employing such workers often fail to report their deaths and injuries to the Labor Department, as required by law. Government figures likely understate the total number civilian contractor deaths.

The rising fatalities have received little public attention, concealing the full human cost of the war, Schooner said. When President Obama spoke of troop deaths in Afghanistan earlier this month, he made no mention of fatalities among the private workforce that feeds and fuels U.S. forces.

“I’m not accusing either the Bush or the Obama administration of intentionally deceiving the public,” Schooner said. “But when a president applauds a reduction in military deaths but fails to acknowledge the contractor personnel now dying in their place, someone isn’t telling the whole story.”

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the most privatized in American military history. Today, there are 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. As of March 2010, there were more than 200,000 private contractors, though that number is believed to have declined with the drawdown of U.S. forces.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced [3] a plan last month to sharply reduce the number of contractors, saying the Pentagon has become overly dependent on private workers to carry out jobs once done by soldiers.

A recent Congressional Research Service report [4] (PDF) found that the heavy use of contractors had exposed troops to supply shortfalls, wasted taxpayer money, and stirred anger among locals. In several high-profile incidents, heavily armed private security contractors have killed unarmed Iraqi and Afghan civilians.

“Some analysts believe that poor contract management has also played a role in abuses and crimes committed by certain contractors against local nationals, which may have undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the report found.

Marcie Hascall Clark, an advocate for contract workers, said that contractor deaths and injuries reflected contractors’ importance in fighting the wars.

Labor Department figures [5] show that more than 44,000 contractors have reported injuries since 2001, compared to about 40,000 U.S. troops. The figures are not entirely comparable, since contractor injuries include minor workplace injuries.

“I don’t think most contractors expect to be treated as nobly as our soldiers, but they don’t expect to be forgotten, either,” said Hascall Clark, who runs a group called American Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan [6]. “I think there should definitely be some recognition of what they do.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, Iraq, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

American Contractor Critically Injured September 14, Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2010

Wales Online September 23

He was killed instantly in the crash alongside an Iraqi interpreter and an American colleague was critically injured.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Karl Bowen, Private Security Contractor, Killed in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2010

Wales Online September 23

A VALLEY man has been killed while working for a security firm out in Iraq.

For eight years Karl Bowen, 30, of Abercwmboi, served in 2 Company 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, touring war-torn countries like Bosnia and Iraq.

In 2007 he was discharged from the Army and began working in HR recruitment – but decided that life on ‘civvy street’ was not for him.

Earlier this year he returned to Iraq to work for a close protection unit. He died in a freak road accident in Iraq on September 14.

Tributes have flooded in describing Mr Bowen as a great father, a “legend”, and an outstanding friend and football player who was the life and soul of the party and lived life to the extreme.

A father of two young girls, Elise, 11, and eight-year-old Lois, Mr Bowen had returned to Iraq just days before the car he was driving suffered a double blow out. He was killed instantly in the crash alongside an Iraqi interpreter and an American colleague was critically injured.

His distraught mother Clare Bowen said: “He always said he would not live to see his 31st birthday.

“Karl was never afraid to die, and he lived his life to the full.

“He fitted so much into such a short time – he was very intelligent and an absolute party animal. He had hundreds of friends.

“Life on civvy street was just not for him. He wanted to go back to the Army, but he couldn’t so he decided to take up this job.”

The former Blaengwawr Comprehensive School pupil started his army career with the Welsh Guards in November 1999.

His career took him to Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission in 2002 and again in 2006, and to Iraq in 2004 after qualifying as a sniper.

In 2007 he left the army and worked as a recruitment consultant before joining a private security company, working in Iraq for seven months.

Mr Bowen’s body has been flown to Kuwait while paperwork is completed.

It is expected to be flown to Cardiff later this week so that his family can organise funeral arrangements.

“The last few days have been an absolute mess for us – his younger brother Adam is in bits,” said his mother.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, Iraq, UK Contractor killed | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Contractors and the Ultimate Sacrifice, Contractor Casualties Skyrocket

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 22, 2010

by Steven L Schooner and Colin D Swan, The George Washington University Law School

Thanks you both for this report.

Contractor Fatalities Skyrocket in Iraq, Afghanistan

In 2003, contractor deaths represented only 4 percent of all fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan but jumped to 40 percent from 2008 to the second quarter of 2010.

So far this year, more contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than American soldiers.

In fact, more than half of the U.S. casualties were contractors, according to a new report by analysts at the George Washington University Law School.

The numbers are estimates, and the actual fatalities are probably higher.

Please see Our Fallen Contractors for an ongoing Memorial of the names and faces

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

National Average Weekly Wage Increase 2.63 % October 1

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2010

National Average Weekly Wages (NAWW), Minimum and Maximum Compensation Rates, and Annual October Increases (Section 10(f))

From the DoL Website

NAWW: $628.42
Maximum Compensation Rate: $1,256.84
Minimum Compensation Rate: $314.21
Percent Increase: 2.63%

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barbara Herwaldt CDC on Leishmaniasis in Iraq 2002

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 18, 2010

On December 11, 2002 Barbara Herwaldt, a leishmaniasis expert with the CDC spoke before the DOD in reference to leishmaniasis and the soon to be war in Iraq.

She warned them that Leishmaniasis would be a huge problem and that we were not prepared to deal with it.

She told them that they would be in Iraq during the prime sandfly season.

She explained that it was transmittable sexually, congenitally, and by blood transfusion.

She requested that there be a ban on blood donations from Soldiers and Civilians returning from Iraq.

This ban was not put in place until the end October of 2003 long after thousands of soldiers and contractors exposed to leishmaniasis returned to their homes.

From the transcript:

“In conclusion, the infection and the disease–we have simplicity amidst complexity.

We have recurring themes of being able to activate decades after latency; the possibility of at least intermittent long-term parasitemia;

the transmissibility by blood transfusion but we don’t know the level of risk, and the fact that visceral leish can be fatal and even bloodborne leish can be fatal.

Cutaneous leish  can be chronic and morbid.

No gold standard for diagnosis; no tests for mass screening; no great treatment and the treatment probably doesn’t result in sterile cure;

and the need for better understanding of the persistence and bioavailability of these parasites”

From The Iraq Infections

Posted in ACE, Aegis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Five Contractors Critically Injured in Afghanistan Sept 6

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 16, 2010

All three were killed, and five others critically injured.

A Milton man was among three people killed and five wounded Sept. 6 during a Taliban mortar attack in Afghanistan.Alan Monroe Herzel, 48, was a master plumber and civilian contractor for DynCorp International. He worked as a facilities support plumber supervisor for American troops, building and maintaining bath and kitchen necessities for the military.

He worked in Iraq for 18 months before tranferring to Afghanistan.

At the time of the attack, Herzel was working with an electrician and a computer specialist to set up a remote forward base camp officed. All three were killed, and five others critically injured.

Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Trahan Family Funeral Home. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakeview Baptist Church, with burial to follow at Pensacola Memorial Gardens.

Trahan Family Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

A Celebration of Life will be held at The Loyal Order Of The Moose Lodge No. 557, 8851 Lewis St. in Pensacola, fter interment.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Dyncorp | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal Over Benefits

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 14, 2010


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.

The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself.

The Sept. 1, 2009, amendment to Prudential’s contract with the VA ratified another unpublicized deal that had been struck between the insurer and the government 10 years earlier — one that was never put into writing, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue. This verbal agreement in 1999 provoked concern among top insurance officials of the agency, the documents released in the FOIA request show.

Read the entire article here

Posted in Political Watch, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

AIG, CNA, ACE the Terror of the DBA Insurance Industry

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 11, 2010

From an Injured Ally

Today we remember those killed in the attack on the USA by a group of extremists. Some of us from foreign lands at the bequest of our political masters stepped forward to join the fight against these terrorists. After fighting as part of our armed forces to end the war on terror some of us stepped forward yet again on private contracts to support the war on terror.

Yes we were well paid but if you consider what we earned it is nowhere near what the attorneys or the heads of the insurances companies get paid,  forget the bonuses,  just look at the salaries.

Yet when injured we face the terror of the insurance industry with no support from the political masters who went to war to prevent this terror.









Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Iraq, Political Watch, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

No Danger in Iraq in 2003

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 10, 2010

U.S. Civilian Contractor Killed in Iraq

Tuesday 05 August 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq – An American civilian delivering mail to the U.S. Army died Tuesday when his truck was blown apart by a remote control bomb north of Tikrit, the military and his employer said.

The slain U.S. civilian worked for Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, a Houston-based oil field-services and construction company. Halliburton is the former company of Vice President Dick Cheney which has major contracts for reconstruction in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Company spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the worker was on a daily mail run from Baghdad International Airport to the Tikrit region when the mine was exploded. Tikrit is 120 miles north of the capital.

Hall said the dead employee was with a team supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and that two fellow workers were in the convoy but not hurt. The military and the company declined to identify the victim.

It was not immediately clear if the civilian contractor was the first to die in Iraq, but their deaths have been rare, despite their work in extremely dangerous conditions.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Javier de la Garza Jr, Killed in Attack in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 10, 2010

Cousin remembers slain military contractor as man who cared for soldiers, Afghan civilians alike

Javier de la Garza Jr. loved traveling the world because it allowed him to meet new people and learn about other cultures.

His cousin Le-Ann Alaniz-Herrera remembers when he announced he would be going to Afghanistan to work for an information technology company.

“We told him not to go,” she said Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that prompted the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. “We said it was dangerous.”

De la Garza, 27, of Edinburg, was killed Monday in Afghanistan when the bunker in which he was staying came under attack.

He was working for DRS Technologies Inc., a company headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., that provides products, services and support to military forces and intelligence agencies across the globe.

Although he was not in Afghanistan as a soldier, de la Garza was working very closely with the U.S. Army, said Alaniz-Herrera. He had previously done a tour in Iraq while he was in the Army, and he wanted to return to the Middle East.

Dalia de la Garza reflected on her son’s death in a letter to her family, recalling how scared she was when Javier had enlisted at the age of 17.

“He did what he thought was best for himself and his country,” she wrote. “He is my hero.”  Read the entire article here

Former Valley Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

HAVANA – The family of a former valley soldier is mourning tonight.

Lots of questions surround the death of UTPA alumn Javier de la Garza Jr.

His grandparents in Havana tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS he worked as a private contractor overseas.

De la Garza was killed during some kind of attack in Afghanistan earlier this week.

The 27-year-old lived in Austin for some time before joining the Army in 2000. He deployed to Iraq then settled in the Valley after his service. He attended UT-Pan American in Edinburg before deciding to return overseas. This time he went as a civilian and worked in the IT department for a private contractor in Afghanistan.

De la Garza’s family hasn’t been told when his body will return to the states.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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