Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘Triple Canopy’

Mark Fisher, Triple Canopy, Never Going Back to Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 31, 2011

The Fiji Times December 31, 2011  See also at MsSparky

MARK Fisher is never going back to Iraq. Eighteen days of mental torture at the hands of the Iraqi military and the real threat of being executed at any time still replays through his mind.

Mr Fisher, who was freed by the Iraqi military after US intervention and flew home on Thursday, said he thought his life was over when soldiers ordered him and his team to kneel facing a wall and to put their hands behind their heads.

“I thought, ‘this is it’. The only thoughts going through my head were non-stop prayers. No amount of money is worth going through what happened to me and my team and no amount of training can ever prepare a person for what we experienced,” he said in the safety of his Votualevu home in Nadi yesterday.

Despite being set free on December 27, after spending Christmas in an Iraqi military cell, Mr Fisher has trouble sleeping.

The former Republic of Fiji Military Forces sergeant began working in 2009 as a contractor with Triple Canopy Incorporated ù a private company contracted by the US State Department to remove military equipment from forward operating bases (FOB) in Iraq after the US military pullout.

“That’s what we were doing when we got detained. We had just cleared a FOB when we were stopped five minutes down the road and taken to a military camp. Our captors said they had to make sure that we had the authority to remove the equipment we had with us,” the 41-year old explained.

“As far as we were concerned, we had the green light and the appropriate clearance to do so but the Iraqis thought otherwise.”

During the ordeal, Mr Fisher and his team of seven men, which included Americans and Iraqi nationals, were ordered to eat food that was thrown on the floor.

“We refused to eat it because the cell was filthy. Instead we ate fruits and bribed some of the soldiers to give us chocolates,” he said.

Although their phones were confiscated, Mr Fisher said a colonel, who was sympathetic towards them after experiencing being detained by Saddam Hussein’s regime, allowed them the use of his telephone to contact friends and relatives.

“The Americans called their embassy but I called my wife, Mariah and informed her of what had happened,” said Mr Fisher.

Mrs Fisher said she grew concerned after not hearing from her husband for a few days.

“We normally communicate via texting and when I hadn’t received anything from him for a few days, I knew something was up. When he called and told me he was detained and no one from Triple Canopy had come to see him and his men, I got really angry,” she said.

When she was finally contacted by Triple Canopy, an official said Mr Fisher and his men had been detained but they were being well looked after and housed in warm quarters.

“We were in a cold cell with no mattresses on the floor and it was winter,” Mr Fisher said.

“There was no heating and no blankets and we had to huddle to keep warm.”

When asked what got him through the 18-day ordeal and mental torture, the father of five said it was God and his family.

“The prayers and my faith plus the thoughts of my wife and five children kept me going, hoping for freedom,” he said.

The Triple Canopy team was released after US Congressman Peter King took up the case.

“If it wasn’t for him, I think we would still be there or worse still, who knows what could have happened to us.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contracotrs Detained, Iraq, Political Watch, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Civilian Contractor Sean Ferguson, Triple Canopy, dies in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 14, 2011

VISALIA, Calif. (KMPH) – November 14, 2011

A Visalia family is mourning the loss of their son in Iraq.

29-year-old Sean Ferguson received two Purple Hearts while serving our country. He joined the U.S. Army in August 2001 and retired eight years later as a Staff Sergeant after he was hurt in combat.

He returned to Baghdad to work for Triple Canopy, a private contractor that provides security and mission support services to government agencies and other organizations.

In 2005, he got a visit from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a combat surgical hospital in northern Iraq after he was hit by a sniper the day before.

Sean was born in San Diego on July 7, 1982. He was a 2001 graduate of Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia.

The Ferguson family was notified by the U.S. Consul of Sean’s death. According to a statement obtained by KMPH News, Sean died of natural causes.

A memorial service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at the corner of Caldwell Ave. and Chinowth St. in Visalia on Saturday, November 19, at 10 a.m

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Three Triple Canopy Security Contractors Killed Green Zone Rocket Attack, 2 Americans Wounded

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 22, 2010

BBC News Middle East

A rocket attack on Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone has killed three foreign security workers and injured 15 more, according to the US Embassy.

The dead and wounded are all employees of the US contractor Triple Canopy.

Two Ugandans and a Peruvian died, and two Americans were among the those wounded when the rocket struck on Thursday.

Triple Canopy, based in Herndon, Virginia, guards security checkpoints for US military facilities in Iraq.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Iraq, State Department, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ms. Sparky aims at KBR, electrifies war-contractor scrutiny with blog

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 12, 2010

Debbie Crawford was playing with her grandson at her Battle Ground home two years ago when she heard a news report on a Green Beret who died in Baghdad. The water pump in his Army shower was not properly grounded, and when he turned the faucet, a jolt of electricity killed him.

Crawford cried, her worst professional fear realized. She went to her laptop and began to type:

“As a licensed electrician who worked for KBR in Iraq for two years, I find this UNACCEPTABLE!!!! How did this happen? Let me give you my opinion from first-hand experience….”

Five weeks later, after a Senate staffer saw her post, Crawford testified before Congress to poor management and poor workmanship by Kellogg, Brown & Root in Iraq, including subcontracting electrical work to locals not skilled to U.S. standards and failing to check electricians credentials.  Read the entire story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Dyncorp, KBR, Political Watch, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

POGO Uncovers Lax Oversight of Baghdad Embassy Diplomatic Security

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 26, 2010

Surprise! Another War-Zone Embassy Poorly Guarded by Contractors

By Spencer Ackerman 3/26/10 8:35 AM

Last time, it was the lascivious behavior of ArmorGroup — the private security firm handling the U.S. Embassy in Kabul — that attracted headlines. Those revelations led to disclosures of how contractors knowingly hired guards with poor English skills to save money — something the State Department knew about before renewing the company’s contract. Now it’s Triple Canopy, which guards the gargantuan U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

The Project on Government Oversight, the good-government group that discovered ArmorGroup’s State Department-abetted negligence, has obtained a report from the State Department investigating the department’s management in handling its contract with Triple Canopy for embassy security. POGO was good enough to pass the report on to me. Labor standards are such that Triple Canopy guards often worked ten or eleven consecutive days on average, with some working 39 days in a row without a break.

Here are some highlights of how State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which controls the contract, is managing your money and protecting American diplomats in what remains a warzone.

Embassy Baghdad has not adequately planned for a reduced Department or Department of Defense (DoD) presence in Baghdad, resulting in a projected unnecessary cost of approximately $20 million to the U.S. Government for site security over the next two years. Of this sum, the Department would incur approximately $12 million and DoD would incur more than $8 million in unnecessary costs.

Remember that everything the U.S. is supposed to be doing in Iraq is predicated on the 2011 troop withdrawal. I’ve heard from former administration officials that the embassy is lax in its political mission in Baghdad. Apparently that attitude has some spillover effect.

This will be familiar:

DS does not ensure that [Triple Canopy] personnel have required English language proficiency.

The report further finds that DS did not carry out the random language checks they were supposed to have carried out. True story: when I visited the embassy in 2007, the Triple Canopy guards were very nice people from (if I recall correctly) El Salvador, who made up for their lack of English with warm attitudes. I saw one guard actually reading a Teach-Yourself-English handbook on post in the Green Zone. Clearly DS’s negligence with ArmorGroup’s English-challenged guards is hardly an isolated case.

This might be my favorite:

The contracting officer’s representative in Baghdad does not verify either the guards’ attendance at their posts or the accuracy of personnel rosters (muster sheets) before they are submitted, to ensure contractor charges for labor are accurate. In addition, DS does not ensure that personnel have required English language proficiency.

DS lacks standards for maintaining training records. As a result, Triple Canopy’s training records are incomplete and in disparate locations making it difficult for the Bureau to verify whether all personnel have received required training.

And yet the IG’s overall conclusion is “The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) generally manages the Triple Canopy contract well.” The last State Department Inspector General to take such a sunny interpretation of contract security in spite of the accumulated evidence resigned in disgrace.

POGO executive director Danielle Brian comments in a prepared statement, “How could State not have learned their lesson after the public flogging they got for their handling of the Kabul contract?…This report again raises an important point about whether State can properly manage Embassy security contracts in a war zone.”  Full Story here

Posted in Armorgroup, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractor Electrocuted in Shower

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 8, 2009


By KIMBERLY HEFLING (AP) – 1 hour ago

Contractor electrocuted in shower

By KIMBERLY HEFLING (AP) – 34 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — A State Department contractor apparently has been electrocuted while showering in Baghdad even as U.S. authorities in Iraq try to remedy bathhouse wiring problems that have led to the deaths of American troops there.

The contractor, Adam Hermanson, 25, died Sept. 1, his wife, Janine, said Tuesday. She added that a military medical examiner told her that preliminary findings indicate her husband died from low voltage electrocution.

Electrical wiring has been an ongoing problem in Iraq. At least three troops have been electrocuted in the shower since the start of the Iraq War. Inspections and repairs are under way at 90,000 U.S.-maintained facilities there.

Hermanson grew up in San Diego and Las Vegas. He joined the military at age 17, and did three tours in Iraq with the Air Force before leaving at the rank of staff sergeant. He returned to Iraq as an employee of the Herndon, Va.-based private contractor Triple Canopy.

Jayanti Menches, a spokeswoman for Triple Canopy, said in an e-mail that the company was saddened by his death but would not be commenting further until an investigation was complete.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood also offered condolences to the family, but would not elaborate further on the cause of death, pending an investigation.

Janine Hermanson said her husband took the contracting job so they would have money to buy a house in Muncy, Pa., where they were planning to live. She said she’d already moved there and was living with her parents.

The two would have celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary on Sunday.

“He was supposed to come back and we had a lot of plans,” said his wife, who also served in Iraq with the Air Force.

Besides three Iraq tours, Adam Hermanson served in Uzbekistan with the Air Force. His mother, Patricia Hermanson, 53, of Las Vegas, said everyone in her family was struggling to understand how he could survive four war tours, then die suddenly in a seemingly safe place.

“We all know that Adam was as strong as a tank,” his mother said. “He was in good health.”

For Updates on this story

Posted in KBR | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: