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Contractor Life

contractor life

About a hundred yards into Iraq, we stopped to pick up weapons. A half dozen Kurds in white Citroëns met us in a trash-strewn lot just over the border from Kuwait. They were unloading the guns onto the trunk of one of their cars as we pulled up. The pile amounted to a small armory: German MP5 submachine guns, AK-47s newly liberated from the Iraqi army, 9mm Beretta pistols, and dozens of magazines of ammunition.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

As the longest war in American history is ended, a variety of unique stories have bubbled to the surface. One belongs to Tim Lynch, a retired U.S. Marine who lived and worked in Afghanistan for approximately eight years as a civilian. In a war-torn country, Lynch worked many different jobs, from security contractor to aid worker. With a strong military foundation, he developed a unique perspective on the Afghan people that many never have the privilege of seeing — even those who have spent years at war there.

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iraq

Military-civilian contractor in Iraq talks about changing companies in the middle of a contract, travel, and more.

The US recently announced the end of active combat for troops in Iraq. On the ground, there will only be small changes, but it could signal a different attitude towards Iraq. Last month, the US military announced it had ended its combat role in Iraq.

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"There are a lot of assumptions about contractors, and a lot of the assumptions are wrong." Those are the words of a private security contractor who asked to be referred to only as "Lloyd" for this story because like most of his colleagues he is not authorized to speak to the media.

By Lloyd's count, he has spent some 1,000 days working in Afghanistan in the past four years. He, like many other well-trained military men, decided to leave his position as a Navy SEAL and take his chances finding employment in one of the hot spots around the world where highly skilled contractors were well-paid, and in demand.

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Andrea Martinez, Associate Technical Professional - Civil, traveled to Kandahar, Afghanistan to work on a KBR project based at a NATO airfield. Below is an account of her time on the project through her own eyes.

As a civil engineer, I have faced many challenging situations in my career but this opportunity offered me one of my biggest challenges to date. On my first day back in the office after the Christmas holidays last year, I was offered the opportunity to work on the KBR project based at NATO's Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Afghanistan in the role of Building & Civil Engineering Technical Officer.

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South Pole

South Pole

The last big plane left the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on Feb. 14. Of the 150 scientists, technicians, and support staff, only 33 men and eight women remained for the winter: six months of darkness, no arriving supplies, average temperatures of -76F. Also: no Wi-Fi or cell phone service. At the South Pole, iPhones become expensive alarm clocks and music players. Sunrise comes on Sept. 21.

Sitting on the ice—as well as buried one mile beneath it—are telescopes and other instruments gathering data to help answer questions about the changing climate here on earth, as well as the origins of the universe. The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation—the idea that the cosmos experienced exponential growth in its first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second—came from a telescope at the South Pole called BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization.)

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The United States Government employs thousands of individual private and defense contractors every year to work overseas. The Department of Defense, State Department, USAID, and various branches of the military, and employ these companies t0 contract with and employ thousands of people as construction, security personnel, IT specialists, logistics, administrators, food service, doctors, accountants, etc.

The government also contracts with both large and small businesses to provide services and supplies that are used in every facet of maintaining the country’s defense. Breaking into defense contracting requires going through some red tape, and can be difficult at first, but if you are motivated and able to obtain a security clearance, there are many opportunities to be had in this industry.

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deployment-pogs

When deployed troops buy whatever they need, if they pay in cash, they won't be given pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters as change. Instead, they'll be given cardboard coins (colloquially called "pogs," like the 90s toys). And, now, coin collectors are going crazy for them.

Depending on where in Iraq or Afghanistan troops are stationed, they may have easy access to an AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service) store. Bigger airfields have larger stores that sell all an airman could want — meanwhile, outlying FOBs are just happy that their AAFES truck didn't blow up this month.

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Private Military Contractors - PMC

Private Military Contractors

It’s one thing to pull the trigger for your country – quite another for a corporation. As a new report reveals how private military contractors have changed the face of conflict, they reveal how conflict has changed them. 

BY: Emine Saner, When you are a soldier in the military, and you’re firing at an enemy alongside several other soldiers, you don’t know if it was your gun, your bullet, that killed someone. “I’d rather not know,” says Stephen Friday, who spent 12 years in the British army before becoming a private military contractor (PMC) in 2008, working in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first time he ever shot somebody, and knew about it, “was as a PMC.

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green-energy

KBRwyle Powers Military Bases with Green Energy

KBRwyle powers military bases throughout the Middle East with solar and wind lights that protect the environment and reduce the cost of fuel and services parts.
Michael Flanagan, Vice President Operations LOGCAP IV at KBRwyle

"Based on our years of experience working in harsh environments, we were looking for ways to provide exterior lighting without the fuel and maintenance burdens of gasoline or diesel powered light sets," said Mike Flanagan, KBRwyle Vice President for the LOGCAP IV team.

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