Posts Tagged deaths

Industry Talk: Two DynCorp Contractors Killed In VBIED Attack In Afghanistan

Rest in peace to the fallen and my heart goes out to the friends and family of both men. Very tragic that these guys were going home when this happened. Michael was on his way to getting married this Valentines day.

A VBIED is what killed the two men, and no word on the condition of everyone else that was wounded. –Matt


Two Killed in Kabul, Afghanistan
February 10, 2014
On February 10, 2014, two DynCorp International personnel working on the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) program were tragically killed in an explosion near Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paul Goins, 62, of Crosby, Texas, joined DI in February 2013. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. Goins had more than 35 years of experience in the correctional and compliance fields, working with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and in the private sector. His professional contributions were made at home in the United States, and abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he worked to share his knowledge with developing countries.
Michael Hughes, 38, of Washington, Montana and Nevada, joined the DI team in Afghanistan in November 2010. Having worked for several years with the Department of Corrections in Washington State, Mr. Hughes’ areas of expertise included training, emergency management, incident command, as well as hostage and crisis negotiations.
DynCorp International chairman and chief executive officer Steve Gaffney commented, “The world lost two heroes in this attack. They volunteered to travel to places they had never been, to help people they had never met. I ask that you please keep them, along with their families, loved ones, and colleagues who continue to support the mission, in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Logistics: Afghan Truckers A Forgotten Front In A War Growing Deadlier By The Day

Asked which road he feared most, 40-year-old driver Mohammad Qayum said the valley route to the most far-flung U.S. base in the northeast, Forward Operating Base Bostick near the Pakistan border in north Kunar, was the most dangerous.
Bostick, in a natural mountain amphitheatre visited by Reuters in June, is a frequent target for Taliban rockets aimed down at the first battalion of the U.S. 12th Infantry Regiment.
“Last year, two of my trucks were attacked going to Kunar. My nephew was inside and was burned to death,” said Lalajan, nodding agreement with his friend.

This has always left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to the logistics of this war. These materials being shipped on land are and have always been a prime target of the enemy, and yet you never hear of any concerted effort to actively protect these shipments or to set up fairer contracts that would better protect the rights of these truckers? Why is that?

These truck drivers are risking life and limb to deliver this stuff and at the very least we should be providing some kind of constant over watch with air assets along with some ground units that can help to establish corridors.  Anything to protect these guys as they deliver these crucial supplies. (at least on the Afghanistan side)

The other angle that we are missing out on is that if the enemy wants to show themselves in attacks against these supply convoys, then these are perfect opportunities for us to eliminate the exposed enemy using air assets and strategically positioned ground units. We should be striving to make life a living hell for the Taliban out in those mountain passes, and make them pay for attacking convoys.

Also by not protecting these convoys, we are creating Afghans that harbor animosity and anger towards ISAF/NATO. These folks are also in the same position as interpreters or anyone else that has stepped forward to help ISAF/NATO in the war–that they get the label of ‘infidel’ or traitor.  I think they deserve better than that. They should get our respect and thanks for their sacrifices and we should do more to meet them half way in their effort to support us.

Hell, if the military doesn’t want to do this, then contract it out. Task a company with protecting over these routes and allow them to operate lethal air assets along with sufficient ground assets. A private company could absolutely create the corridor needed, and the money saved by making this deal with Pakistan to continue ground shipments could be applied to contracting out this type of security effort. And that would include security on the Afghanistan side and Pakistan side of these routes, because the enemy is hitting them on both sides. Either way, something must be done if these supplies are that important? –Matt

Edit: 07/31/2012– Check this quote out. It seems the Taliban are pretty stoked about these shipping routes being opened. They were a prime source of income for their fighters.

“Stopping these supplies caused us real trouble,” a Taliban commander who leads about 60 insurgents in eastern Ghazni province told The Associated Press in an interview. “Earnings dropped down pretty badly. Therefore the rebellion was not as strong as we had planned.”
A second Taliban commander who controls several dozen fighters in southern Kandahar province said the money from security companies was a key source of financing for the insurgency, which uses it to pay fighters and buy weapons, ammunition and other supplies.
“We are able to make money in bundles,” the commander told the AP by telephone. “Therefore, the NATO supply is very important for us.”


44 NATO oil tankers attacked in Pakistan, December 2011.


Afghan truckers a forgotten front in a war growing deadlier by the day
Sun, Jul 29 2012
By Rob Taylor and Hamid Shalizi
In the cabins of their “jingle” trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO’s war supplies, Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious.
From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban’s eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.
“We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors,” said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners.
It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters, with the rest skimmed by middlemen or even going into the hands of insurgents for “protection”.
Only this week, three of Habibullah’s trucks were attacked and burned by Taliban amid the rugged mountains of Nuristan, a virtual no-go zone for NATO soldiers after heavy past losses and now garrisoned by a handful of Afghan troops and police.

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Afghanistan: Afghan In Uniform Kills Three NATO Contractors In Herat

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the fallen. Rest in peace.

I have not heard what company they worked for but it has been reported that they were located at the West Zone Police Training Center in Herat province. –Matt

Edit: 07/25/2012– DHS made a statement about these deaths and listed the names.
Statement By Secretary Napolitano On Afghanistan Shooting
Release Date: July 24, 2012
For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010
“It is with great sadness that I learned this weekend of the fatal shooting of three contractors stationed at the Herat Training Center in Herat, Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of former U.S. Border Patrol Agent and retired ICE Agent Benjamin Monsivais, retired CBP Port Director Joseph Perez, and retired Her Majesty’s United Kingdom Revenue and Customs Officer David Chamberlain.
All three individuals were supporting Afghan Border Police training efforts when they came under attack. Their tragic deaths remind us of the dangers facing our men and women overseas, and the many sacrifices they make on our behalf every day.
Two other individuals were wounded in this senseless attack. We pray for the swift recovery and continued safety of former Border Patrol Agent Dana Hampton and language assistant Aimal Formully. We also applaud the tremendous bravery and heroism of the CBP Border Patrol Agent who responded to the attack and prevented the gunman from causing further harm and injury to others.”


Afghan in uniform kills three NATO contractors
July 23, 2012
Three foreign civilian contractors working for NATO as trainers were killed Sunday when a man in an Afghan security force uniform turned his weapon against them, NATO and Afghan officials said.
The shooter was killed in the incident in the west of the country, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, without giving further details or naming the nationalities of the victims.
An Afghan official who requested anonymity said he knew two Americans had been killed in the attack and they had been shot by an Afghan man in a police uniform in a military training centre near the Herat airport.
The number of so-called green-on-blue attacks — in which Afghan forces turn their weapons against their Western allies — has escalated this year.

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Call To Action: Instructions For How To Submit A Contractor Casualty For The Defense Of Freedom Medal

This is an important post, and in the past I have discussed the Defense of Freedom Medal before, but never discussed the process of getting a killed or wounded contractor their medal.  This medal is the equivalent to the Purple Heart that the military gives to wounded or killed soldiers. It is my intent with this post to empower companies and contractors with the information necessary on how to submit a casualty for this medal.

I will also put a link to this post on my Contractor Casualty Statistics page so it will be easy to find for those who want to come back to it. The links below, highlighted in blue, are also important to read.  These are the memos that detail how this works, and what is required. Please forward this information on to the companies if you are a friend or family member of a contractor that was killed or wounded, and they have not been recognized for their sacrifice. If the company in question is no longer in existence, then I would recommend contacting the Army Incentive Awards Board directly with the email below.

One other possibility is to get a DBA focused law firm to help out in the process. Here is a link to one law firm that has commented on the particulars of this medal.

Also, there is no record of every recipient from what I can gather. Wikipedia had an entry dedicated to contractors that received this medal, but it only lists four.  I know there are more out there, and I will keep an eye out for a source that tracks this. Good luck out there and let’s make it happen! –Matt



Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom

1. Purpose: The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom (DFM) is established to acknowledge civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD) who are killed or wounded in the line of duty. The medal symbolizes the extraordinary fidelity and essential service of the Department’s civilian workforce who are an integral part of DoD and who contribute to the preservation of national security.

2. Description: The Army’s Institute of Heraldry developed the medal.
      a. Medal: The eagle and shield exemplify the principles of freedom and the defense of these freedoms on which our country is founded. The laurel is emblematic of honor and high achievement.
      b. Ribbon: Red, white, and blue are our National colors. The red stripes commemorate valor and sacrifice. The wide blue stripe represents strength. The white stripes symbolize liberty as represented in our national flag. The number of red stripes represents the four terrorist attacks using hijacked airplanes, and the single blue stripe represents the terrorist attack on the pentagon on September 11, 2001. This day, more than ever, united this country and brought to the forefront our heroic civilians.

3. Certificate: A DA Form 7499 will accompany the medal.

4. Eligibility: The medal shall be awarded to any DoD civilian employee meeting the definition of ’employee’ under title 5 United States Code, Section 2105, and who is eligible for an award under DoD 1400.25-M, Subchapter 451, ‘Awards,’ including employees of non-appropriated fund activities, when killed or wounded by hostile action while serving under any competent authority of the Department under conditions for which a military member would be eligible for receipt of the Purple Heart. Additionally, the Secretary of Defense has discretionary authority to award this medal to non-Defense personnel who are otherwise qualified to be awarded the medal based on their involvement in DoD activities.

5. Criteria: Eligibility criteria for the medal are aligned as closely as possible to those for the Purple Heart for members of the Armed Forces; this medal differs from other medals in that it is not ‘recommended.’ The employee is ‘entitled’ to the medal if the employee is eligible under Section 4 and if the conditions or criteria in this paragraph are present. Hostile action may involve, but is not limited to, the use of conventional or nuclear weapons, chemical or biological agents, explosives, or missiles. The medal shall be awarded to employees who are killed or who sustain injury due to hostile action against the United States of America, or killed or wounded while rescuing or attempting to rescue any other employee or individual subjected to injuries sustained under such conditions. The wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer, and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record.

6. Limitations on Awarding Medal: The medal is authorized for the incident of death or the first wound suffered under the conditions indicated above. The medal itself may be awarded only once; however, for subsequent events that would require the award of the medal, a device will be awarded to attach to the ribbon of the medal.

7. Posthumous Awards: The medal may be awarded posthumously and, when so awarded, may be presented to a representative of the deceased member’s family.

8. Responsibility and Approval: The approval authority for the DFM is delegated as specified in the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) memorandum dated March 24, 2009, subject: Delegation of Authority Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

9. Nomination Format: Forward a memorandum, along with a DA Form 1256, containing the following:

     a. General personal information: For government employees: provide name, SSN, title, series, grade, organization and location.

     b. Specific information regarding injury/death: Description of the situation causing the injury/death in detail to include the date, time, place, and scene of the incident, and official medical documentation of the employee’s injuries and treatment. The description must be well documented, including the names of witnesses and point of contact (POC) for additional medical information, if needed.

10. Army Contractor Nominations: The Secretary of Defense will consider nominations of contractor employees for this medal. Nominations for contractor employees will consist of the attached form, completed and submitted to the Executive Secretary, Army Incentive Awards Board, along with a report from a medical treatment facility or professional and a signed release to permit discussion of medical information by those who review the award nomination. Submit one copy of the memorandum and supporting justification to:

Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
Consideration of Eligibility
for Contractor Personnel

1. Name of individual (first, middle initial, last.) Mr. John Doe
2. Position title. Senior Project Engineer
3. Name of contractor company and name/phone number of POC. ABC, 1234 Main Street, Anytown, Virginia 22222. Mr. Harold Barnes (888) 555-4748.
4. Title of Component office for which contractor worked and name/phone number of Component POC or project manager. Headquarters, Department of the Army, IMCEN. Mr. Sam Jones (877) 555-4410.
5. Date and location of the event, which caused the death or injury. September 11, 2001; Pentagon. Mr. Joe Smith, Acting Director, Information Management Center, certifies that this employee was in a duty status on September 11, 2001.
6. Describe the circumstances of the individual’s death or injury, e.g., the event that caused the death or injury and how it occurred. Mr. Doe was working in the Pentagon, Room 1C543, when terrorists crashed a commercial aircraft into the Pentagon. He was hit on the head by falling debris from the ceiling and walls of his office.
7. For injuries only (1) describe the nature of the injury and the treatment protocol (treated and released, number of days hospitalized); (2) identify where treatment occurred (treated at medical facility or by private doctor and provide name of facility/ physician and phone number if available); (3) describe extent of immediate care, (treated with aspirin, x-rays taken, etc.), and (4) describe extent of continued care if considered necessary (outpatient care, physical therapy, etc.) Mr. Doe sustained blunt force trauma to his head and was admitted to Polaris Hospital Emergency Room where he was taken to the operating room and received fourteen stitches to close the wound in his head. He received medical treatment at the hospital until September 18, 2001. He had physical therapy appointments once a week for several months.
8. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT: MG Thomas Smith, Commanding General, U.S. Army XXXXXX, signed memorandum recommending approval.

Content last reviewed: 5/22/2009-ALV
Memo, May 20, 2009 – DFM Reporting Instructions

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Industry Talk: 2011 Private Security Officer Deaths–CONUS

Thanks to Matt for sending me this link. This is the first time I have ever come across a compilation of PSC deaths for the US. This website has been keeping a record of such a thing for several years now, and their memorial wall is filled with security officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty. Also pay notice to the one statistic that caught my attention– that 11 security officers committed suicide while on duty in 2011. That is certainly disheartening. Check it out. –Matt


In 2011, Private Officer International, a security-police organization worked with numerous state and federal reporting agencies, private companies and media entities to track, record and calculate the injuries and assaults on and the deaths of, private security officers in the U.S.
In 2011, more than 37,000 assaults against contract and proprietary security officers, loss prevention agents and private police were reported.
Those assaults resulted in more than 13,700 injuries.
There were also 114 “confirmed” security officer “on-duty” deaths as a result of a combiniiton of homicide, accidential, industrial and “unclassified” incidents. But actual death totals are believed to be 12%-20% higher and misreported in other worker classifications.
11 Security officers also committed suicide while on-duty.
The breakdown of the deaths were:
54 Gunshots
11 Stabbing
19 Trauma/Assault
10 Car Accidents
6 Industrial Accidents
14 Unclassified
The average age of the security officer killed in the line of duty was 38.
The states with the most incidents of security officer injuries, assaults and deaths included New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsyvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia, Indiana, and Nevada.
Link to Private Officer International here.

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Quotes: More Civilian Contractors Working For American Companies Than American Soldiers Died In Afghanistan, 2011

Last year, at least 430 employees of American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan: 386 working for the Defense Department, 43 for the United States Agency for International Development and one for the State Department, according to data provided by the American Embassy in Kabul and publicly available in part from the United States Department of Labor.
By comparison, 418 American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year, according to Defense Department statistics compiled by, an independent organization that monitors war deaths.

Notice where the reporter collected this information? DoL for contractor deaths and for soldier deaths. Which is exactly why I put the DoL statistics at the top of the list on my page.  I also agree with the article that there are probably more deaths that have not been reported. Especially the local national companies that are working in the war zones either directly or indirectly for DoD. For American contractor deaths, I think the DoL stats are the best, even though there are Americans that have worked for companies that did not register through DBA. Especially in the early days of the war.

The other thing mentioned in this article that is significant is that there are more contractors in Afghanistan than soldiers. I posted the latest CENTCOM AOR numbers and the reporter referenced the same report.

There were 113,491 employees of defense contractors in Afghanistan as of January 2012, compared with about 90,000 American soldiers, according to Defense Department statistics. Of those, 25,287, or about 22 percent of the employees, were American citizens, with 47 percent Afghans and 31 percent from other countries.

Finally, they discussed the companies and contractor types that have seen the most losses. L 3 Communications has seen an amazing amount of losses. Most of those deaths were interpreters that worked in Iraq or Afghanistan. But 370 killed and 1,789 wounded is an immense sacrifice for a company and it’s subsidiaries.

The biggest contractor in terms of war zone deaths is apparently the defense giant L-3 Communications. If L-3 were a country, it would have the third highest loss of life in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq; only the United States and Britain would exceed it in fatalities.
Over the past 10 years, L-3 and its subsidiaries, including Titan Corporation and MPRI Inc., had at least 370 workers killed and 1,789 seriously wounded or injured through the end of 2011 in Iraq and Afghanistan, records show. In a statement, a spokeswoman for L-3, Jennifer Barton, said: “L-3 is proud to have the opportunity to support the U.S. and coalition efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We mourn the loss of life of these dedicated men and women.”

So I guess my final commentary is that contractors deserve more respect and recognition for their contribution and sacrifice in this war than we have been given–which is none. And yet the media and public largely ignored this contribution and sacrifice? Will there be monuments or holidays to remember this sacrifice one day, or do we only give such honors for soldiers?

Either way, we will remember them here and their sacrifice will never be forgotten….. –Matt

Risks of Afghan War Shift From Soldiers to Contractors
February 11, 2012
Even dying is being outsourced here.
This is a war where traditional military jobs, from mess hall cooks to base guards and convoy drivers, have increasingly been shifted to the private sector. Many American generals and diplomats have private contractors for their personal bodyguards. And along with the risks have come the consequences: More civilian contractors working for American companies than American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year for the first time during the war.

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