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SSG Ryan Maseth – You must be very proud!

One year ago today, 24 year old Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth was electrocuted and died in his shower at Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad.

The Army initially reported that Ryan, a decorated Green Beret foolishly took an electrical appliance into the shower and that was the reason for his death.

The Criminal Investigations Command (CID) closed Ryan’s investigation on June 11, 2008 proclaiming Ryan’s manner of death was “accidental”. His mother, Cheryl Harris refused to accept this as the cause of death for her son.

Cheryl launched into her own investigation and took on the two Goliaths, DoD and KBR. She enlisted the assistance of Senator Casey, Senator Dorgan, Congressman Waxman, Jim Risen of the New York Times, Greg Mitchell and CNN. Anyone who would listen to her tell her story about the unsafe living conditions of our soldiers in the Middle East.

Soldiers came forward. Electricians came forward. Total strangers came forward. Offering pertinent information and support.

On July 11, 2008 Cheryl bravely testified before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Cheryl described, in heartbreaking detail, the cause of Ryan’s death and the shoddy and unsafe electrical conditions of his building.

On July 30, 2008 The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform thoroughly chastised the DoD Inspector General, The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), The Army Contract Command, and KBR for shoddy work and total lack of oversight. The Committee presented evidence that was uncovered due to Cheryl’s persistence and doggedness.

On August 29, 2008, the Criminal Investigations Command (CID) reopened its investigation into the cause of SSG Ryan Maseth’s death. Currently the investigation is “open and ongoing”.

Since Cheryl Harris waged war on the DoD and KBR several very positive changes have occurred with regard to the safety of our US Troops and civilians.

  • Task Force Safe was implemented to inspect nearly 90,000 DoD buildings for electrical deficiencies and fire hazards.
  • A Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR) was written against KBR for electrical deficiencies.
  • KBR changed their hiring requirements for electricians and now requires them to be licensed. In order to attract qualified electricians, KBR has dramatically increased their wages.
  • The DCMA oversight of the LOGCAP contract as clearly improved.
  • Other families are coming forward and some have filed suit against KBR for the electrocution death and chemical exposures of their loved ones.
  • And just maybe the DoD will think twice before trying to deceive a family member again.

It is my opinion there is only one logical conclusion to the cause of Ryan Maseth’s death. So let’s complete the investigation and move on to the next step.

Cheryl, on this day I have no words to comfort you. Nothing to dull the pain you must be feeling. But, I would like to say you are truly a hero. Because of your bravery and determination to find the truth US Soldiers and Civilians are safer. KBR is being called to task. And the DCMA is doing their job more effectively.

Cheryl, I can’t help but think that on this day, as Ryan wraps his arms around you to comfort you, he whispers “Mom, not all warriors wear uniforms. Your strength and bravery humble even the most decorated soldier. I am so very proud of you.”

May you find peace today my friend.

Debbie

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20 Comments

  1. Comment by A Fellow Soldier:

    War sucks but as soldiers we know that death is always around the corner. What I didn’t know was that one of our biggest enemies was KBR.

    Rest In Peace and know that your Mother fights for us.

  2. Comment by Joyce Jacobs:

    Mrs. Harris, I am so sorry for your loss. My son is a Marine in Iraq. Thank you for taking care of him.

  3. Comment by KatGurl:

    My condolences. Thank you for fighting for our troops.

  4. Comment by Jenna:

    Thank you seems so inadequate.

  5. Comment by Krash:

    May your son rest in peace and with time may you find an easing to your grief.

  6. Comment by Dennis:

    Cheryl
    Your truly a hero, and always will be in our hearts and minds of those that closely know you and what your family means to you. Always thinking about you and the family,

    SemperFi, your old boss and always your friend
    Den

  7. Comment by Judy:

    Cheryl, you’ve had such a positive impact and have made such a difference in this past year, not only for our troops, but also in showing all of us what true strength and courage really is. You are a very special person, for sure.

    Your friend and co-worker,
    -Judy

  8. Comment by momfor2boys:

    My boys are still in HS and both want to join the military. Very much against my will. You have to know how boys are!!!

    I do get some comfort knowing things will be safer and maybe just maybe the military will stop treating us like idiots and will start telling us at least some truths.

    How many lives have you saved? You will never know. I hope you find peace and comfort in your accomplishments.

    Thank you.

  9. Comment by Paul:

    Dear Daughter,

    I am so very, very proud of you. Like I said so many times before you are a fighter and a “Pribik”.

    Thank you Debbie Crawford for taking the time to keep her updated on Ryan.

    God bless your Daughter and God Bless Ryan.

    Dad

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Thank you very much. You must be very proud of your daughter.

  10. Comment by Debbie Clark:

    I have a son in the Army. THANK YOU!

  11. Comment by US Soldier:

    I remember when I first heard of SSG Maseths death. In all my years in the Army I have never seen change come so quickly. Between Cheryl Harris, this blog and many others, the inspectors things are much better. I think the Military is finding out that the internet is not their friend. They can’t hide behind the mission anymore.

  12. Comment by Caralynn:

    It’s sad that a soldier has to die and a mom has to wage war to get changes made that will keep out soldiers safe.

    This disgusts me how the DoD protects KBR. This is a crime and if this had happened in the States someone would be charged with negligent homicide.

    Is there anyone left in the DoD that has any personal or professional integrity. Or is it just protect KBR at all cost.

  13. Comment by Dwight:

    I can only hope that victory will come from this tragedy. The victory being permanent changes in policy that will protect our soldiers from contractors like KBR and the taxpayers from…well…contractors like KBR.

  14. Comment by Jason:

    Thank you for doing what now one else could or would. Yes Ryan would be proud.

    I have a brother in Iraq. He’s a Marine.

  15. Comment by Braveheart:

    This is the type of victory over lies that may not have been possible ten years ago. For the family, it is some comfort, I’m sure.

    It is time for our military services to stop the prevaricating. It isn’t honorable. It isn’t right. It really isn’t necessary.

    Let’s work together to provide basic safety for the young people who serve in the military.

    Let’s hope that other families will soon get answers about the non-combat death that killed their loved ones.

  16. Comment by Carol Bastion:

    Now that I’ve quit sobbing…I can say thank you. Wow. Well written.

  17. Comment by bellmom:

    My son is a fire inspector at various locations in Iraq. I hope he can provide some comfort and closure to the families of our loves lost. My thoughts are with yours and mine on a daily basis.

  18. Comment by robin:

    thank you cheryl for what you have done, my broter, SSG anthony woodham died in tali iraq on july 5 2008 and they said at first it was cardaic arrest from electocution now they are saying he had a heart attack because he was over weight he wasn’t to overweight to be in the guard or be in iraq so i don’t understand the problem. we don’t even have an autopsy report yet. our family wants answers and we are not getting any. what do i do? robin

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    I will gladly help you and anyone else who feels their loved one died of electrocution in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  19. Comment by Rose:

    Cheryl,

    We can not bring Ryan back or the other soldier’s that died due to neglagence, but justice will be served thanks to your persistance in the investigation. I could not be more proud and greatful to you, for all the lives you have already saved, and all the other families you a helping. I thank all of those that stepped up to the plate to help you in the investigation. We need more people like you in this world.

    Love,
    Rose

  20. Ping from » Ryan we haven’t forgotten you Ms Sparky:

    […] SSG Ryan Maseth – You must be very proud! (2009) Does anyone know what day this is? (2010) 3rd anniversary of the electrocution death of SSG Ryan Maseth (2011) […]

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