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Lawsuit blames KBR in driver death at Anaconda Iraq

Houston lawsuit blames Halliburton, KBR in Iraq death

KBR denies responsibility in trucker’s 2007 death at Camp Anaconda

By MARY FLOOD Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Feb. 6, 2009

A Michigan woman whose father was shot to death by American soldiers while driving a truck in Iraq filed a lawsuit in Houston this week against his employers, Halliburton and KBR.

Kristen Martin alleges wrongful death, fraud and conspiracy regarding the February 2007 shooting of her father, Donald Tolfree.

Guy Watts, the Austin lawyer who filed the lawsuit, said Tolfree was assured he would be protected by the U.S. military 24 hours a day. Instead, because of gross negligence and fraud on the part of his employer, he was killed by the U.S. military, Watts contends.

The lawsuit states that the family in no way blames the military, but does blame the practices of Halliburton, KBR and their affiliate Services Employees International for mistakes that led soldiers to think Tolfree might be an insurgent driving a bomb-filled truck onto a military base.

“He was recruited in Houston, oriented in Houston and assured of his safety in Houston,” Watts said in explaining why the lawsuit was filed here.

He said Tolfree’s daughter has been negotiating with the companies since her father’s death. There is some question about whether the companies told the daughter incorrectly that her father had been killed by a roadside bomb. Watts said it is very clear the companies falsely wrote in a letter to her U.S. senator 11 months after the death that Tolfree was killed by a roadside bomb.

Watts said Tolfree wasn’t properly trained on the night he was sent out as a backup for a convoy while it stayed on the base. Instead, the lawsuit states, Tolfree wound up past the base gates and, when he turned around, he did not know he wasn’t expected back and was suspected as an attacker.

Tolfree, who was in his 50s, was killed when about 100 rounds from a U.S. machine gun were fired into the cab of his truck, according to the lawsuit. Another truck also was fired upon, but the driver survived.

Several other lawsuits are pending in Houston federal courts against Halliburton and KBR concerning deaths in Iraq. Many have taken years to get to trial.

Watts said he expects the companies will claim they are not subject to lawsuits over deaths in Iraq under a law called the Defense Base Act.

Heather Browne, spokeswoman for KBR, said the company has sympathy for Tolfree’s family but denies that it is liable or responsible for his death.

“At the time of the incident at issue, Mr. Tolfree was employed by KBR pursuant to KBR’s LOGCAP III contract with the U.S. government for the purpose of supporting the U.S. military operations in Iraq. As such, any claims by Mr. Tolfree’s estate or family members against KBR arising from such incident lie solely under the Defense Base Act,” Browne wrote in an e-mail.

She said Tolfree’s truck and another KBR truck were part of a convoy controlled by the U.S. military out of Camp Anaconda when he died.

Browne said many tactical decisions at the heart of this incident are not susceptible to judicial review, including the reasonableness of the military’s escalation-of-force procedures and decision to fire on the KBR drivers. She wrote that, because so many military procedures involved can’t be reviewed by the courts, the lawsuit cannot proceed very far.

Halliburton spokeswoman Diana Gabriel said the company has not been served with the lawsuit and that, if it is related to KBR work in Iraq, Halliburton would be improperly named in this matter. (This original Houston Chronicle article has been removed)

Added 2/08/09: If you were at Camp Anaconda when this incident occurred or having any information about the incident, please contact me via the Contact Us tab above or leave a comment.

Ms Sparky

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40 Comments

  1. Comment by dbacomp:

    Hey Sparky

    Am I the only who can’t get back to this story?

    I thought this interference was going to be over.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Are they still jacking with you?

  2. Comment by dbacomp:

    It lasted about three hours then shortly after I posted the question I was able to get back to it.
    Keep up the chatter!

  3. Comment by RoadTrash:

    That was so messed up. Frazier Shack was the DPM and did a fake demob over the incident but KBR “rehired” him and hid him in Afghanistan for awhile. Harold Ballard Transportation Manager was also asked to demob. But he went on a 21 day R&R and came back and was promoted to DPM for BTC. It was just done so KBR could say they took action. There were two trucks involved in that incident. KBR increased the point of entry training for everybody after that. These guys were not trained for convoy. Many procedures were overlooked. From what I understand they were only here three weeks at that time. I was told the Army CID showed up to investigate. I hope his family can get justice.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Wow. This is awesome information. I will pass it on the the attorney’s. Feel free to email or comment if you recall anymore info.

    I did some checking and it appears KBR sent him to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Africa right after he got back from his demob/R&R.

    Let me translate the acronyms for the non KBR people. DPM-Deputy Project Manager (1 step down from the camps top dog) BTC-It’s either Baghdad or BIAP, (I can’t remember) Transit Center. It’s at Camp Victory and all KBR employees transit in and out of Iraq through BTC.

  4. Comment by ms sparky:

    It’s interesting how Frazier Shack’s name keeps coming up in the last month or so.!!! He’s now a DPM in Kuwait. Apparently he is over the Electrical Bonding and Grounding. Is he an electrician, an electrical engineer, is he anything electrical? I don’t think so. This just shows how serious KBR is not taking this bonding and grounding issue!!

    I find it interesting that Harold Ballard left as a manager and came back as a DPM. Either they are part of the KBR management program called “screw up and move up” or KBR is trying to keep them in their pocket so they will keep their mouths shut!!

    This really just pisses me off. These kind of KBR managers are like shit on shoe. You can just never get the stink off!

  5. Comment by Krash:

    As far as Harold Ballard, I would think that going from a Theater Manager to a Deputy Project Manager for a transit center would be a step down not a promotion.

    Just my opinion . .

    Frazier Shack isn’t worth discussing.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    That’s what I consistently get about Frazier Shack…I don’t why I am surprised that KBR has this over promoted truck driver (no offense to real drivers) supervising Electrical Grounding and Bonding in Kuwait!!!

    You are right about the promotions….it’s hard to keep track of the PM’s the DPM’s the Theater Mangers!! I will bet you no matter what they were called they didn’t lose a penny on the check.

  6. Comment by ms sparky:

    Here is the original article that I copied from http://unarmedvets.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=34 I googled it and found several links to an article in the Houston Chronicle…but it has since been deleted from the Chron. Go figure!

    Feb. 11, 2007, 9:42AM
    KBR driver killed by U.S. forces in Iraq
    Military, firm team to investigate the Monday death of contractor

    The U.S. military confirmed on Saturday that American forces shot and killed the truck driver at Camp Anaconda, an air base about 42 miles north of Baghdad.

    A spokeswoman for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, said the shooting was under investigation.

    Melissa Norcross, the KBR spokeswoman, said the company was not releasing the name of the dead driver or a second truck driver who was wounded “to protect the individuals’ privacy.”

    “A KBR truck driver was fatally shot, and another wounded, by U.S. military personnel on the evening of February 5, 2007, at an entry control point just outside of Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the truck driver who was killed,” Norcross wrote in an e-mail.

    “The wounded truck driver was transported to the Air Force Theater Hospital (AFTH) and has since been treated and released.”

    The Walker-Martin Funeral Home in Chesaning, Mich., posted an obituary on its Web site Saturday saying that a man named Donald Tolfree of nearby Owosso, Mich., had been killed Monday in Balad, Iraq, where he was employed as a civilian contractor.

  7. Comment by ms sparky:

    Here is an email posted to this site http://unarmedvets.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=34 apparently from a driver at Anaconda shortly after the deadly incident. Please keep in mind, I can not verify the accuracy or truthfulness of this email. But….seems to jive with what I am hearing. You decide.

    Post subject: email from over there
    PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:42 am

    Just thought I’d fill you in on the latest around here. There’s been a lot of new expats showing up lately. We thought that was a good thing, but inevitably when you have inexperience there’s bound to be a few glitches along the way. Hence, the incident I’m going to describe that turned deadly.

    The powers that be started a new program here to try and get the convoys out the gate faster if a problem arose from the time our guys left KBR-land till after the military briefing. They were sending 2 fellas in 1 bobtail to tag along during this time so if a unit broke-down, the replacement truck would already be there. Sounds good in theory until you introduce 2 guys in that bob-tail that have only just done their left seat right seat to this point. The 2 were instructed to break off after the briefing, but apparently the real bob-tail asked them to accompany the convoy to the staging area at the north gate. The 2 not being familiar with the gate and it being night-time, they didn’t realize they had exited the base because the convoy ended up not stopping at the staging yard on the way out and they had no PPE gear on to boot.

    They made it to Dover before they realized they were outside the wire and then called the CC (Matches) and told him what happened. The CC then told them to go back to the gate. I don’t know why, but for some reason they didn’t get an escort, maybe the CC thought they were still just outside the gate.

    Anyhow, when they were coming up to the gate unescorted, the guards shot pin flares and warning shots, so the KBR guys thought they were under fire from some bad guys and they sped up. That’s when the military let loose on them with their 50 cal…….killing one and the critically injuring the other who is still in ICU. We heard that a crew of investigators (CID) flew in from Baghdad the next day to find out what happened. It sounds that the only people that did anything right was the gate guards.

    It’s been about 4 days now and I’ve seen Matches floating around still, but i haven’t talked to him cause I’ve heard he’s not allowed to speak about the incident. Chicago told us this morning that Frazier Shack and Harold Ballard just resigned over this. We think the “restructuring” isn’t done there, but the rest of what’s going to happen to anyone is just speculation………Big-Daddy was their foreman.

  8. Comment by ms sparky:

    Frazier Shack’s Linkedin Profile

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/frazier/shack

  9. Comment by ms sparky:

    Here’s an article I just ran across.

    KBR Bungling in Iraq Killed Her Father,
    Then Company Lied to Senator, Woman Says
    By CAMERON LANGFORD

    HOUSTON (CN) – Kellogg, Brown and Root failed to inform a contract truck driver in Iraq of the protocol for approaching a U.S. military base, causing a guard at Camp Anaconda to kill him with a machinegun, his daughter says. “A KBR representative traveled to Owosso, Michigan and falsely informed Kristen Martin that her father, Donald Tolfree, was killed by an insurgent’s road-side bomb,” Martin claims in Federal Court, adding that KBR repeated the lie to Sen. Carl Levin.

    As Tolfree and another driver trailed a convoy they received a radio communication telling them to turn around, but KBR’s commander did not notify troops at Camp Anaconda of their return or provide them with the required escort, Martin says.

    “The guards at the north gate of Camp Anaconda applied the protocol for dealing with unanticipated/unescorted vehicles approaching the camp,” and shot Tolfree to death with a 50-caliber machinegun, according to the complaint. It was Feb. 5, 2007, less than two months after Tolfree accepted the job offer from KBR, which promised him “100% safety and the fact that he would be protected by the United States military at all times during his employment in Iraq.”

    The complaint adds: “On January 10, 2008, almost a year after the death of Donald Tolfree, KBR defendants continued to misrepresent and misleadingly omit the true circumstances of Donald Tolfree’s death to plaintiff and to Sen. Carl Levin, who had inquired about the incident on behalf of plaintiff Kristen Martin.”

    Martin demands punitive damages from KBR and Halliburton. She is represented by Guy Watts of Austin.

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/02/06/KBR_Bungling_in_Iraq_Killed_Her_Father_Then_Company_Lied_to_Senator_Woman_Says.htm

  10. Comment by whitetailslayer001:

    to whom it may concern! the truck driver your speaking of donald e tolfree jr is my brother!!!my name is steven jay hare! i have struggled for two years trying to understand what happened to my brother don! every day more painful than the last! but enough about me now will someone that was there please please tell me what happened to my eldest brother that fateful night? whitetailslayer001@yahoo.com

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    I am so sorry for your loss. Please read the comments. I have put more information there. I will do whatever I can to help you.

  11. Comment by theheifer:

    I was at Camp Anaconda from 2004 to 2006 working in Ops for the Theater Transportation Mission. I know there are tons of screw ups and moves up there. Anyone that has been there for a while knows what KBR stands for…kinfolk, brothers, etc.

    I have nooooo use for Frazier Shack. He may be the smartest man alive for all I know but he has absolutely no ability to communicate effectively and surrounds himself with people who idolize him (Emily Harvey if you are reading this-you are his top, most-stupid, un-informed @$$kisser of all time). He was very hung up on policies and rules but mostly just to CYA.

    Harold Ballard, on the other hand, total stand up guy. He genuinely cared about his guys. He was extremely conscientious. Unfortunately, he works in an environment were the poop flows downhill.

    As far as the bobtail drivers, they are usually some of the best guys-just short of the convoy commanders. Zero (Scotty Neal of Lufkin, Texas) was one of the best bobtail drivers ever.

    I sincerely hope you find your answers. It is hard to have closure without it. Unfortunately, the ranks have closed up. Anyone from KBR that knows anything about that incident has been demobbed, relocated or promoted. Anyone that will tell you anything will be hit by the confidentialty contract we signed in Houston and will be labeled as a unhappy worker with a vindetta.

    J

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Well Frazier Shack is batting 1000 on “people think he’s an ass”! Thanks for you insight and first hand experiences. If you remember anything else that may help this family find justice against KBR feel free to contact us.

    • Comment by J. Whitmire:

      I worked for TTM in 2004 and 2005 at three different bases in Iraq under Frazier Shack and there are not enough curse words in the world for how he cares nothing about the employees under him. Truely I can’t believe he is still there. I worked with MANY truck drivers who were true friends some were killed and some were seriously injured during convoy missions and I don’t think that Frazier Shack has any feelings what-so-ever!! All he cares about is the bottom dollar for KBR and not the peoples lives! I think that Frazier Shack should go out on some covoys and be faced with the possiblility of being blown up by IED’s.

  12. Comment by theheifer:

    I have some friends that were still there working in TTM Ops at that time and have demobbed since. I will see what their versions of this are.

    TTM is filled with over-promoted truck drivers (no offense to truck drivers-the world would not turn without them)that have absolutely no management experience but are put in charge of making decisions that affect hundreds of men and women that are going outside the wire in the most hostile of environments. Combine that with what appears to be a very young military presence at the gate-NOT GOOD!

  13. Comment by CowboyDavis:

    just wanted to say, if anyone is still reading up on this post, that i had my own personal tragedy served me on behalf of frazier shack, and he has been a key player in the demise of my former bright future, i was a convoy operator in iraq from 2004-2005, and became very ill while there, this son of a bitch refused me medical care and access, then tried and eventually was successful at costing me my job, of course at which time i was wanting to return home due to illness and fear of getting worse,

    i thought when you were told by KBR employed paramedics, (note: not doctors) that you are severely ill but we can not treat you, that they would immediately transport me to the army doctors on base, that way i could be seen and treated immediately, however i was not only refused medical treatment, i was told that i was forbidden to contact the army or their doctors for help, this all came down from shack himself, then i was advised i was going to be fired and sent home, which was fine, except the grounds they were going to fire me on, not able to perform the job hired to do, some shit about being late to an important meeting, turns out all they did was sit and talk shit for three hours, no convoys or talk there of, and i was expected to do all this while very sick, complaining of this to all the supervisors, and no one listening,

    how about the kid who hired on and left houston for Anaconda only to beg to return home, out of fear, and was refused a flight, as there were too many “other important R&R employees who earned the right to go home”

    better than that, i was sent to the wrong fucking base in iraq, was sent to Mosul, then told i was suppose to go to anaconda first, like everyone else, yet was never told, and had never read anything on any paperwork that said to report to anaconda. i still have every piece of paperwork, signed and unsigned by me that i ever recieved from houston,

    how about the accusations of being drunk while coming in to Victory BTC, then that not being proven, i was asked if i was smuggling drugs, alchohol, or pornography, that being proven wrong, was asked if i was a homosexual, all this in my first day of being in iraq,

    shit, i should have went as a goddamn reporter, undercover, can you imagine the shit storm that could have uncovered about the abuses of our family members KBR is guilty of?

    to top it all off, let me say, i am still sick and still recovering today, as a result of being ignored and denied appropriate medical care, for which i was promised, and i will eventually not be able to fight on any longer, the effects of having pneumonia untreated for over two months, combined with a severe case of lieshminiasis, and disentary, i will also request anyone who has knowledge of the burn pits that thinks they are sick, to please contact me, as i am not exactly understanding the claims being made and the picture isnt clear as to the symptoms some say they have???? seems like the burn pits never actually bothered anyone i knew who was on the KBR side of base near housing, 2004-2005

    then again who knows, i was too sick to pay much attention to anything other than my job, also just curious, is that old drug addicted reject of Schneider Transport, mr. “check one” himself, still teaching “combat convoy safety and awareness, trucking school” at Anaconda???

    i wish you all the best in finding justice for you loved one, to all the family members of Don Tolfree, may god hold you in his hands and guide you with the light of his heart, to a justice for this unjust act, my heart is with you, need anything contact me, thanks,

    texasstarhorsetransport@yahoo.com

  14. Comment by ckm68:

    i was there from 2004-2005. what i have always wondered is how these guys got out the gate anyway. i never once arove out the gate accidentaly. but i did see a lot of retarded truck drivers there! it gave me headaches and gray hair! retarded runs deep in kbr,low and high.i have also seen all the hype about preston wheeler. i knew him while he was there too. you knew what you were doing when you signed up,now live with it.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    First of all….you are an idiot and an asshole. Anyone who says they knew what they were getting into when they signed up is a freakin’ liar. And two….KBR Corporate has to be the most corrupt criminal organization to ever draw a breath in the US. BUT…they have some good people in the Middle East. If you are a soldier thanks for serving. If you are civilian thanks for supporting our troops….but either way your attitude and myopic generalization combined with your inability to spell would lead me to believe you might be RETARDED!!

  15. Comment by ckm68:

    dear ms sparky, i am sure you have an opinion on everything.thats great! but I was there and were you? i did this job and i know,do you? i knew at least 10 people who were dismembered when i was there. and several others killed.
    but i have not heard or read anything about them! because their families are not whiners!
    and yes,the drivers knew what they were getting into.(it’s a war zone,duh) most of those truckers thought they were big and bad,as
    long as everything was going good.but when it all went wrong they were crying and quitting.
    it was so funny to see how most of them disrespected the military on a regular basis.
    lying about their pay,having jackets made with”combat driver” on it. and wearing it in front of the military! (edited)

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Yes I was there for two years. I was not a driver, but that does not make me ignorant to what was going on. I always respected the work the drivers did outside the wire. The way you disrespect those who have been injured or disagree with KBR is appalling. No one knew what they were getting in to. Not even you. We all had “Gomer’s” working with us. Evidently you were never injured. That’s great.

  16. Comment by ckm68:

    i’ve been waiting for your response ms.sparky!LOL! were you one of many “electricians” that kbr hired without a license? you do understand what” war zone”means,don’t you? WAR(a very bad place where bad guys do bad things)besides if you didn’t like it quit.plain and simple. as to not knowing,when they show you films of people getting shot up,blown up,that’s called INFORMATION! and no i wasn’t injured.but i did have my truck blown up( imagine that,in a war zone and all!)i dealt with the retarded truck drivers everyday. most were just too stupid to do as they were told,which is why they are TRUCK DRIVERS.i went out on every mission,most good,some not so good.i doubt seriously you could have done these things(having those drinks in the green zone had to be tiring!)
    i also noted how you have avoided the points made in my previous post about the drivers,you must be a democrat! let me know when you want to further the conversation.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Actually, if you had read my bio like you claimed in the comment I deleted, you would know I was licensed. And it is verifiable on line. Because you couldn’t stay on task and keep this about you and me and KBR….and you opted to continue to insult victims….you are BLOCKED! That was easy!! Bye bye now!!

  17. Comment by Ex-KBR Wife:

    It is appalling to think that some people could actually have so little human compassion as ckm68. There is no way that anyone could ever really know what they were getting into by going to work in Iraq. Crap!!! You don’t even know what you are getting into sometimes just when you leave home for anything. There are lots of people who have lost their lives either fighting for their country or working as contractors supporting the troops. This guy makes it sound like “Well hell, you knew it could happen. So why are you complaining”. What a jerk!!!!!! Yes everyone that has gone to Iraq as a contractor knew that bad things happen and that people are killed. In my opinion there may have been a retarded truck driver there and from the comment of this guy I think we all know who he was. My husband worked in Iraq for 3 years in maintenance. He saw a good many of his friends who were truck drivers injured and killed. Yes they were outside the wire but they were doing their jobs. You know, bringing in the food that idiots like this man ate, fuel, equipment, etc. No one should ever be put down for losing their life in support of our country!!!!!! My condolences go out to any and all families who have lost loved ones in this war.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Thanks for the great comment. But, you are only reading what I didn’t edit out!! I lost a friend as well. She was hit by a rocket. Not shrapnel, the rocket. I don’t allow people to disrespect victims.

    I have run an email check on this guy and seen his Facebbok so I know who he is. I am debating whether or not to “out” him. I have blocked him though. Too labor intensive to edit his comments.

  18. Comment by Ex-KBR Wife:

    Thanks for editing his comment. What was not edited out was way to much for my system. No one should have to read comments like that about a loved one who was killed. This doesn’t just apply to a war zone either. There is no reason or justification to add insult to the pain that this family is already feeling. I am sure they would appreciate posts such as from being posted on your site.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    He’s pretty well bent out of shape that I blocked him and now he claims he’s threatening to sue because I threatened to “out” him. There’s no need to bore you all with the entire inane ramblings….but here is the quote right from his email.

    “by the way you do realize you made a threat against me on your web site? legal recourse is on the way,so hang on for a bumpy ride.”

    What a joke!!!

  19. Comment by for-what-it's-worth:

    ckm68 –
    PRESTON WHEELER IS A FRIEND OF MINE AND HAS BEEN IN MY HOME. I WAS OVER THERE TOO AND TAKE OFFENSE AT YOUR OPINION OF HIM – IF YOU INSULT THIS MAN WHO I CONSIDER A FRIEND AND HERO – THEN YOU INSULT ALL THE OTHER WONDERFUL MEN AND WOMEN WHO DID THE VERY SAME THING THAT PRESTON DID. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR OPINION AND ALLOWED TO STATE THAT OPINION – BUT, I KNOW THAT YOU ARE ATTACKING THE WRONG PARTY – IT SHOULD BE KBR CORP., i.e., BODIE TYPES THAT DESERVE YOUR NEGATIVE OPINIONS. PRESTON ALSO HAS A WONDERFUL FAMILY TOO – AS I AM CERTAIN YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL FAMILY. PRESTON TOOK TWO ROUNDS – HOW MANY DID YOU TAKE?

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    There should be no more of that kind of commenting from him. I have blocked him.

  20. Comment by Krash:

    What do you say to someone like ckm68 . . he who only sees himself as great and glorious!

    The drivers in Iraq worked hard, lost lives, lost limbs, (lost their families due to the extreme injuries) are still fighting injury claims and yet they are still going over there to move the supply’s for the military!

    Too many of us made friends over there only to lose them. Too many of us came home injured, and way too many never made it home.

    But to insult and categorize all drivers just because you have put yourself on some kind of pedestal isn’t right. Yes most of us knew what we were getting into when we signed up as drivers to go into a war zone, but the idea of war and the actuality of it are two different things and many couldn’t take the reality of it.

    My hats off to those that chose to go home instead of putting others in danger, and as always, my support to all that are still deployed, whether civilian or military.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Thanks for adding perspective. You are a lot nicer about it that I was! I just have NO patience for a narcissist like that!! Can you imagine being stuck in the cab of a truck with that guy. I would have been tempted to pull over and kick him out or better yet, just throw open the door and tell him to “tuck and roll”!

  21. Comment by buzzintexas:

    I was in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003 working as an electrician for KBR. I was not at all aware of the angst, towards KBR, from present and former employees as I now read on this blog. I’m in 100% agreement with you that KBR is hypocritical and their base/camp management leaves a lot to be desired. You know how they always said that we had the authority to shut a job down if we deemed there were safety violations present. I remember being told to restore power to a DI-Fac and get it up and running no matter what.
    I stood in 4″ of water, in the rain, with a piece of cardboard over my head to help keep me dry, all while working inside a hot,400 amp distribution panel. Yee haw!!
    I wound up deciding to de-mob early. A KBR HR guy, whom I had never met, started quizzing me about why I wanted to go home early. He got within inches of my face and started yelling at me and I let him have it. I busted him in the mouth and knocked 2 crowns loose. He and I were the same size (6’3″, 240 lbs.)He got on his radio and said, “H4 has been assaulted”. I had never met this guy before and I did not know who he was but I was damned sure not going to let him get away with screaming in my face. E-2 and E-3 ( I was E-19) were standing right next to me when it happened and I was vindicated by the management and sent home with a smile and 450 pat on the backs. Come to find out, this guy was a terrible jerk and he was always giving other people a hard time and he had a condescending air to all that he met. I guess I was in the right place at the right time. Heck, all I wanted to do was go home and he had to pick a fight. KBR employees from Kandahar and Camp Stronghold Freedom in Uzbekistan and Tashkent didn’t even like this guy and he was supposed to be there to help us out with our de-mobs and R&R’s. His name was Reagan Nelson, another KBR management JERK.
    I want to thank you for this blog, it’s pretty cool. By the way I’m not a fighter, this guy just invaded my space and insulted me and I stood up for my honor. I have not hit anyone since then either.
    Best regards,
    Buzz Payne
    Big Sandy, Texas

  22. Comment by Bamanator:

    I was hired by KBR to drive in Afghanistan. When I got to Houston I saw Anaconda on my paperwork. So I asked for help stating my paperwork was wrong. The girl told me it was right, Anaconda is in Iraq. I told her ” I know where the hell Anacondas at. I’ve been there. If you want me to go back, where do you issue weapons? She laughed and said we don’t issue weapons. Yeah thats why your not sending me to Iraq to be babysat by young Army kids while I get my head cut off.” I got a lot of attention. But it was apparent that most people had no clue what they were really going to. And KBR never really told them. It was like the guy they had talk about TB. I was a medic for 11 years. And told him he was wrong. He stated you had to stay in a room with someone for days before you could catch TB. And thier medics. MY GOD. I heard about your losee mam and I’m really sorry. Please don’t blame the soldiers. They were young, fired flares and warning shots. They had to make that choice. I did drive for KBR in Afghanistan but not by thier rules. I never went outside without a weapon. If your good to the soldiers, they are good to you.

  23. Comment by Bamanator:

    I ahte to commit more about this tragedy. But it may help someone to know what to expect. I just talked to a close friend who had information I had not heard. He says they knew they were not with the convoy. But not only exited the base!! They went approx. 20 clicks trailing the military escort. Near the pontoon bridge. ( Euphrates ) The military notified the convoy commander that he had 2 bobtails outside the convoy. The convoy commander told them he only had 1 bobtail. It was about this time that they turned back to base. When they entered the choke point, they were sent the standard signal for entering the base. They did not respond. They were traveling to fast. Speed has been estamated at 25 to 30 k. 1 flare was fired and because they were almost to the target. ( The point at which military is supposed to open fire and actually is a target to zone weapons) They fired 2 more flares, followed by tracer rounds to the drivers side in the dirt. They were allowed to pass the target while the military tried to make a connection with them. But after the tracers they followed protocol. 1st (center of mass. In other words the grill of the truck) 2nd-Driver 3rd-center of mass 4th-passenger. They then engaged the 2nd truck. THE REAL QUESTION IS Why did they drive off base when they had to know they were leaving. There is no way, you can not know your leaving. I’m assuming here!! That this man was of at least average smartness here.( I’m pretty sure he was smarter than that ). I’m just saying you know when your leaving. My 1st trip to a water tank between ECP 2 and ECP 1 on Bagram caused me to shut down and radio and talk to a gate guard, because I was afraid I was exiting the base. When in fact there was 1 more ECP.(Entry Control Point) I have shut it down. Just because I didn’t like the way a armed soldier is looking at me!! I mean STOP! With both hands up. And show my I.D. from a distance and slowly approach. I just can’t get it out of my mind!! How or Why did they exit the base. If they went 20k before turning around. WHY? Upon entering an armed checkpoint didn’t it cross their mind that they could be shot as a truck bomb??? I know this questions must haunt the family a thousand times a day. But I have been there done that and it really bugs me. How could this happen?? Their really seems to be alot of unanswered questions, that may never be answered. As I said before. I don’t think this man was a dummie. I could speculate on answers, but that would not help. I’d like to really know!! How this could happen???? Did he lose all situational awareness? This is 1 for the History books for sure.

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      From what I understand Donald was a very green newhire. He was supposed to be training and not leave the camp. Don’t quote me on this one but I was told they changed the exit ECP at the last minute and didn’t inform him so he didn’t know for sure they had left the base. (very green newhire) It was dark and he was green.When he realized he was outside the wire he panicked. When he saw the flairs and tracers he thought he was being shot at and sped up (very green newhire) and the soldier shot him. I don’t blame the soldier. I think it’s a combination of a lack of training and a lack of communication. If in fact the convoy route was changed after the briefing and not everyone was notified that is a serious lack of regard for the drivers.

      • Comment by ken:

        He was already trained and had been on a few missions. He had been on mission with us just a few days before to Ashraf. I remember saying hello to him on that mission. A nice older gentleman. Unfortunately, on the night in question, Big Daddy (his foreman) forgot to include the 2 extra bobtails on his manifest to follow along and at the last minute told another of his bobtails standing on the boardwalk to go find a “couple of guys” and get some trucks and have them catch up. I know because I was standing there when he said it. The really tragic thing was that no one knew who the two men were in those trucks. Directly after the “friendly fire” incident at the gate, TTM had a “safety stand-down” where over a period of a couple of hours all of the driver teams were called back to TTM offices to the boardwalk from where ever they were on the base and were actually COUNTED OFF ONE BY ONE in a roll call to determine who it was that was missing. THAT’S how MR.Tolfree was initially identified to TTM as the driver that was killed. Pathetic, huh? But typical KBR in action. And all this man was doing was the job he was asked to do, trusting all along that KBR and thye military were on his side. Yes, mistakes were made all around, but the mistakes by KBR, and what thet did AFTERWARDS, as is so OFTEN the case, was, and is, CRIMINAL.

  24. Comment by Ksniper:

    Yes that is correct you don’t approach a ECP and at a high rate of speed. It was an unfortunate incident for the family and hopefully this will be prevented in the future. Normally the whole truth never emerges unless you do more digging and if they fired off the flares then protocol calls for you to stop. A very unfortunate incident.

  25. Comment by Agitato:

    I know the truth. He wasn’t that green. I debriefed the driver that followed him out of the ECP, and followed him back in. He’d done that mission multiple times. He was trained, and I’ve personally reviewed the training documentation. There is no logical explanation for his actions that night. I have my ideas, but I’ll keep them to myself.

    One thing I want to make crystal clear, despite all the rumors and BS that surround lawsuits: He was trained, and he knew what he was doing.

  26. Comment by Agitato:

    Also, Mr. Tolfree was not a Bobtail Driver. He was driving one of two “Chase Trucks” that only accompanied the convoy to the ECP (in case a truck went down, they could swap-out them out and the mission could continue.)

    When the convoy rolled out of the ECP, the Chase Trucks were to peel off and return to their staging area.

    Mr. Tolfree had done this mission multiple times.

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      According to this MSNBC article he had been in theater less than a month. He deployed on Jan 5 and was killed on Feb 5. There could have been as much week to get his to Anaconda. Then there is the training. I still call him a “green new-hire”.

      U.S. contractor shot by U.S. forces near base
      Truck driver for KBR killed, lawyer for man’s family confirms

      updated 9:36 p.m. PT, Sun., Feb. 11, 2007
      DETROIT – U.S. forces shot and killed a civilian contract truck driver from Michigan near an air base north of Baghdad, a lawyer for the man’s family confirmed Sunday.

      Donald Tolfree, 52, of St. Charles, was a driver for KBR, a contracting subsidiary of Halliburton Co. He deployed to Iraq on Jan. 5 and was killed Feb. 5 at a checkpoint near Camp Anaconda.

      Tolfree drove through a U.S. military checkpoint before realizing he was in the wrong convoy, attorney Patrick Greenfelder, who represents Tolfree’s daughter, told the Associated Press during a telephone interview. Tolfree turned around and was approaching the checkpoint again when he was shot and killed, Greenfelder said.

  27. Comment by Ms Sparky:

    This is a personal message to Donald Trollfree’s brother, possibly named Steven Jay Hare commenting on MsSparky.com as White Tail Slayer.

    I feel very badly for the loss of your brother, the loss of Kristen’s father and any others who knew and loved him. I feel I have been more than patient with you and your comments. I have had to put ALL your comments on moderation because you started attacking Kristen personally. That’s not going to happen here. Then your comments grew more vile and vulgar. Down right disgustingly nasty, so I blocked you. Just an FYI, I’ve only blocked two readers from MsSparky.com and you are one of them. I’d say I’m relatively tolerant.

    After a hard day of shopping at Costco I get home to find 11 comments from you all waiting for approval. all along the lines of “f” the Army, “f” KBR, “f” Ms Sparky and so on….blah blah blah. I can pretty much chalk that all up to grief and anger.

    Then there was this one:

    “i hope some asshole blows one of your family members head off then you’ll know my pain”

    After that I could really give a sh*t less about your grief and pain. I’ve blocked you again. Your comments are NOT welcome here. Any more comments like that and I’m sure Kristen’s attorney Guy Watts would be more than happy to assist me in locating you.

  28. Comment by USMI:

    Totally uncalled for Mr. Tail…no one has the right to attack a person with such disdain and threats…go after KBR but innocents and impartial people are off limits at all costs. Write to John McGath, Jeff Rock, Willie Tate, (all KBR) Frazier Shack to express your negativity

  29. Comment by krackerjac:

    I was there at Anaconda but was on RR when this happend. I didnt work for TTM but was Logistic Coordinator and regardless if he was trained or not there is a dept of KBR that I cant remember the Accromnyn that checked the TMR’s on the outgoing convoys. And those people who are to blame in my opinion. They wouldnt go out and visually check the trucks and compare them with the TMRs. I usually had to check in at the KBR TCN convoy gate and they were part of the same dept that would release the convoys.I do have some photos of the 2 trucks. The only thing I figure is that they got waved on at that time there was some detours at the gate. Either was it was messed up. Sad part was that none of the people who were supposed to be checking the vehicles nothing happend to them. The other Log Coord pretty much said he was supprised that they still had thier jobs there.

  30. Comment by Ms Beaverhausen:

    Just found your website for the first time today and i’m addicted. I worked for KBR from April 2005 until Nov 2008 in Anaconda and in the Green Zone. I was working at Anaconda when this incident took place and it was a terrible tragedy. I felt for Donald, whom i’d never met but I felt more terrible for the military personnel who had to take his life because that was what he was ordered to do. I can’t imagine the grief he or she now has to live with. The most disgusting part of the entire ordeal was the “heroes send-off” they gave Shack while boarding his “last” flight and my R&R flight. There we were, standing in line on the flight line like sitting ducks while waiting for Shack to board the plane first, shaking hands all the way up. Give me a freakin break! I was glad to see him go but I knew it was too good to be true.

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      I heard that after the Donald Tollfree death, Shack was sent to Kuwait to oversee the bonding and grounding. Really….I’m not kidding. Last I heard he followed Scott Mount and that group to Dyncorp in Afghanistan. He was a Camp Leatherneck, not sure where he is now.

      I was in the Green Zone from July 2004-July 2006. We may have crossed paths.

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