Defense Cover-Up Management Agency (DCMA) – Part 2
I also discovered the Army had been tasked to testing all water trucks coming into the Green Zone. The Army was required to have a test kit on hand in accordance with Army TB Meds 576 Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Water Supplies at Fixed Installations. In typical Army dysfunction, the task of testing the water trucks fell to the Army’s veterinarian (isn’t that the dogs?). It took quite a while to locate this Veterinarian Sergeant. Once I did finally find him, he told me he had been asking for a kit for months and the Army never sent him one. Another huge failure putting humans at risk for disease.
That left me writing a Stateside health inspector. I wrote to Jim Tylor, County of Sonoma Health Inspector describing this situation of KBR contractor trucks hauling drinking water and sewer in the same truck. He responded with:
I don’t know how one would ever safely disinfect the tank for use with potable water after it has been contaminated with sewage. I for one, would never drink any water from a tank I knew once contained sewage.
I showed this email to my superiors, U.S. Army Colonel McQuain, his outgoing Deputy LtCol John Howell and the incoming replacement LtCol Conklin. Colonel McQuain requested I destroy the email from the Sonoma Country Health Inspector and the photos documenting the evidence against KBR regarding their use of water trucks hauling raw sewer. And at this point we haven’t even addressed the issue of the water trucks hauling diesel fuel.
Based on the information I had and with the full support of my DCMA Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) counterparts at Camp Victor, I wrote my report about KBR’s total failure to manage the water systems in accordance with Statement of Procedure Water Operations SOP-01M.
In addition to the report, I required that signs be posted in every trailer, every bathroom sink, every shower, every kitchen, every sink to inform people the water coming out of these taps non-potable and should not be used for hygiene purposes. KBR operations at Camp Victory laughed when they saw these pictures and wondered why KBR was not following the guidelines. It is amazing that KBR was delivering the lowest level of service and the 1700 organizations and the military’s last check and balance (the DCMA) for a year and a half had failed to protect them from sewage water. It was common for people to be sick and they attributed it to the water, but they had no idea just how dangerous it really was.
Colonel McQuain was very unhappy with the results of the inspections. Not that KBR had failed in every aspect, but that I had documented it and was more than willing to write the report and issue the Corrective Action Request (CAR). Even though Captain David was standing right next to me and witnessed the Water Trucks dumping sewage, Captain David tried to order me NOT to issue the CAR to KBR. Colonel McQuain knew he was treading on dangerous ground and really wasn’t sure how to handle an Air Force MSgt. I had the support of USAF Major Jimmy Hammonds and the 2 Camp Victory QARs. I knew the only way to get resolution was to officially report it. But any issues reported that could potentially affect KBR’s Award Fee were quickly covered-up by DCMA.
I sent an email to DCMA Commander MG Daryl Scott and asked him “Are we the Defense Contract Management Agency or the Defense Cover-up Management Agency?”
That evening there was a heavy rocket attack in the Green Zone and Col McQuain told me to go into the middle of it and look for LtCol Conklin. Even MAJ Hammonds raised questioned as to the reasoning behind this request. It was crazy to go out during a rocket attack so I didn’t go. It appeared to me that Col McQuain ordered me out into the attack as punishment for not destroying the KBR report. You see, in the Green Zone, the officers were writing themselves up for Bronze Stars as if they had taken Iwo Jima and the enlisted guys got a Joint Service Commendation Medal. If I on the other hand were killed, the most I might get would be a small camp named after me. USAF MAJ Hammonds was used to being treated with disrespect by US Army Col McQuain. I gave Col McQuain something to remember me by. An Air Force patch reading “Air Force – Aim High”.
I had learned by this time that my right foot was fractured. I delayed getting this documented because I did not want to leave the Green Zone until this water issue had been made public. I was afraid if I left it would going to get covered up by the DCMA.
I retired from the Air Force in January of 2008. I can say I was in a war zone and can now class myself a Veteran.
I returned to the Green Zone a few months later and actually went to work for the Dark Side- KBR. I will have to admit there were some very unhappy KBR employees when I showed up. One of the first things I did was attack the problem of these sewage/water trucks. I found the original Scope of Work (SOW) and studied the original subcontract files.
While reviewing the subcontract files I discovered one subcontractor with ONE truck was submitting invoices for hauling water one month and for hauling sewage the next. We then decided to combine 4 or 5 trucks and put out a Request for Proposal (RFP). It was at that point we realized the owner/operators of these vehicles could not read or write English. They were unable to read and understand the contract or the Scope of Work. I remember initiating a contract extension for one contract. I was surprised to learned the person who had been signing the subcontracts was not the owner of the truck or the company. Previous KBR subcontracts administrators had always allowed him to sign for the owners.