Home » A Soldiers Story » Tom’s all for relief, but here’s the story of how I got relieved unfairly in Iraq
 

Tom’s all for relief, but here’s the story of how I got relieved unfairly in Iraq

Originally posted by Thomas E. Ricks – (Foreign Policy) July 25, 2012

By Col. Larry Wexler (U.S. Army, ret.)

Best Defense department of first person experience

I served i n Iraq from 2008-2009 and served as the deputy program director for LOGCAP Iraq. I was relieved of my duties in March 2009 after having apparently performed them just fine from October 2008 to March 2009. In January my supervisor recommended me for a Bronze Star for the work I was doing. He was stationed at Rock Island and came for a theater visit in February 2009. At no time did he mention any performance issues or his intentions to relieve me of my duties. What had transpired up to that time was I reported fraud, waste, and abuse on the part of the SERCO Management Contract and certain of the contractors and a failure to perform on the part of KBR on their contract. Prior to all this I had served 30 years in the Army in both active and reserve and extended my retirement a year to serve on the LOGCAP contract, had been promoted to Colonel, had command assignments up to 06 level and had attended the U.S. Army War College. I was also mobilized for two years on a joint assignment as the chief of staff of a deployable joint task force headquarters core element. In my civilian career I served as a vice president of corporate infrastructure — essentially purchasing and contracting.

Up to the third week of March I had no communication that I was not performing my duties to my supervisors’ satisfaction, in fact I had accomplished 90 percent of my performance objectives on my OER support form. I had built out a new life support area to improve the quality of life for those assigned to my detachment, have developed a better training plan, had developed a reception plan, had created a functional chain of command to provide better customer service, developed an SOP to ensure standardization across the detachment, and yet in March I received a call from my supervisor that I was being relieved (he wouldn’t say why) and that I had one week to get my affairs in order and be on a plane out of Iraq. My predecessor, who was also relieved, as well as the DPD for Afghanistan who had been relieved, were all given a month to get their affairs in orders. I was given a week because KBR and SERCO wanted me out of country before the arrival of the Congressional committee on wartime contracting the first week of April. They did not want me to brief them on the fraud, waste, and abuse on both contracts. KBR also wanted me out of the picture because instead of just handing the base at Basra to them, I worked with JCC-I to bid out the base life support as fixed price contracts. KBR did not like losing Basra from the LOGCAP contract. They also wanted me out because I would have presented my case that the fraud, waste, and abuse — and failure to perform in accordance with the respective contracts — would cost them their award fee bonus. The retired general in charge of the KBR LOGCAP Contract in Iraq worked with his active duty general counterparts to have me removed, not for having failed to perform my duties, but for having the integrity not to look the other way when contractors behaved badly.

The Army still relieves commanders or those in positions of leadership, but as you can see not always for a good reason and those that should be relieved for condoning fraud, waste and abuse are not relieved because generals today for the most part look out for each to protect each other. (Click HERE for original article)

Col. Larry Wexler (USA, Ret.), is an Armor Officer with over thirty years of commissioned service, both active and reserve. He has served at all levels of command from platoon through group and is a U.S. Army War College graduate. He was mobilized and deployed twice to Iraq.

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6 Comments

  1. Comment by Army Command Watch:

    The Army General Officers and our elected Representatives are in bed with contractors like SERCO and KBR. DCMA also retaliates for whistle-blowing reports like the Colonels.
    The Army corruption reaches into the core of the Pentagon, Rock Island and Camp Arifjan. News reporters call it ongoing corruption because it is still going on today.

    Only a General Officer could remove an O-6 colonel and those individuals need to be identified and reported to Ms Sparky so we can end THEIR careers. Yes General, we are looking for you.

    Congressmen and Senators also ignore the whistleblowers and are taking their own kickbacks in bribes from lobbiests and special interests.

    July 12, 2005

    Senator Diane Feinstein
    One Post Street
    San Francisco, CA 94104

    Dear Senator Feinstein ,

    I wrote to Congresswoman Woolsey yesterday and sent a package of paperwork to her regarding the IG complaint that I filed and is not being acted upon in any manner by those entrusted to investigate IG complaints. The time that they are wasting in not getting on with an investigation is endangering the health of our soldiers and the American civilians, GS and civilian contractors alike. To put it plainly “Why are they sitting on their asses when I brought this problem to them 2 months ago!”

    So I guess what I would l am asking is to investigate the absolute slow, ineffective IG system that has allowed this situation to carry on for another 2 months. And also why is the DCMA failing to do its job in overseeing the Halliburton contract by covering up obvious failures that were brought to their attention there in the International Zone. Instead of acting on the information and pictures I gave them – tried to cover it up.

    It is no wonder that the IG system is viewed as ineffective in dealing with problems found and thus a waste of time to even approach as seems to be the case here.

    Sincerely,

    MSgt, USAFR
    DCMA
    Quality Assurance Representative

    11 Jul 2005

    Dear Congresswoman Woolsey,

    I recently finished a tour of duty in Iraq working as an Air Force Reservist for the Defense Contract Management Agency. You and I agree that how we got there was a sham but now that I have been there and have talked to so many people that have witnessed the killing of women simply because Saddam or his sons did not think they were pretty. Brutal killings by putting them into wood chippers, feeding them to alligators or lions from their zoo or hanging them from a tree behind the Palace (US Embassy where I worked) you might think different. But where you and I have a common ground is that I am a resident of Healdsburg and also we both care about the conditions that the soldiers and 1,000 plus other acronyms and the other countries that are depending upon Halliburton (KBR) to provide and for the agency that I worked for DCMA to oversee them. DCMA is the final check and balance.

    But in February I was appointed the only Quality Assurance Inspector for Task Order 100 of the KBR contract. That is the I was the only person overseeing that they were abiding by the contract – Statement of Procedures in the entire International Zone (Green Zone)
    -I found them hauling water that was for the military and civilians to have showers in Tanker Trucks that also hauled sewage.
    -I found them hauling our water in a fuel truck and had people complain to me that their shower smelled like diesel fuel.
    -We had our laundry operations go down for 17 days in December because KBR was not following the Statement of Procedures in regards to the Water Operations.
    -I found the dining hall had disgusting conditions where the food was being cooked.

    I brought this up to my commanders there and was ignored. I wrote to the Director of DCMA, Major General Scott, and was also ignored. His response was to have me pulled from duties as a QAR and put back to Contract Administrator while they brought in a Captain who would not write KBR a corrective action report as I did.

    The only way the taxpayer gets what they are paying for is if KBR follows those Statement of Procedures and when they fail the Award Fee Board needs to see that a Corrective Action Report was issued and that they were not living up to their contract.
    And why in the world would you pay them a full 3% profit if they were not performing 100%.

    It is a cover-up and lack of due diligence by DCMA and that is what the IG Complaint is about. Why have them there if they cannot get KBR to perform.
    So far as I understand from the IG Inspector, LtCol Avery, that I gave this complaint to in Mid May, nothing has happened other than shuffle it around. Meanwhile our soldiers are still having showers in Non-Potable water. I witness the lone potable water truck filling up with non-potable water and that water was being delivered to the dining halls as potable water for cooking, adding to powdered drinks, and washing dishes. A charade and just wrong.

    I hope that you get to read the complaint and see the photos and especially read what the Sonoma County Health Inspector had to say about what I had sent to him since I could not find a Medical Inspection team within the Green Zone to help.

    Please note that I was told to destroy the report on the condition of the dining hall at the Palace and not show it to anyone.

    I hope that you can get some action on this because right now I have not seen any action from the IG. Their bare minimum contact is supposed to be once every 30 days. It has now been close to 2 months and nothing except me trying to make inquiries back to Lt Col Avery at Travis Air Force Base.

    The best way to get in touch with me is by email
    As I am going back over to Iraq here by the end of the July.

    Sincerely,

    MSgt, US Air Force Reserves
    DCMA

    Election Day, it is time to take out the trash and any politican who took money from a DoD company needs to be voted out.

  2. Comment by all ears:

    It does no good to write to Feinstein. Her husband controls 35% of Perrini Which at one time was the second largest contractor in Iraq. She was on the Iraq oversight Committee until there was a inquiry into her husbands affairs. A good source of info is Publicintegrity.org. Search their site and use contractors. It is well documented and detailed.

    • Comment by Army Command Watch:

      I think you see the letter was from 2005. Perrini is a wholly owned company of Bebihani of Kuwait and they are trying to be 1 step removed to bid on USG contracts and have a couple of US Embassy NECs. You are saying her husband is still an owner ?

      • Comment by all ears:

        What I said was to read the article from Publicintegrity.org. I repeat, it was in great detail about the players. It followed the money trail. Perrini was based in Mass. in 2005. Many companies have been bought out, sold or folded since then.

  3. Comment by Army Command Watch:

    Perrini is owned 100% by Bebehani and they are circumventing guidelines that say that foreign companies don’t build U.S. Embassy projects.

    We know from the single sole source of DWC in Kuwait ( under Congressional investigation ) that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is still corrupt as is the State Department.

    The Spotlight is coming – watch for it. The cockroaches will be running for cover

  4. Comment by ???:

    It is not Perini that is owned by Behbehani, it is Pernix…

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