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Lucas Trent Vinson-KBR Archive

The Uncounted Contractor Casualties

Posted May 9, 2011 By Ms Sparky

David IsenbergThe PMSC Observer & Huffington Post

Author, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq (Praeger Security International)

Of all the things said and written about private military and security contractors working for the U.S. government in various war zones one of the least discussed is the sacrifices they make. And like regular military forces they also pay the ultimate sacrifice, as in dying. Unlike regular military personnel their deaths rarely get any notice, aside from a company press release and a few paragraphs in the hometown newspaper. (click HERE for Fallen Contractors Memorial at American Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan)

Their sacrifices are so unrecognized that if Washington, D.C. were to build yet another war memorial on the mall The Tomb of the Unknown Contractor would have to be considered a viable candidate for selection. To paraphrase the old saw about regular military forces, one might say in regard to recognition of contractors wounded and killed, “nothing is too good for our contractors so that’s what we’ll give them. Nothing.”

Admittedly there is slightly better recognition of the wounded and dead contractors than when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq but that is not saying a whole lot.  There simply has not been much detailed analysis of this subject. That is why a recent paper strongly deserved attention. It is Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity by Prof. Steven L. Schooner and student Collin D. Swan, both of the George Washington University Law School,  was recently published in the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.

In the paper they examine the “casualty sensitivity” effect. Economists define this as an inverse relationship exists between the number of military deaths and public support. Currently, most studies suggest that “majorities of the public have historically considered the potential and actual casualties in U.S. wars and military operations to be an important factor in their support.” Read the remainder of this entry »

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Lucas "Trent" Vinson

Schofield soldier admits guilt in slaying of contractor in Iraq

The veteran and medic, who also assaulted three other workers, will serve a 26-year term

William Cole – (Star Advertiser) – April 15, 2011 – A Schofield Barracks soldier pleaded guilty this week in military court to murdering a civilian contractor in Iraq and was sentenced to 26 years in prison, officials said yesterday.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, 32, a medic and three-time Iraq war veteran, was days away from leaving the country when he shot contractor Lucas “Trent” Vinson on Sept. 13, 2009, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in northern Iraq.

Vinson, 27, worked for the Houston-based company KBR at COB Speicher with his father, Myron “Bugsy” Vinson, and an uncle. KBR provided troops with services such as housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

As part of a plea deal, Velez, of Cleveland, was found guilty of the murder of Vinson “by recklessly pointing his loaded M-4 carbine at Mr. Vinson, who died when the weapon discharged,” the 25th Infantry Division said.

The agreement required a sentence not in excess of 28 years in prison, officials said.

Read the remainder of this entry »

Army medic has yet to face charges in death of worker

Posted February 3, 2011 By Forseti

Gregg K. Kakesako – Honolulu Star-Advertiser – February 3, 2011 – Question: What punishment did the Schofield Barracks soldier receive for killing a civilian worker in Iraq in 2009? He was supposed to have been court-martialed last summer.

Answer: The court-martial for Spc. Beyshee O. Velez in the death of Lucas “Trent” Vinson of Leesville, La., an employee of Houston-based KBR, near Tikrit on Sept. 13, 2009, has been postponed until Feb. 14.

Meanwhile, the Army said a murder trial for Velez, a combat medic who has served three tours in Iraq, has also been postponed, but no date for that proceeding has been released. There was no reason given for the postponement.

Velez has been held at the brig on Ford Island since his return here.

KBR provides services including housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

Read the remainder of this entry »

Lucas "Trent" Vinson

Soldier court-martialed in man’s killing in Iraq

The trial for Spc. Beyshee Velez will likely take place this summer

By Gregg K. Kakesako-Star Bulletin
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 13, 2010

A 31-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier will face a general court-martial, probably this summer, for allegedly killing a civilian contractor after a daylong standoff at a military base in Iraq last year.

In one of his first actions since assuming command of the 25th Infantry Division last month, Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux ordered this week that Spc. Beyshee Velez, a combat medic who has served three tours in Iraq, face a court-martial for the death of Lucas T. Vinson, an employee of Houston-based KBR, near Tikrit on Sept. 13. KBR provides services including housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry. Read the remainder of this entry »

Attorney: Schofield soldier accused of Iraq shooting had psychotic episode

By William Cole
Advertiser Staff Writer

WHEELER – ARMY AIRFIELD — The attorney for a Schofield Barracks soldier accused of shooting to death a civilian contractor in Iraq said today that an Army mental fitness board found that the soldier likely experienced a short psychotic episode.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, 31, a three-time Iraq war veteran, was days away from leaving the country when he allegedly shot to death civilian contractor Lucas “Trent” Vinson on Sept. 13, 2009, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Northern Iraq.

Vinson, 27, worked for Houston-based KBR at COB Speicher with his father, Myron “Bugsy” Vinson and an uncle. KBR provides troops with essential services, including housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

Velez is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of assault and one count of fleeing apprehension. Read the remainder of this entry »