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Returning War Contractors Face Second Battle, Against AIG

After his rig bottomed out in a bomb crater, AIG made former KBR trucker David Boiles of Willis suffer through 14 months of agonizing back pain and sciatica before they authorized surgery. – Photo Daniel Kramer

In the summer and fall of 2004, 58-year-old William Manning was working east of the Green Zone in Iraq. As a labor foreman, Manning, a marine Vietnam vet, was overseeing and escorting other civilian contractors at a work site near the police academy where Iraqi rookie cops were trained. ~Mine Fields: Injured Iraq/Afghanistan Contractors Fight to Get Compensated for War Wounds

Whatever your role in the U.S. war effort, if you were injured overseas, at least you’d be covered back home, right?

John Nova Lomax – November 14, 2012 – Ever since that June day in 2010 when the roadside bomb detonated ten feet from the cab of his truck on a dusty road in Iraq, Terry Enzweiler has not been the same. He gets lost coming back from the same grocery store he’s shopped in hundreds of times; his daughter had to buy him a GPS to help him navigate his own neighborhood. He takes Xanax and Zoloft to combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The Xanax stops me from jumping through the roof when a pencil falls on the floor,” he says.

Even medicated, his blood still curdles when he hears Arabic spoken on TV or drives through one of the Chicago area’s Muslim neighborhoods. He wore earplugs for much of the week leading up to and right through the Fourth of July. “Those half-sticks sound just like a .50-cal,” he says, referring to a type of heavy machine gun.

The chuck-chuck of helicopter blades terrifies him, as does the sight of his own 25-year-old son. In Iraq, 46-year-old Enzweiler, a recent client of Houston attorney Gary Pitts, saw a dead Iraqi child who looked just like his boy did 13 years ago. “My psychiatrist said it’s like a marriage where there’s been infidelity,” he says in a phone interview. “The wife forgives the husband. Two years later, she sees a blond woman in a blue dress. Two years prior, the other woman looked like that. So in the mind, the two images come together, and for absolutely no reason, you become furious, and your subconscious takes over. It’s the same thing now. When I see my son, I think of that kid. I saw some horribly gruesome stuff over there.”

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Faking it in bed and other news

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Chinese stymie U.S. hunt for parts
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) – June 18, 2011 – Senate investigators are returning from Hong Kong after China on Friday again refused their entry into the mainland to investigate the manufacture of counterfeit military parts for the American F-15 fighter jet and other high-tech defense components.

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Fighting for treatment

Kevin Graman – (Spokesman-Review) – June 13, 2011 – A highly trained helicopter mechanic sits in her Chattaroy home and wonders what will come next: another debilitating brain seizure or the therapy she hopes will help her recover from injury as a result of a mortar explosion 20 months ago in Afghanistan.

Jennifer Barcklay says she is being denied the specialized inpatient medical treatment her doctors believe is her only hope for a normal life.

“These are war crimes, using taxpayer dollars to profit from injuries incurred by people fighting for our freedom,” Barcklay says.

Although she is a U.S. Army veteran, Barcklay, 40, was injured as a civilian working for Blackwater, the private security contractor now known as Xe Services. She and thousands of other civilian employees injured in the defense of their nation have had to navigate an often unresponsive private insurance system.

Xe’s insurance carrier has so far denied Barcklay expensive inpatient treatment known as cognitive rehabilitation therapy, which was recommend by eight Spokane area physicians and mental health care providers.

She suffers from traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for which thousands of U.S. soldiers are receiving care in military or Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Like many of them, she continues to endure seizures, memory loss, headaches, tremors and problems with her balance that prevent her from returning to work. Read the remainder of this entry »