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We Served Too: Remembering Civilian Sacrifices Made on Behalf of Country and Honoring Those Who Serve Alongside the Military in Conflict Zones

Anne Speckhard – (Huffington Post) – May 28, 2013 – This Memorial Day all Americans send a heartfelt salute to all those warriors who fought and died so gallantly in recent and far off wars in behalf of our freedoms and safety.  On behalf of those who died, we can never thank them or their families enough for the ultimate sacrifice they made for our country. Alongside that salute we now also need to begin to honor the oft forgotten civilians who also serve in war and high threat security environments alongside the military, supporting their efforts and working in concert with them — especially all those civilians who served in the two recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — as many civilian workers have also lost their lives while serving our country.

While we don’t often remember the sacrifices of civilian workers in conflict zones, or have a holiday to commemorate their service, we do need to honor that they too serve their country.

A little known fact is that in September 2007 there were more contractors in Iraq than combat troops.  According to a 2013 report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that, “In September 2007, the United States had more than 170,000 combat personnel in Iraq as part of the counterinsurgency operation, with more than 171,000 contractors supporting the mission.”  These contractors are credited in the report for supporting “the counterinsurgency mission in unstable, yet strategically significant, areas such as Baghdad, Anbar, and Babylon provinces.”

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Suicide attacks on Afghan, Nato bases in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR – June 19, 2012 – Eleven Taliban suicide attackers struck two Afghan and Nato bases in Kandahar province on Tuesday, after gunmen in police uniforms killed a coalition soldier, officials said.

Seven insurgents stormed a joint Afghan-Nato base in Shah Wali Kot district at around 3:30 am, sparking a 30-minute gun battle that left all the attackers dead, Kandahar governor’s spokesman Jawed Faisal said.

Nato’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the attackers breached the outer perimeter of the base but no coalition soldiers were killed.

But Faisal and provincial police chief General Abdul Raziq both said a foreigner had been killed and two wounded, with Faisal describing the fatality as a civilian contractor. Their nationalities were unclear.

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Police Trainer, Brett Benton Killed In Afghanistan

Brett Benton

June 6, 2011
Richmond native killed in Afghanistan

By Bill Robinson Senior News Writer The Richmond Register Mon Jun 06, 2011, 08:50 AM EDT

RICHMOND — A Richmond native who had been an officer with the Kenton County Police Department was killed late last week in Afghanistan where he had recently gone to work for a private contractor.

In a story on its website, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the Kenton County Police announced Saturday night that Brett Benton had been killed in the Asian nation, where the United States has been waging a war for nearly 10 years.

Few details were available, it stated, but early reports attributed his death to a roadside improvised explosive device.

Benton was the son of Skip Benton, a former Kentucky State Police investigator who now works as transportation director for the Madison County Schools.

He was in his mid 30s, was married and lived in Dry Ridge, the Ohio newspaper said. Read the remainder of this entry »

Civilian deaths up while defense contractors downsize in Middle East

In a recent article published by to DangerZoneJobs.com, the foremost authority on overseas contract employment, it was reported there were over 179,000 civilian DoD contractor personnel deployed in Iraq (Operation New Dawn (OND), Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

As you can see the contractor numbers are down significantly from the 250,335 reported in Iraq and Afghanistan in March 2010. Read the remainder of this entry »