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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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Arrested developments and other news

Report: TRC Folded In Inquiry
Haines City firm faced accusations of supplying Army with bad gyroscopes.
Kyle Kennedy – (The Ledger) – HAINES CITY – May 20, 2012 – When Technology Research Consultants landed in Polk County in 2003, the company shined with promise.

But about five years later, the celebrated defense contractor abruptly shut down. Until now, the reason behind its exit has been a mystery.

TRC, which made gyroscopes for the Army’s Black Hawk helicopters, secured millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts and eventually grew to more than 70 employees at the firm’s headquarters in Haines City. Local business and economic development leaders hoped TRC’s award-winning success might attract interest from other technology firms.

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Gone Fishin’ and other news

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn’t always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money. ~ NPR, Money in Politics Series

Army probes drug use by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan
Lolita C. Baldor – (The Associated Press) – WASHINGTON – April 21, 2012 –  The U.S. Army has investigated 56 soldiers in Afghanistan on suspicion of using or distributing heroin, morphine or other opiates during 2010 and 2011, newly obtained data shows. Eight soldiers died of drug overdoses during that time.

While the cases represent just a slice of possible drug use by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, they provide a sombre snapshot of the illicit trade in the war zone, including young Afghans peddling heroin, soldiers dying after mixing cocktails of opiates, troops stealing from medical bags and Afghan soldiers and police dealing drugs to their U.S. comrades.

In a country awash with poppy fields that provide up to 90 per cent of the world’s opium, the U.S. military struggles to keep an eye on its far-flung troops and monitor for substance abuse.

But U.S. Army officials say that while the presence of such readily available opium — the raw ingredient for heroin — is a concern, opiate abuse has not been a pervasive problem for troops in Afghanistan. (Click HERE for article)

Government Worker Claims Rape on the Job
Iulia Filip – (Courthouse News) – MONTGOMERY, Ala. – April 20, 2012 – The U.S. government faces federal claims that a manager in the Defense Department harassed and repeatedly raped a contract worker.

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Military Flies Shooting Suspect Out of Afghanistan

A congressman asked the Pentagon on Tuesday to explain why the soldier accused in the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers was sent back into combat after earlier suffering a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, as lawmakers questioned how seriously the military deals with the mental health of troops. ~Lawmakers press Pentagon on massacre suspect’s brain injury

Lisa Daniel – (American Forces Press Service) – WASHINGTON – March 14, 2012 – The military today airlifted out of Afghanistan the U.S. soldier accused of going on a shooting rampage targeting Afghan civilians earlier this week, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Navy Capt. John Kirby, in an interview with Fox News at the Pentagon, confirmed that the soldier was flown out of Afghanistan. He declined to say where he is being held.

The soldier, whom the military has yet to identify, was taken out of Afghanistan because there was no appropriate place to detain him there, Kirby said.

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PTSD diagnoses at Lewis-McChord reexamined

It is home base not only of the soldier accused in this weekend’s shooting of civilian women and children in Afghanistan, but also Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who was recently convicted of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

It’s also the base of Iraq War veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect in the killing of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day. (Barnes’ body was later found in the park.) “Beltway Sniper” John Allen Muhammad – executed in 2009 for killing 10 people around Washington, D.C. – was also stationed at Lewis-McChord.

(CBS/AP) – March 12, 2012 – Diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder at an Army Medical Center located at the home base of the soldier accused of fatally shooting 16 Afghan civilians has been under scrutiny by Army investigators.

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