April 8th & 9th, 2004 a bloody day for all in Iraq.
The days preceding the 8th & 9th were not easy days. Things were heating up all over Iraq. On April 7th, I took a convoy through Baghdad. We had problems on Sword, blockage, IED’s planted on the frontage road, ect… Then on April 8th & 9th the shit hit the fan.
I made this post on April 9th.
I know everyone has been watching the news, and I am sure there are some concerns. I still have not seen the news. I have been real busy to not be busy and have not had the chance to watch it. I hear what is going on up north and on my way down a few days ago, experienced a bit of it. I want to be truthful with everyone, but I don’t want to cause undue fear. Yes it is getting hotter in Iraq. And if you will remember, I believe I told everyone that it was going to get that way several months ago. I wont lie to ya’ll, our convoys are getting hit more often now. People are getting hurt, and some even killed. A few days ago, I heard a rumor that a convoy was hit and hit hard. I had several friends up there and was as worried about them as I am sure ya’ll are about me. I found out it was a Turkish convoy and they had done something that they should not have done. It doesn’t lessen the loss for their families, but understand, I will not leave a camp without escort. Yesterday, 3 convoys were hit. One was a KBR flatbed convoy from Arifjan.
Then on April 11th, I made this post.
I just wanted to let everyone know what we are being told here. We are back at start up status. That means that we are at the same status that they were at when all this started. We are at war again and are treating as such. I am not getting all the information that we, the drivers want at this time. I can say that as most of you know, there has been a KBR tanker driver kidnapped. There have been some KBR drivers killed and some are still missing. I have not heard from several of my friends that I know were up north. You would think with us sitting right here in the middle of it all that we would know more than the news, but it is not always that way. Drivers are quitting and going home at a very rapid pace. I can not and will not condemn them for doing that. I just know that I am going to stay. I can’t tell you how I will react or what I will do if one of my convoys is ever hit. That may be enough for me to come home and then it may not. I ask of everyone there in the stats to just pray for our guys and gals over here. We have lots of new people over here that are not familiar with he area and we have lots of people that were supposed to be going home in the next few days that are not going to be. MY friend Keith is one of them. He was due to fly out on the 14th. They recalled his unit and now after being here a year, he doesn’t know how much longer he will have to stay.
Then on April 12th, all KBR employees received this in their email.
TO: All Halliburton employees
FROM: Dave Lesar, chairman, president and CEO
SUBJECT: KBR casualties in Iraq
Our KBR colleagues in Iraq have suffered casualties in the renewed fighting over the past week. Several of our truck convoys were attacked during their work delivering fuel, food and supplies for the U.S. Army and the Iraqi people. I am sorry to report that two members of the Halliburton family were killed. At this time there are six more employees missing, and one, Thomas (Tommy) Hamill, was captured and is being held hostage. Eighteen others were wounded.
This is a grueling and difficult development, and we are working diligently to assist the families and the military in any way we can.
KBR employees and subcontractors have all made courageous decisions to work in Iraq. Daily, they risk their personal security to serve the troops and deliver much-needed services to the Iraqi people.
We are in constant communication with the authorities in Iraq and the families of the lost, missing and captured employees. Out of concern for the safety of these individuals and the privacy of their families, we are not releasing their names at this time. I am sure you all join me in expressing our condolences to the families of those who were lost and in praying for the safety of Tommy Hamill and the six missing individuals, and for the recovery of the wounded. We are grateful and supportive of everyone who continues to assist with this effort.
This is a very trying time for them and for all our fellow employees in Iraq. We are working with the coalition authorities to provide for their safety and security. And we are firm in our resolve to stay and complete our mission to provide logistical support to the coalition troops, humanitarian and reconstruction aid to the Iraqi people, and help with rebuilding Iraq’s oil industry.
I am proud of the work KBR is doing in the Middle East. It is essential work, and KBR is the right group for the job. The KBR employees and subcontractors working there are showing great courage, as well as skill and professionalism. All of us stand behind them, and we send them our heartfelt thanks along with our concern for their safety.
I will keep you informed as we learn more about the seven missing and captured employees. Until then, let us keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
Excerpt from the book “Cindy in Iraq: A Civilian’s Year in the war Zone”
“The bloodshed continued in early April. Westerners were being kidnapped all over the country. Eighteen of our troops were killed in a single day, April 6. To days later, a convoy was attacked and a driver was killed. The following day, one on our fuel convoys was ambushed west of Baghdad. Seven of my colleagues at KBR were taken hostage along with a soldier. One of the KBR drivers, Tommy Hamill, was paraded in front of television cameras on Al Jazeera and threatened with murder if the U.S. didn’t immediately pull back from the offensive in Fallujah.” “The fighting continued in and around Fallujah, but the terrorists didn’t kill Tommy Hamill. They killed everybody else, though. A couple of weeks later, the bodies of four KBR drivers and SGT. Elmer Krause were found in shallow graves near the site of the ambush. The whereabouts of the two other KBR drivers, along with Hamill, were unknown.”
In the end, Tommy Hamill escaped on May 5th, and over time, another KBR driver’s body was found, but the whereabouts of one driver still remains unknown. The family’s of soldiers like Staff SGT Keith Matthew ‘Matt’ Maupin, had to wait over 4 years for the body of their Fallen Soldier, their son, to be returned home.
I ask that you, some time in your day today, to please take a moment and remember the Hero’s that we lost on those most bloody of days 5 years ago.
My prayers and tears, go out to them all!