Regarding the July 24 letter “Contractors have fewer threats”: I am a contractor and have done three contracts with three different companies. Only two were six-figure incomes, none included wet CHUs (containerized housing units) and never did I have my own vehicle in which to cruise around.

I have also worked with civilians who do personal security detail (PSD) runs from forward operating bases/contingency operating bases to the international zone (IZ) and to other remote places. When I was a Department of Justice/Department of State contractor we made runs to different prisons in 2007-09 from DynCorp PSD, no military.

I would also like to know why the letter writer didn’t compare us (contractors) to his salary as a captain. We all live with the military too. Last I checked, I share a three-room CHU with the military, and no, it is not a wet CHU.

I don’t understand the hatred for the contractor. I am an SME (systems matter expert); some of us have skill sets that the letter writer obviously does not. After all, we are all one team and we were contracted by the Department of Defense as the letter writer was. Like some of the rest of the contractors, we are former military, veterans and some are still in the National Guard. We do have the same sacrifices as the letter writer.

Michael J. Novotny


Like GIs, contractors patriots

In response to the July 24 letter “Contractors have fewer threats”: As a Vietnam vet (1968-69), I know the threat of war. Like a lot of other civilians on the battlefield, I made a conscious choice to go online to try and find work to feed my family. We live in tents, we shower in ablution (AB) units, we drive in convoy every night alongside our military escorts and we die for our country without ever being able to shoot back.

Not all of us have wet CHUs (containerized housing units) or a Ford pickup truck. Most pile up in a van with no air conditioning or an old bus to get to and from our worksites. We eat in the dining facility alongside servicemembers and, on most camps, can only take one to-go box out with us.

I have been here going on eight years. I served on active duty for 12 years and worked at Fort Polk, La., for 10 years before coming over here. I have seen my share of civilians die in convoy or mortar and rocket attacks and have never seen those numbers posted in Stars and Stripes. We don’t count ourselves as any kind of heroes, but we are patriots willing to die for the red, white and blue.

Pete Scanlon

Al Asad Air Base, Iraq

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