KBR and the Laundry
Though it is widely known that KBR -- formerly Kellogg, Brown & Root -- is running the show in Iraq as far as support operations for the military go, I'd like to give you an idea of just how pervasive the firm's presence is in Iraq.
Veterans tell me that with each new military operation KBR has become more and more involved. What I noticed first was the laundry.
KBR handles laundry at both Al Asad and TQ. We turn our laundry bags in and after a couple of days, our clothes come back, supposedly clean. Here at TQ, the "clean" laundry does tend to have a slight hint of a fresh scent when it is returned. But at Al Asad, we wondered if they didn't just put the clothes in hot water for a while and then let them dry. Whatevery the exact process, things came back smelling so bad that we purchased liquid detergent to pour on our clothes -- for example around the collar.
Not exactly doing things by the book, but it worked to quell the odor. (I should add that although the quality of the laundry service leaves something to be desired, the concept is great. I personally enjoy it so much so that when I return home, I am sure I will look to use a wash and fold service. It just saves time!)
KBR runs the dining facilities both at Al Asad and TQ, but have recently subcontracted out to a firm named Gulf Catering Inc. Again this service is better at TQ and as far as I am concerned I am going to miss having my meals prepared and dishes cleaned once back to my civilian life.
KBR manges the Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) centers. MWR is a combination gym, movie theater, Internet cafe and general place to hang out where we play ping pong, chess, checkers, foosball and pool. All of these facilities are manned 24 hours a day so that those of us on night schedules can utilize the amenities.
General base maintenance is also contracted out. When Alpha company was still at Al Asad, the battalion began preparing for the coming heat of the summer by requesting window air conditioning units.
Being a National Guard Unit, we have several soldiers who are skilled electricians or carpenters outside of the Army. When the window units arrived, these soldiers begain installing the window unit by converting them to run on European standard current. After one A/C unit made it in, we were stopped from installing any more since it was technically a contract job that needed to be handled by contractors. As Alpha company left Al Asad, the contract work still had not been completed. I wonder if those A/C units are still sitting in the floor.
My observation of the Army over the past ten years is that it has attempted to outsource everything and remove a number of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) -- the military way of saying "jobs" -- from the service. I am not privy to the cost implications of all this, but I do know that in general, individual contractors take home more money than service members. And whereas a soldier will work days in a row without sleep if commanded to do so, contractors operate on a fixed work schedule. It goes without saying that soldiers aren't paid overtime.
Even for doing laundry.
-- Written 4/29/2006
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Old Corps | May 17, 2006 08:54 AM
Posted by: E. Etage | May 17, 2006 09:18 AM
Posted by: Mac | May 17, 2006 12:11 PM
Posted by: military wife | May 17, 2006 12:13 PM
Posted by: vet | May 17, 2006 12:37 PM
Posted by: dave | May 17, 2006 01:17 PM
Posted by: Cali-Girl | May 17, 2006 05:38 PM
Posted by: Bill | May 17, 2006 05:44 PM
Posted by: | May 18, 2006 10:22 AM
Posted by: | May 18, 2006 10:26 AM
Posted by: James | May 18, 2006 10:34 AM
Posted by: Army Commo Chief | May 19, 2006 08:18 AM
Posted by: Washington Hotlist | May 19, 2006 09:38 AM
Posted by: Drindl | May 19, 2006 11:42 AM
Posted by: GW | May 19, 2006 11:50 AM
Posted by: Garbled Toast | May 19, 2006 12:31 PM
Posted by: Tom Canick | May 19, 2006 01:33 PM
Posted by: em | May 19, 2006 02:13 PM
Posted by: Ted | May 19, 2006 02:31 PM
Posted by: nitpicker | May 19, 2006 03:38 PM
Posted by: SandyK | May 19, 2006 06:27 PM
Posted by: Paul R. Cooper | May 19, 2006 10:03 PM
Posted by: wlc over at Victory | May 22, 2006 10:26 AM
Posted by: Marty | May 22, 2006 12:48 PM
Posted by: | May 22, 2006 01:54 PM
Posted by: | May 23, 2006 10:08 AM
Posted by: James Lamar Baldwin | June 11, 2006 02:06 PM
Posted by: James Lamar Baldwin (White-Indian) | June 11, 2006 02:42 PM
Posted by: Bill | June 15, 2006 11:40 AM
Posted by: Chuck | July 7, 2006 10:48 AM
Posted by: david | July 8, 2006 07:34 AM
Posted by: Ard aka Fester | September 12, 2006 03:48 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.