Category Archives: - CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS

These are Civilian Contractor Articles

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Newbie’s, Respect, and the Contractor Circle of Trust

CCOT

Being a newbie at a job site sucks!

You will be known as the “new guy” for a few weeks, don’t take it personal. You are in the time immortal judgment phase of your new job. Your reputation starts on day number one. You better ask yourself right now…How do you want to be known?

“The most valuable thing you own is your reputation.”

To put it mildly, contractors are a cantankerous and cynical bunch who will judge you quickly and harshly. They’ve seen all types of wannabes and bullshit artists come and go and you are the fresh meat who just got off the bus for your first day at school.

Your actions and what comes out of your mouth will be put on your permanent record. The world of contracting is a very small one and a person’s reputation precedes them.

Now, I know I can’t help everybody. Some people are just retarded and won’t listen. But that’s good news for you, if you are not completely retarded and you are someone who can follow advice. You might have a chance to move ahead.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor

LP

Ok, Contracting is better than punching TPS Reports, but…

About 30 to 190 (yes, 190 is the record so far) times a day I get messages and emails from guys who want to break into the Contracting Racket. Besides the usual unreadable English from some Italian dude to outright rude emails demanding that I tell someone how to break into the biz “right fucking now”, no one ever asks the smart question of: “Are there any reasons why I should not consider a career in contracting?”

The short answer is “fuck yes there are”

Most folks think the life of an international security contractor is 6-figure paychecks, blowing shit up while yelling “FIRE IN THE HOLE” with a cigar clenched between your chompers with 30 day leaves in Bangkok banging beautiful gals and drinking fine scotch every few months.

To be honest it is that cool, but that’s about it. Forget about having any resemblance of a normal life, you will be an outlaw in the true sense of the Old West definition. So if you are considering a life shooting and looting around the world read everything below, you may change your mind.

Or you may want in the life even more if you are a nut like I am…

The 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor (in no particular order):

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: The Little “Try to F-me Over Now” Black Book

If you have ever worked in the contracting biz then you have seen all the shady shit that PM’s, APM’s (Project Managers – Assistant Project Managers) and PMC’s (Private Military Company’s) do. Some of the nonsense PMC’s do so they can save a buck and PM’s can Cover Their Ass when they screw up can be as simple as fudging paperwork to outright criminal fraud. It can be a bit offsetting but most of us who work in this industry have no illusions that the PMC’s we work for are in any way the Salvation Army.

And what happens if they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar? The nearest working fool who is the lowest on the totem pole will eat a dick. Or if one of the PM’s buddies fucks up, steer clear because some poor chump will get thrown on a grenade – no way the PM’s bud is going home. Getting thrown under the bus by the PMC you work for in Civilian Contracting has become an art form to PM’s and APM’s. If you think because you have worked for a PMC for four years and have shown loyalty somehow means you are protected, then I have some beautiful beachfront land in Somalia to sell you.

So how do you CYA?

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MEDICAL: The SOL-IFAK

James G’s SOL – IFAK

Over the past decade of working as a contractor in shit-holes around the world and living and traveling in the 3rd world one thing I have always learned to have close by is an IFAK.

Depending on what sort of gig I am on or where I happen to be traveling “IFAK” can mean anything from a backpack packed to the brim with medical kit to a cargo pocket with some QuikClot, some tissues and a Band-Aid.

Basically if you are an operator working in the worlds hot-spots you need to understand that your IFAK needs to be customized to whatever operation you happen to be on. That can be everything from looking from some rich guys missing kid in Bangkok to running PSD missions in Afghanistan.

The particular IFAK I am going to go over today is one of the ones I currently use as a TL running missions (everything from PSD to Convoy Security) for a private security contractor in Iraq.

This IFAK was put together by our Company Medic to be used in a very specific situation. Without giving away any OPSEC shit, lets just say we are way squared away when it comes to having the best medical supplies and highly trained US medics on our missions. So basically if someone (hopefully not the medic) is injured we have not only the medical kit to treat them but also a top tier medical professional on-board.

I call this particular IFAK the “SOL-IFAK” – meaning if I have to reach into it, it is because I am a combination of injured, unable to physically move from my position, cut off or pinned down and my teammates or medic can’t get to me and I have to treat myself ASAP.

It is not for helping others (but it still has the components to do so if necessary), not for treating myself quickly and running to our medic – it is a you are all alone and “Shit Out of Luck” with half your leg 4 feet away along with a few holes in ya type of IFAK.

Pretty much the only time the SOL-IFAK will get reached into is if I am lying on some shitty Iraqi highway, bleeding, pinned down behind some broken down eighteen wheeler that is 12 flatbeds away from my guntruck/teammates and I am not expecting medical assistance immediately.

The SOL-IFAK will keep me alive until my team kills everyone and the team medic is able to treat me and then gets my ass off the X and on DBA.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Six Security Contractors in Indian Jail on BS Charges

Six of my brother Security Contractors are in Indian Jail under weapons charges when their private anti-piracy ship allegedly strayed into Indian waters. These Six men were working a legal gig for a US based company called AdvanFort, they are all former British soldiers who honorably served their country and then took this gig to support themselves and their families, just as many of us here have done.

I have seen and been involved in many similar situations like this where a Security Contractor is arrested overseas as a direct result of their work duties. Most of the time they get thrown under the bus by their country or employer and end up spending years in jail and tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars before they are finally freed.

Unfortunately there is little we can do, but one thing you can do is Sign this petition calling on British Foreign Secretary William Hague to help free these six men – Let them see the numbers showing we will not let Security Contractors and former British soldiers get thrown under the bus and left to rot in some 3rd world shit hole prison.

http://www.change.org/petitions/william-hague-help-free-the-6-british-ex-soldiers-from-indian-prison

And This Petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/indian-government-free-the-advanfort-seafarers-guards-and-crew  

Also let the PMC who employs these men know the public will not stand for them turning their backs on these men. You can contact AdvanFort here:

FACEBOOK PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/AdvFort

http://www.advanfort.com/index.php?page=contact-us

Thank you

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Life of a Ship Anti-Piracy Operator – Eight Weeks on the High Seas

Fully kitted Private Anti-Piracy Operator: Romanian PSL and PPE

London, Abu Dhabi, Karachi, Bin Qasim, Dahej, Suez, Malta, Port Said, Suez, Goa, Redi, Galle, Colombo, Dubai, London, all visited in one recent eight week spell working the high risk area between Egypt and Sri Lanka. The gig is anti-piracy, or if you like – maritime security, but definitely armed and dangerous.

Prior to this I spent the last eight years in the sand pits of Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting off the dust and heat and the occasional insurgent. The heat’s still a bother, but the dust is history, and the moist sea air is a welcome change from the stench of the ‘Global War on Terror’.

You settle in quickly in this job, there’s a routine to all seafaring, even for the inveterate land lubbers in the security teams who ride shotgun on a ship’s bridge. You mostly watch – the flat open ocean, the radar, and the clock – 99.9% of your time is unremarkable, some say boring.

I don’t mind though, I especially like the ocean at night, when the full panoply of stars folds out above you; I even bought the Rough Guide to the Universe, to help me pick out the constellations – and with the ship’s binoculars I discovered the Andromeda Galaxy on a ship off Oman back in January.

Somalis don’t like the dark much, so in the wee small hours it’s OK to raise your line of sight skywards, and ponder the human condition while you slowly carve through pirate waters.

What of the pirates? They don’t think of themselves by that name, they’re just businessmen, protecting Somalia itself from avaricious foreigners who would dump toxic waste off the coast, and modern fishing vessels that grab up all the worthwhile stock in the Gulf of Aden, leaving the Somali fishermen, with their traditional methods, literally floundering.

These are excellent seamen with nothing to go to sea for – apart from piracy, and they are a primary source of recruitment into the ranks of the pirates. The fact that the pirate fleets are now threatening the north Arabian Sea – a thousand miles from Somalia – changes nothing for them, its business as usual, and business is booming. But why go to such lengths, with the world’s most sophisticated navies in hot pursuit?

The facts about Somalia speak for themselves: no effective government for twenty years, three quarters of Somalis live on $2 a day, life expectancy is 42 years, one in four children dies before the age of five. I once heard a saying that went “Africa is the hardest place on Earth to be an optimist”, if that’s true, then there must be a prolonged drought on optimism in Somalia. If I lived there I would probably be a pirate too, they have families to feed just like everyone else. Consequently I have a great deal of sympathy for them.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS – GUNS: The AK-47 And The M-4 In Security Contracting – A Comparison

The AK and M-4 – Tools of the Trade for Security Contractors

Sure, I know what you are thinking; “we need another AK ‘VS’ the M-4 debate like we need another round of prohibition”. But out of the zillions of articles and YouTube vids out there I have never seen one that specifically addresses the pros and cons of running the AK-47 and M-4 in the unique environment of International non-permissive environment Private Security Contracting. Also, this is NOT a “VS” article; it is more a comparison of both the weapons systems based on my experiences running both as a Security Contractor.

On my first Civilian Contracting gig I carried an old ass M16A2 that was so fucking big if I ran out of ammo I could probably use it as a Bō Staff. It also didn’t come with a sling so I had to make one out of 550 cord, duct tape and a luggage strap (something I did for years until John over at Original S.O.E. was generous enough to shoot me one of his Single Point Slings).

The second gig I ran an AK, third an M-4. Both of these gigs were a bit strange because ‘officially’ we were not authorized to carry firearms (strange contract stuff like that happened back in the day) so we didn’t carry our weapons around with us on base, only out on missions and had zero range or training time.

The Forth gig was unique because I was issued both an AK and an M-4, so it was my choice of what weapons system I wanted to run based on the mission or task. I also spent a lot of time as a Tactical Firearms Instructor to TCN’s (Third Country Nationals), Local Iraqis, Brits, Aussies and Americans. So I spent a substantial amount of time on the range discussing the preferences between the M-4 and AK with Operators from five continents, from peaceful 1st world countries where you can’t even buy firearms, to the world’s shittiest 3rd world war torn hell-holes where you can buy AK magazines and baby wipes at the same store.

On my latest gig running the roads in Iraq I run a Yugoslavian Zastava M92, it is basically a Shorty AK with a 10” barrel and an under-folder stock. This is my favorite AK variant I have used so far.

So after using the AK and/or the M-4 as a security contractor under a variety of operational environments for a bit over a decade I am going to throw together my opinions on the pros, cons and issues I have experienced from both weapons systems.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: The “I Married a Bargirl” Contractor Douchebag

Soi Cowboy Bangkok, one of the world’s most famous Red Light Districts
And Probably NOT the place to meet your future ex-wife

Walking down Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok while on leave would not be complete without seeing some 5.11 wearing fool walking hand in hand with a rough looking ex-bargirl. Now don’t get me wrong, hopping on a plane to Bangkok to blow off some steam after working for months in some 3rd world shit-hole is pretty much tradition in the Contractor Biz.

But I am referring to the guys who, despite being somewhat reasonable folks, somehow come up with the crazy person thought of “I am going to marry a Thai Hooker – And that shit is going to work out for the long run”.

I swear if I had one dollar for every “I lost all the bread I saved up on my past six contracts on some bargirl I married” stories I have heard from contractors I would be retired now. And the most amazing part is the guy telling the story seems to be actually surprised at the outcome.

Thailand has a habit of making old men young, allowing them to relive (or re-envision) their glory days of the past and no place else on earth can you see such a grouping of fat-gutted RBK (hint, hint) Contractors on leave walking hand in hand with teenyboppers young enough to be their granddaughters.

And it is by no means only the older contractor crowd who suffers from this affliction. The younger contractor crowd, who after hearing hundreds of stories about the Wild, Wild East from the old contractor hands also come to the Big Mango to sow their oats, popping from bar to bar, getting drunk, hooking up, having the time of their lives and falling in love with #38.

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CHOW: Bridgford Ready to Eat Sandwiches – Sandwiches for High Speed Low Drag Guys

Pop-Tarts for Operators

One of the worst parts about running missions on the roads here in Iraq [or anywhere for that matter] is trying to get a meal in when running 120K down the road with an AK in one had and a radio in the other. When you are driving, scanning for bad guys or working the radios, MTS, GPS and other gadgets on a 14 hour convoy you can hardly make a ham and cheese sandwich in your lap.

MRE’s are a bit of a pain to sort through while mobile in a car and between all the potholes and constant swerving most of it ends on your kit, hands and floor. You also have to eat them cold because using an MRE heater in a sealed armored truck will make you puke.

For the folks here who have eaten 5 cold MRE’s back to back, you know you are lucky to even gag half of one down. Even instant-eat food like canned meats and beef jerky [I swear I have eaten 100 pounds of Beef Jerky on Convoys and PSD missions] are hardly satisfying and not even remotely nutritious.

Plus having to hold your chow in one hand, a fork in another, napkins and a drink between your legs means your AK is lying on the floor and your eyes are on your lap. Not really a good thing when running down the road in one of the most dangerous countries in the world in a big ass bullet/VBIED/IED Sponge SUV with Iraqi Security Company stickers on the side.

Before a mission I usually make a few sandwiches and throw them in the truck. I have always thought that sandwiches were the perfect food – meat, grain, vegetables, sugar, salt – a square meal in the palm of your hand with no utensils required and only requires on hand. The problem is you can only pack a few sandwiches because after a day they turn rancid from lack of refrigeration or become nasty soggy.

So I did a little bit of Googling and found these Bridgford Ready to Eat Sandwiches that were made for the US Military’s “First Strike Ration” MRE.

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GUNS: The Kalashnikov Rifle in Security Contracting – Part 2

Security Contractors Bubba G. and Friend in Iraq Packing AK’s

My bro did a great overview of humping the AK in International Security Contracting so in this article I wanted to go over some of the issues one will run into when using an AK on contracts overseas, specifically in Iraq.

Unlike most other contractors I am fortunate enough to be in a unique position where I am able to fire thousands of rounds through an AK here in Iraq every week due to the generous range time allotted to my team. Believe it or not most contractors are lucky to get range time a few times a year.

I know some guys over here that have not fired their weapons in way over a year and some who have never even fired the rifle they were issued. I am sure it sounds crazy to some of the folks reading this, but to the old hands in contracting who are reading this you are probably saying “yep – just like that”.

Before I started contracting in Iraq I really didn’t have much experience with the AK outside of some AK’s I owned and didn’t shoot much [I actually bought them as an investment]. And on my first couple of gigs in the Middle East I mostly carried and M4, so when I started working in Iraq this time around the AK was a relativity new weapons platform to me.

So after a shit-load of time training, humping and shooting the AK in Iraq I have noted several operational quirks that folks who are planning to hump an AK in Iraq should know about.

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