Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Internal State Department Memo Praises Contractors

A few days ago The Spy Who Billed Me published an internal State Department memo which enumerated five cases of "superior/heroic contractor performance" in the war on terror. Dr. R. J. Hillhouse explains, "The first four instances involve contractors from Blackwater and the last one is most likely Triple Canopy." She removed the last names, but has otherwise included all original text. I reproduce it below in its entirety, for your consideration:


Five Examples of Superior/Heroic Contractor Performance

Protectee Evacuation: On 23 Jan 07, Raven 7 was on venue at the Municipalities and Public Works Annex (MMPW) building. At approximately 1113 hours they reported receipt of heavy small arms fire. DOS [Department of State] Air Assets were contacted by RSO TOC [Tactical Operations Center] and requested to provide aerial support. At 1118, the RSO Air Assets arrived in the vicinity of MMPW, and one round of SAF [small arms fire] struck an RSO Air Asset door gunner in the cheek. At 1120, RSO Air Assets took their door gunner to the 28th CSH [combat support hospital]. This COM PSD [personal security detachment] member was pronounced KIA [killed in action]. During this engagement, the COM Tactical Support Teams (TST) 22, 23, 24 and 26 responded to the MMPW building to support the engaged COM PSD teams, and received heavy SAF while in route and on location. Army attack aviation and Stryker units also responded to the MMPW building during this period. The Designated Marksman from Raven 7 on the roof of the MMPW venue remained engaged with a heavy volume of SAF.

At 1150, the RSO Air Assets returned to the scene and again received SAF. This caused one RSO Air Asset to land at Ministry of Health. The other RSO Air Asset (Hughes 530) crashed at MB 4318 8958, approximately 700 meters southeast of the Municipalities and Public Works Annex due to heavy SAF. This location was not confirmed until 1315. The search for the downed RSO Air Asset began immediately. During this search, U.S. Army, COM PSD, and RSO Air Assets were continuously engaged with heavy SAF. Additional RSO Air Assets were requested and responded to the vicinity of the last known location of the downed RSO Air Asset.

At 1315, the Army Stryker unit secured the crash site, and was engaged with a heavy volume of SAF. COM TST [tactical support team] linked up with the Stryker unit at 1323. All four COM PSD in the RSO Air Asset were declared KIA. U.S. Army, COM PSD, and COM TST remained continuously engaged by an undetermined number of insurgents during the evacuation of the 4 KIA remains. At 1541, all COM PSD elements were secure in the International Zone.

There were 5 RSO Air Asset members KIA during this engagement. There were no COM direct hires injured during this engagement. There were no other casualties, or injuries to COM personnel. There are numerous impacts of SAF on COM vehicles, as well as an undetermined amount of damage to equipment.

Explosive Discovery/Mission Aborted: November 2, 2006 - Team 13, advancing for Team 11, arrived at the venue. DDM [designated defensive marksman] was in a position on the roof of the venue and observed a local national placing an object on the ground adjacent to the entrance of the venue. The object had protruding wires. Team 13 with embedded RSO agent (K.) advised Team 11 to abort the mission and return to base. DDM's on the roof observed a second man they surmised was the trigger man for the command detonation of this IED. Blackwater air was contacted and extracted the DDM’S from the roof of the venue (B22) leaving aerial gunners in their place. Air took Team 13 shooters to LZ [landing zone] Washington (B5) and dropped them, returning to pick up their aerial gunners and provide convoy coverage for Team 13 as they returned to B6. Team 13 returned safely to base at 1118 with no further incidents. No shots were fired by our team, and no COM personnel were harmed.

Rescue Operation: October 22, 2006 - Today at about 1630 hours, Blackwater Aviation “Little Birds” BW 33(Chalk #1) and BW 34(Chalk #2) were returning from a mission when BW 34 observed a US Army motorcade that was attacked by an insurgent placed explosive formed charge (EFP) in the vicinity of G3.
The aircrews observed that the vehicles struck by the EFP contained numerous US casualties. BW 33 with Door Gunners Mark Y. (Medic) and John S. made the decision to land at the attack site, assess the wounded and provide MEDEVAC capabilities. Mark exited the aircraft upon landing at the site with John providing security. Mark quickly went to work assessing the wounded and beginning triage. He made a rapid decision to immediately transport two of the more seriously wounded via BW 33 to the Combat Surgical Hospital (CSH) in the International Zone. As the wounded were loaded, Mark would remain behind to continue treating the remaining casualties, while John accompanied the wounded and continued in-flight care.

During this time, BW 34 with Door Gunners Emmett R. and Steve C., provided overhead protective cover for BW 33 expecting a secondary attack during the rescue efforts. BW 34 also requested the medium lift helicopters (412) BW 126 and BW 608 respond to the scene and assist with the MEDEVAC due to the potential number of causalities involved. BW 34 would remain on scene and secure the site and protect the soldiers on the ground while BW 33 flew to the CSH with the first load of wounded soldiers.
BW 126 carrying Door Gunners Saleem A. and Andrew P., and BW 608 with Door Gunners Luigge R. and Gregg K. arrived on scene. The gunners set up a security perimeter and began loading wounded soldiers for transport. Luigge (Medic) immediately assisted Mark Y. with medical duties and evacuated the remaining wounded to the CSH.

Throughout this incident each individual performed his duties flawlessly, with the utmost concern for the wounded and the safety of all those involved. Their calm demeanor and actions prevented unnecessary causalities during the rescue efforts and saved the lives of five US soldiers.

Rescue Operation: On 8 September, 2006 at approximately 1345 hrs, Air Force Major Nori L. drove out of the International Zone (IZ) inadvertently past Check Point 12 (CP12) into the Red Zone. MAJ L. then became lost. She realized her error and tried to backtrack into the IZ. During this maneuver she was fired upon by unknown persons with small arms fire (SAF). The SAF then broke out the driver’s side window of her soft-skinned Ford Explorer. She escaped the attack and drove to an Iraqi Checkpoint where the Iraqi Police surrounded her and protected her. She called a friend in the IZ who then called the RSO TOC and gave us her number. The RSO TOC then called MAJ L. and tried to determine her location. The Watch Officer sent Blackwater Air and the TST team to search for her while she was on the phone with the RSO TOC. After an intensive search MAJ L’s Explorer was located southwest of the IZ on Route Jackson. Blackwater air evacuated her to the Combat Army Support Hospital (CASH). Her injuries appeared to be minor at that time. The Army sent out a unit to recover her Explorer.

Explosive Found: On 23 April 2006, at 1100hrs, my explosive detection K-9, Peggy, and I were assisting Hammer 4 on a mission in support of the US Embassy to Panjshier Valley PRT [provisional reconstruction team]. During this mission we were providing security for Under Secretary of State Fore. During this mission K-9 Peggy was used to search the parking lot adjacent to the PRT and the storage facility prior to the Under Secretary’s arrival. Canine Peggy showed a noticeable difference in behavior and pulled upwind towards a row of old Russian V-twin motors. Peggy started to scan the area and moved towards the center of the motors and placed her nose on a green in color object which she sourced and recognized as explosive odor. K-9 Peggy began to alert as I recognized the object to be a live RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] round. I verbally praised the canine and moved away from the area. I immediately notified our OPS, Rob C. and the TC for Hammer 4, Robert H. They both confirmed the object to be a RPG 5 with the pin removed and already fired (rendering it live ordnance). The shift leader was notified and the area was determined to be unsafe. The mission continued but the Under Secretary was kept at a safe distance from the UXO [unexploded ordinance].
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