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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/25/2005 5:42:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/8/2005 12:46:08 PM EDT by Kharn]
See updated posted on 8 Aug, plans have changed.

I'm considering volunteering to go over to Southwest Asia as part of my job as an Army civilian employee. I want to do something like this before I wake up one day and find myself 40yo with a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog, and because I've got a sense of adventure that I havent been able to satisfy sitting behind a desk, regardless of how cool my coworkers are or how many places I go TDY to in the CONUS. Its also looking to be a great career move due to the shop I'm in, GS-13 is said to be (unoffically, of course) automatic upon return.

Has anyone done it? Did you go as part of the FAST program, or a different one? If other than the FAST, can you give the name of it?

Did they supply body armor and/or a weapon for self-defense (pistol or rifle)? If not, did you end up purchasing the gear locally, bringing from home, or just go without? How was your security handled if you went outside the green zone?

What was the pre-shipping out training like? How long were you in-theater?

Feel free to PM me if you dont want it public.

Kharn
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 6:21:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kharn:
I'm considering volunteering to go over to Southwest Asia as part of my job as an Army civilian employee. I want to do something like this before I wake up one day and find myself 40yo with a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog, and because I've got a sense of adventure that I havent been able to satisfy sitting behind a desk, regardless of how cool my coworkers are or how many places I go TDY to in the CONUS. Its also looking to be a great career move due to the shop I'm in, GS-13 is said to be (unoffically, of course) automatic upon return.

Has anyone done it? Did you go as part of the FAST program, or a different one? If other than the FAST, can you give the name of it?

Did they supply body armor and/or a weapon for self-defense (pistol or rifle)? If not, did you end up purchasing the gear locally, bringing from home, or just go without? How was your security handled if you went outside the green zone?

What was the pre-shipping out training like? How long were you in-theater?

Feel free to PM me if you dont want it public.

Kharn



I've gone over twice as a civilian contractor, once in 2003, once in 2005. I'll try and answer your questions.

1). I went over as a direct support contractor for the Army project office where I work
2). You will most likely go to CONUS Replacement Center (CRC) training at either Fort Bliss or Fort Benning. If you have a choice, request Benning. I've been to both CRC stations and Benning was clearly more organized and time-efficient. CRC will cover medical, dental, admin stuff like insurance, next of kin, ID cards, dog tags, central issue facility (CIF). Basically it's a week of ordered time where you get the things done that CENTCOM requires. Here's the link for the Benning CRC: https://www.infantry.army.mil/CRC/
3). During CRC at CIF you will be issued the items that CENTCOM requires for civilians and contractors going to SWA. This included DCUs, boot, goretex, rain gear, polypro underwear, duffel bags, kevlar helmet, gas mask and filters, Interceptor IBA body armor (same as the soldiers), etc etc. Three bags of stuff. Whether you have to wear DCUs or not - I dunno. My first trip in 2003, DCUs were a 'no-no' for all civilians. In 2005, it was pretty much required. Depends on your job I guess.
4). If you deploy straight from CRC you get to haul your 3-4 duffel bags with you to SWA and back. This is a good thing if you will be there through all the seasons, as you will get to use your fancy raingear and cold weather boots. If you only go for a shorter time, you can leave whatever home that you think you won't need. Big boy rules apply.
5). If you are going for a short time, you can go to CRC on 'attend and return' orders where you attend CRC and return to your home station. The idea here is that your organization will fly you to SWA when needed and back. My last trip we flew civilian style to Frankfurt, then C-17 into Balad, then Blackhawks wherever from there, then C-17 back to Frankfurt, then civilian back to the states.
6). As a DoD or DA civilian you will not get weapons training or a weapon unless your orders state that this is a requirement and authorized. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just not the norm for civilians over there. High-speed guys who work for Blackwater or other security companies get all the good toys, but they are not DoD or DA civilians either.
7). Security. Big boy rules apply. You will probably not leave a FOB or the GZ unless you have a really good reason. If so, you will probably get choppered around these days. Back in 2003 there was more ground movement, but there are good airlift capabilities in theater to get people moved around. Depending on where you are, you *may* get rocketed or mortared or get some small arms fire. But every place I've seen there has concrete and sandbag bunkers pretty much all over the place and they try and give warning sirens when they can.
8). Be in good physical shape, able to move your own junk in 100+F heat. People will help, but you have to be able to rely on yourself sometimes, depending on your job.

If you go, just keep a good attitude about yourself. You'll probably have NIPRNET access to send email and do instant messenger with people back home. Telephone services are available on bases to make calls, but don't count on doing it every day. Get a satellite phone if your office will buy one for you.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 6:36:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2005 6:37:33 PM EDT by Kharn]

5). If you are going for a short time, you can go to CRC on 'attend and return' orders where you attend CRC and return to your home station.
Do I/we need to go through that if we're just going to Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, or is it just for Iraq/Afghanistan? We've got some business there that I'm also trying to get involved with, I'm the new guy on the team, everyone else has been overseas before but so long ago they dont know the current way things are done for first-time travelers.

Also, what happens to all the gear at the end? Is it yours to keep or do they ask for it back at the end to reissue to the next guy?

Kharn
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 6:49:35 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 7:43:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kharn:

5). If you are going for a short time, you can go to CRC on 'attend and return' orders where you attend CRC and return to your home station.
Do I/we need to go through that if we're just going to Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, or is it just for Iraq/Afghanistan? We've got some business there that I'm also trying to get involved with, I'm the new guy on the team, everyone else has been overseas before but so long ago they dont know the current way things are done for first-time travelers.

Also, what happens to all the gear at the end? Is it yours to keep or do they ask for it back at the end to reissue to the next guy?

Kharn



For the Army, CENTCOM sets the policy. CENTCOM encompasses Kuwait. I can't say about Saudi. I *think* CENTCOM just changed policy that if you are going for less than something like 17 days your chain of command can 'certify' you for deployment as long as you can work through things like medical and dental locally.

My opinion: CRC is worth the time even if it is a pain-in-the-butt inefficient process. You will get shots that you need just to be in SWA, your DNA will be put on file, your insurance and administration will be processed, you will get the ID card you need to eat in chow halls and fly on milair. It's worth it.

Regarding gear... when you return from your deployment you are supposed to go back through the CRC that you processed in originally for 'redeployment'. Redeployment consists of taking back all your fancy CIF-issued gear and some medical checks to baseline your health now that you are home.
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 2:21:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 5:07:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:
I just submitted resumes for every single security and paramedic job KBR has posted for Iraq. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



Toss in Afghanistan too they are hiring here.
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 5:12:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/8/2005 12:45:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/8/2005 12:50:00 PM EDT by Kharn]
Well, well, things have changed.
I'm no longer focusing on the FAST program for 6mo in the sandbox in FY07, its looking like my group is getting together a team of 5-6 people to go over for 1 or 2 one-month visits relatively soon.

Do I get to choose my CRC? I've only heard mention of Bliss here in the shop, never Benning. I'll definitely have to go on attend & return orders, since we arent sure when this is going to kick off and it could be on very short notice.

Also, does anyone have a list of the gear they hand out? We've got a huge wish-list of stuff to order but we arent sure what we'll be issued when we go to CRC, such as knives, multi-tools, micro-lights, goggles, Camelbaks, Talkabouts, etc. What pouches will we (the civilians) likely find useful to have on our OTVs?

What happens to the gear that I might lose/break while over there, am I billed for it? What's the timeframe for returning to the CRC to redeploy and return their equipment if I go on attend & return orders? Its looking like we're going to be going to the sandbox on a semi-annual basis for the next several years, so I'd sorta like to hold onto my own gear.

Kharn
Link Posted: 8/8/2005 5:26:18 PM EDT
Right on that Benning CRC website is the contact information for HRC. Last time I went I just called HRC and requested a slot for Benning. Even asked the SFC who answered the phone if it was "OK" if I went to Benning. He said he didn't care which one I went to LOL.

Check out the Benning and Bliss CRC web pages, they have the gear lists. At Benning I got a shitload of stuff. It was like basic training initial issue all over again, cept for the desert. I got DCUs, Goretex, polypropylene undies, desert boots, cold weather boots, nice fancy 4-part sleeping bag.

I haven't broken anything yet but I figure you can DX while in the Box if you need to.

As far as holding on to gear, I still have the stuff I was issued at Bliss CRC in August 2003 on top of the set I got from Benning in April 2005.

So CRC seems kind of loosey-goosey on the whole redeployment thing. I go over periodically and just schedule myself for CRC every year to stay up to date.
Link Posted: 8/9/2005 3:36:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/9/2005 4:28:56 AM EDT by Kharn]
Oh, I didnt see the gear lists, thats just what we were looking for. Sure is enough stuff on there, and its kinda funny the government guys get a intrenching tool and contractors dont (same with boots, pack, etc).

Did they take your armor and helmet back from your '03 issue, or did you end up with two sets?

Are the Defense Language Institute language survival guide quick-reference cards for Iraq available professionally produced/laminated? We were sent the link to download them off the internet, but I doubt paper cards would last more than a week.

Kharn
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