Our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have plenty to worry about while out in the field, but according to a recent report issued by the Department of Defense, they have too much to worry about back on base, too. Worries include faulty showers that electrocute soldiers who are merely trying to wash off the grime from a hard day’s work, all due to the alleged shoddy workmanship of a military contractor.
According to the Pentagon report, some of the faulty showers and other electronic malfunctions are the fault of KBR, a military contractor who has been awarded $83.4 million taxpayer dollars for its electrical work in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a decorated Green Beret from Pennsylvania, died after being electrocuted in the shower in his Baghdad headquarters, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, in January 2008. Masseth’s family is suing KBR, alleging that they did not properly ground and inspect electrical equipment. In Maseth’s case, the contractor is also accused of failing to properly ground the water pump at the building and then failing to report the improperly grounded pump during later follow up maintenance inspections.
According to Maseth’s mother, Cheryl Harris, soldiers in Afghanistan are also complaining of electric shocks suffered in showers. The DOD report, in fact, found that KBR’s work throughout Iraq was of poor quality, and named 53,000 sites in need of upgrades or repairs.
Democratic senators Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are also involved in the case and, according to CNN, calling for $83 million in bonus payments paid by taxpayers to KBR to be paid back.
“I want them to tell us on what basis can they possibly continue to justify having paid $83 million of the taxpayers’ money for shoddy work that resulted in risk to our soldiers,” Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota told reporters Friday. “The question for us is, when will there be accountability — accountability that requires contractors to measure up? And how do we get that from both the Pentagon and contractors?”
KBR has responded with a statement saying “The safety and security of all employees and those the company serves remains KBR’s top priority.” The company will no doubt point to further Pentagon findings stating that the Army did not report improper work or set proper electrical standards for contractors.
Stay tuned to this spot for further information on dangerous products and shoddy workmanship affecting our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, if you or someone you know has been injured or made ill as a result of using a defective product, you may have legal recourse. For a thorough investigation and caring, aggressive representation, call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 for more information.