Not every member of a combat effort is a soldier. Some jobs, especially those related to logistics and supplies, are handled by handled by civilians hired for the specific purpose of supporting the combat effort by performing these duties. While these jobs pay well they are inherently dangerous.
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Armies need a multitude of supplies to fight. Ammunition, food, and replacement parts and equipment are all necessary for an army to keep operating and fighting. While armies operating abroad will usually enter with these supplies, the process of an army doing what it is supposed to do burns through these supplies quickly. Consequently, to operate at peak capacity, armies need these supplies to be replaced at a steady rate. In the age of private contractors, transporting these supplies often falls to civilian contractors.
Nature of Work
When the United States is operating abroad in situations such as Operation Iraqi Freedom, the military operates in areas where hostile combatants could appear in the areas outside of United States military bases. These are the areas through which civilian contractors drive trucks of supplies to military installations. While the trucks are driving from the friendly areas where supplies fly in to the military installations, they are vulnerable to ambushes and attacks from hostile forces.
This work can be attractive to civilian truckers because of the pay which exceeds what they could make in the United States. For example, according the trucker job website TruckerTrucker, the starting pay for truckers who signed on to drive trucks during Operation Iraqi Freedom was as high as £81,250. Disrupting supply lines is a common tactic, so the trucks and truck drivers are targets. More than 900 civilian contractors were killed in Iraq as of 2010.
While the pay contractors receive while working is lucrative, they are not directly employed by the Department of Defense. They are employed by the companies to which the military contracts supply operations.The Department of Defense gives a variety of benefits to soldiers who are injured or disabled in the line of duty. During Operation Iraqi Freedom private contractors did not receive similar benefits from their employers. This led to intense hardship for truckers, and their families, who were severely injured or disabled during attacks on their convoys, but received no long-term benefits. More than 10,000 civilian contractors were seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom as of 2010.
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