1. Blackwater Mercenary in Iraq – Morgan Lerette Ben Buehler-Garcia 39:52

Blackwater Security Company developed quite a reputation. Morgan Lerette was a contractor with Blackwater in Iraq for 18 months from 2004-2005. His sometimes funny, sometimes tragic experience is documented in his book “Guns, Girls & Greed: I was a Blackwater Mercenary in Iraq”

Morgan joined the Air National Guard right out of high school in order to escape his small town. He became an Air Force Security Forces member and had been serving for two years when 9/11 happened.

Despite having deployed to Iraq, Morgan says he felt much like other military members at the time – he never really got to experience “his war”. Some friends suggested joining Blackwater shortly after some of their contractors had been hung from a bridge in Fallujah. However, being paid $550 per day and a chance to experience “his war” sounded good to Morgan.Blackwater

While many may believe that all Blackwater contractors are special operations Veterans, at that time there was a huge demand to fulfill government contracts. Morgan says they were recruiting anyone who could “shoot, move, communicate and get security clearance.”  After a brief two week training course, Morgan found himself in Iraq.  His say his mission mainly consisted of driving a “very important person from the safe area to the dangerous area and back.”

Morgan’s book unabashedly describes what can happen when highly paid men with no rules and no consequences are deployed to a foreign country. I would describe his book as a modern day version of “Catch 22”. There are numerous examples in his book that highlight the hopeless absurdity of our efforts to rebuild Iraq. It wasn’t long before Morgan lost faith in the idea of helping the Iraqis & just became numb to it all.

Upon his return home, he had trouble finding a “normal life”. There are no support systems for independent contractors. Morgan eventually finished his college degree and returned to Iraq as an Army Intelligence Officer with “half the pay and twice the restrictions”.

It is estimated that as many as 160,000 private military contractors were active in Iraq. We spend some time discussing whether organizations like Blackwater are a necessary evil in modern combat.

TAKEWAY: Morgan describes private military contractors like a disposable Starbucks cup. They use you and then toss you away.

American Warrior Radio tells the stories of those who protect us at home & abroad; the men and women of our military and first responder communities. Nationally syndicated via the Talk Media Network.

Ben never served in the military or wore a badge, so he considers it his duty to support those who do.