Local News

Many Willing To Go To War-Torn Countries For Jobs

Posted October 7, 2004

— Going to war-torn countries as a civilian contractor can be a dangerous job. Just this year, four contractors from North Carolina were killed. Despite the danger, people still want to head overseas.

Soldiers come to job fairs like the one being held Thursday at Fort Bragg. More than 100 employers at the job fair are sorting through more than 2,000 potential employees.

Of all the employers, one of the most popular is KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Halliburton offers big bucks for its workers.

"The average range for our positions are between $80,000 and $100,000 per year," said Cathy Gist, of Halliburton.

Lance Womack is like many soldiers retiring from the military. He needs a job and does not mind working in Iraq or Afghanistan. Womack said he currently makes $24,000. He talked to Halliburton and came away confident.

"I have a top secret clearance and I'm pretty sure they could use that to my advantage and also to theirs, so I know it'll be a whole lot higher than what I'm getting paid now," he said.

Still, there are risks. Halliburton suffered a number of casualties this year. Company representatives will not discuss how they protect employees, but they said just that workers need to know what they are getting into.

"We're very graphic about it, very realistic about it," Gist said.

Some 600 soldiers retire from Fort Bragg each month. For many, the jobs pose a tough choice between the right price and the wrong cost. Earlier this year, the violence got so bad that some companies suspended operations in Iraq, including General Electric and Siemens AG.

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