Civilian Contractor Comes Home

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

Everyday civilian contractors put their lives on the line to help our soldiers do their job.

This week's suicide bombing in Mosul is a harsh reality of that.

But after a year in Kuwait working for KBR, one local man says the good being done in Iraq is worth the price he paid.

It's one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

A civilian contractor driving through enemy territory to deliver supplies to American troops.

More than a year ago Snook Resident Ludwig Schnell willingly decided to go.

"At first I went over there for two things number one the money and number two to support my soldiers," says Schnell.

But Schnell soon found out, his resolve would be tested.

He worked for K-B-R, a subsidiary of Halliburton and was a convoy commander in charge of driving a truck from Kuwait to Iraq.

His convoy was ambushed six times.

"When the mortars are coming in and the RPG's are going by, bullets are flying -- It's a wake up call and you have to decide right then Why am I here? So why did you stay? I stayed because of my soldiers," says Schnell.

Schnell was among 800 drivers who were hired for the job, only 500 made the trip. After the first big ambush, about 100 civilians went home.

Schnell says in spite of missing his wife Patricia and two daughters, the soldiers were depending on him and others to stick it out.

"When you see the look on their faces. Them crying and hugging, just so glad to see you -- all the ambushes, sleeping in tents with the spiders and snakes, all of this you forget about," says Schnell.

But Patricia found that hard to do. The threat her husband faced was all she could think about at times.

"Hearing from him over there, that helped my day. 5 or 10 minutes worth of his voice would sustain me," says Patricia.

Schnell came home for good last Sunday. His contract is up but he wants people here at home to know two things: The war in Iraq is reshaping a nation, and most Iraqis are thankful for it.

Schnell will not go back anytime soon. He feels his family needs him now.

But his hope is that all Americans will see the result of the sacrifice of soldiers and contractors in the name of freedom.


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