Huntsville Mom Says Her Soldier Son Shouldn't Have Died

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Larraine McGee has lost something irreplaceable. Her son, Chris Everett, was one of 3,000 National Guard soldiers who left Fort Hood for Iraq, in January of 2005.

"On September 7th, 2005, he was power washing a humvee that was to be worked on in the motor pool. He was electrocuted by a fatal dose of electricity caused by improper grounding of the generator that powered the power-washer," said McGee.

When Larraine received the accident report, she says it listed civilian contractors as being responsible for the generator. She says the army led her to believe her son's accident was unique.

"I do remember, distinctly, them guaranteeing me- they said as a result of Chris' death, all the generators across Iraq are going to be fixed so this doesn't happen to somebody else," said McGee. "That was the only consolation I had."

For two and a half years, that helped bring Larraine peace. Until she was contacted by the New York times in April, after a soldier in Pennsylvania was also electrocuted.

"I was just floored. Especially to find out that Chris wasn't even the first, he was number four, and there have been at least eight more since then," said McGee.

The Times gave Larraine a copy of an army report on electrocution. The paper said was published a year before Chris died.

It found that "another killer of soldiers has emerged in Iraq this past year-electrocution- and it's a killer that is growing at an alarming rate."

The report also says "improper grounding was a factor in nearly every electrocution and is a serious threat for soldiers and civilians there."

"I'm very angry, the anger has taken over the grief," said McGee.

Larraine has been asked to testify before a Senate committee looking into civilian contractors. She says she'll do whatever it takes to prevent more accidental electrocutions.

"Chris should have never died like that there. His should have been prevented," said McGee.

Larraine will tell her son's story this Friday, in Washington D.C., before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

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