Before I was here in Iraq, my association with the initials KBR was with whatever bad news was reported about insider contract deals and some sort of shady arrangement that had Dick Cheney in the background like the Emperor in "Star Wars."
But here in Iraq, KBR are the initials on the red ID tag lanyards of the people that are behind all the good stuff for soldiers here at Tallil Ali Air Base. KBR people run the 24-hour House of Pain gym and make sure it is clean, cold water is available and all the various soldier-led classes are scheduled and supported. They run the weekly 5k race, they staff the cyber cafes, the free-phone rooms, the library, the rec centers, the DFACs, they fix the air conditioners, and now they are starting to leave.
In the month I have been here Brook, Jelena, and Steve among many other KBR people have helped me to find the people who run every activity the soldiers in my unit have asked about or wanted to do. The KBR folks are cheerful, helpful and really interested in making things as good as possible for soldiers. But as the KBR contracts expire and others come in to replace them, some of my favorite people are worried about their jobs. It will be a shame if the folks who most want to help soldiers are replaced and cut instead of retained. In the future I will not think of the contract lawyers at KBR, but the smiling faces who serve me food and set up Spin class.