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    Posted July 10, 2014 by
    Maitland, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your stories from the Middle East

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    U.S. Contractors Trapped in Iraq Sand Storm

    This video was shot by a U.S. citizen who was hired as a videographer by a defense contractor in Tikrit, Iraq, from a place called Camp Speicher.

    At 3 p.m. a sudden sand storm blows so hard that the men take shelter in a plane that's strapped down. The skies turn black and the plane is engulfed in dust.

    The men panic, turn off the air conditioning but can't stop the dust and sand from filling the air of the small plane. Their eyes burn and their lungs burn from breathing air filled with whatever the wind blew at them from the nearby camp.

    Nearby was a burn pit and whatever the wind sucked up and blew towards the men.

    A recent news story by USA Today cites research that supports findings that link metals found in dust at a military base in Iraq to sick soldiers’ lungs.

    There are life-threatening lung, respiratory and bronchial illnesses experienced by soldiers and civilian contractors who worked in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

    Veterans have the Veteran’s Administration on their side with recently exposed negative experiences.

    Civilians, including some of the men on this plane have had to fight alone for health care and benefits that are given to them by law through the Defense Base Act.

    More than 89,204 federal employees are stationed overseas in over 140 countries.

    With extremist issues escalating in Iraq, the number of Americans working in the country for defense contractors will only increase.

    They also work in Iran, Africa and Afghanistan.

    With this will be a rise in civilian injuries and illnesses.

    Even though large insurance companies are paid to cover medical care and compensation for the ill and injured, they deny claims.

    U.S. Civilian contractors are injured--as seriously as our U.S. troops. They're sent home to the U.S., sick, injured and weak.

    They are in no position to beg for the care they need. This is why awareness for these problems is so important. If soldiers are denied medical care, imagine what the average American has to do to get the care they need to survive, recover and care for themselves and for their families.

    Don't forget our shadow troops, our U.S. fallen heroes. Garfinkel Schwartz, P.A., with offices in Maitland, FL., and Titusvile, FL, defend these brave men and women.

    Find out more about the Defense Base Act law and share this information with those who can expose this problem.

    As wars continue, the need for civilian contractors will continue particularly when U.S. troops have pulled out of a country.
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