Intro and Link to Ms. Sparky’s post on her great blog site, regarding electrical failures and electrocutions of American Soldiers in Iraq: 


There were a whole lot of “I don’t  knows” going on yesterday July 30, 2008. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform conducted a hearing on “Deficient Electrical Systems at U.S. Facilities In Iraq”. The following people testified before the committee.

  • U.S. Senator Bob Casey, (D-PA)
  • Gordon S. Heddell, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Don Horstman, Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Charlie E. Williams, Jr., Director, Defense Contract Management Agency
  • Keith Ernst, Former Director, Defense Contract Management Agency
  • Jeffrey P. Parsons, Executive Director, Army Contracting Command, U.S. Army
  • Tom Bruni, Theater Engineering and Construction Manager, KBR, Inc.

I spent most of last night watching the Hearing video and going over the supporting documents. All I can say is…..what the hell??? There is so much material I can’t possibly put it all my my website. Do yourself a favor and go to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform website and if you do nothing more…..download the video… and watch it. You will be rewarded for your patience when at the end of the video…Tom Bruni, Theater Engineering and Construction Manager for KBR, Inc. blames the Army. I hope I didn’t ruin the movie for you. Click HERE for video.

Click HERE to read the Majority Staff Analysis put together by Congressman Waxman’s staff. It’s very thorough. After reading the documents, watching the video and listening to all the “I Don’t Knows” and the circle talking, these are my conclusions.

1. I determined quickly, the DoD Investigators performing the initial investigation clearly were not knowledgeable about electricity and electrical equipment when they referred to the pump motor as the “pump engine”. Thit is just one of many examples of the clear lack of understanding of electrical systems…but to me the most blatant.

2. On January 26, 2008, the Army’s Special Operations Task Force – Central, which is based at the Palace Complex, issued a report detailing the results of its investigation. This investigation is also known as an Army Regulation 15-6 Investigation. The report stated that one cause of Staff Sergeant Maseth’s death was a defective pump that supplied water to his shower. The report stated:

It appears that the water pump engine overheated, thereby causing the failure of the breaker switch, capacitor, and internal fuse which melted the wire insulation and the electrical wire inside the motor compartment. This allowed the electrical current to flow directly from the water pump through the metal pipes and into SSG Maseth.

Electrically-this entire statement makes no sense at all. Electricians….give me your opinions on this one. This is bogus all the way around.

3. The statement by Mr Hardin, KBR Chief of Services and electrician by trade

The breaker box had tar drip into it and it got in the way with the breaker and stopped it from tripping.

doesn’t make sense to me. Breakers trip thermally on overcurrent. It’s internal and works off of heat. You can hold that breaker handle to the “closed/on” position all you want and it’s going to trip on the inside. Unless the breaker has welded itself together on the inside this doesn’t make sense. So…I am going to question that electrician’s qualifications.

4. “This was an O&M Level B Faciclity” They all clung to this statement like a life preserver in an ocean full of sharks!!! What does Level B mean? I’ll tell you.

An O&M Level B Facility receives Limited Maintenance meaning No Routine Inspections, No Preventive Maintenance and No Upgrades. Notice that Corrective Maintenance on that list. So everyone on the panel was hiding behind that fact they couldn’t do anything because it had a Level B contract. First, I believe this specific task could have been repaired under a Level B contract. At the very least, to investigate and isolate the power feeding this system was clearly within the scope of this Level B contract. To Investigate and not de-energize the system, walk away and leave the existing hazard in place was clearly negligence on the part of the KBR “HVAC” electrician. To allow the KBR “HVAC” electrician to do this was negligent on the part of KBR Management. To allow KBR to do this was negligent on the part of the Commander (DoD) of that building. To not properly oversee the contract was clearly the responsibility of the DCMA.

Why was an HVAC Electrician working on a water pump and building ground issues?

Bottom line…the KBR electrician could have prevented this whole thing had he been empowered to perform work in an safe and quality manner. If an electrician did that in the States and someone died, they could be held ‘CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT”.

This is where I get back to OSHA and licensing. In the States we are empowered by OSHA. We must not perform work unsafely and there is recourse if the contractor insists on it. Overseas there is not. In the States we are empowered by our licenses. We must not do work unsafely or in violation of the National Electric Code and again, there is recourse if the contractor insists on it. Overseas there is not. THIS MUST BE CHANGED!!

Electricians and Inspectors, I invite you to read the reports and documentation. Tell me what you think?

My compliments to Congressman Waxman and this House Committee. My only comment is….why didn’t you have an electrical inspector or engineer to testify to the discrepancies in the original reports?

Get all the documents from this hearing by clicking HERE.

Ms Sparky




Much more on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearings regarding Faulty Electrical work and the electrocution of U.S. Soldiers in Iraq may be found at Ms. Sparky’s site here: