Tour of Afghanastan/Iraq as a contractor?

I’ll cut to the chase, I was curious if anyone on SRK Gen Disc had been overseas in general (like military) or as a contractor specifically. How was it? Thoughts? would you do it again? How was your family life? One of my boys is over there now, I talked with him a few weeks ago, but we only talked so much about it as he wasn’t allowed to divuldge a decent chunk of information (couldnt’ even say when he was coming home).

I’ve got a job proposal on the table that includes a 3 month stint in Afghanastan/Iraq (to be refered to as ‘over there’ for now on) and I’m trying to figure out if I should chase the oppurtunity or not. Money on the surface is good (with Haz pay it would be great), I really like the job description as R&D, but I’m proposing to my chick in a few months, talking about having kids, etc - so I’m concerned about ‘home’ with a job that takes me to a volatile region aka ‘over there’.

So does anyone have experiences they could pwn off to me?

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Lots of my friends have taken year long contracts over there. I almost did myself but decided against it in case my father (who is very old) runs into any health problems. The pay is amazing, you tend to sign up for one year at a time, taking your two weeks or so of leave halfway through. The pay is the real high point of the job - depending on where you get put, you can’t do much. Some of my friends get stuck on a FOB for the entire year with nothing to do but work out and watch movies. You come back though and most/all your pay is tax free (depends on how much you make, there is actually a cap for tax free) and everything over there was paid for (food, housing, etc) so it is a year off the grid but you come back with a large chunk of change.

That being said, if you are single, it works out great. If you aren’t, then it puts a tremendous strain on your family. I know some people who sacrifice one or two years out there and come back to buy a house in cash or throw $50k towards their kids college funds. Sacrificing now to secure the future may or may not be worth it to you.

Three months isn’t shit though. Chase that opportunity and don’t let that three months freak you out. At least it isn’t a contract for an entire year.

I know of two people who are currently over there (the one Unreal mentioned); his family (wife and 2 kids (1 a new born)) have had a rough time with him being out there. My wife talks to his wife some what regularly and its more of the kids wanting to know, “Where is daddy/When is he coming home” to which brings the flood gate of tears. I’ve talked to both friends out there, (Also Unreal…you should check FB to see when Dave is coming home…AKA…he is having a party next month…hint hint) and both have been bored as hell. One wants me to send him videogames (old PC ones with LAN connections) cause they are sick of playing C&C Generals and the other is studying for his MCSE while out there.

For me, I dont know if I would venture out there, one of my friends did it for the $$$ (he didnt have a job at the time) the other did it for a sense of duty (Ex Military).

Yeah I saw about the party last nyte…This month is killing me, and May has so much celebration in it, it ironically is killing me LOL. (Finish moving out April 30th, then TWO parties on May 1st, then Dave’s thing is the following weekend, and at the end of the month Amber has graduation for her Masters)

I guess my thing is 3 months isn’t long, but there is a good chance it would be annual, and timing with the family is the big killer…not even getting into I was trying to start school this fall. I’m actually less interested in the money and more interested in the job work itself…its somethign to wake up in the morning for…but I’d hate for my new found ‘family’ to fall apart because of it, and I’d hate to not be there for certain things. How is the actual lifestyle out there? Is it pretty relaxed despite the region?

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If your not friends with Amer on facebook, he has video of him sun bathing at a makeshift pool, him purchasing a goat (also saying it was tasty…). Seems relaxed, but then again, its where your placed and what your doing. I think both him and Dave are confined in a military base and not venturing into “hot zones”. On the real, I still question to why Dave wanted to go so bad, on one hand, I see duty to his country, but the other is that he leaves his young family. I couldn’t do it if I had plans or in the middle of getting a family together. With that said, 3 months isn’t bad, but if its multiple tours, you will miss out on a lot.

From what Martha said, I guess Dave gets 2 hours on the computer to which he talks/skypes her nightly. He leaves messages for me on Google Talk and on FB letting me know everything is ok and ask to check up on Martha and fam. We are here for Martha, as L goes and sees her and we celebrated her birthday at his families house not far from our house. Talking to Amer before he left, he said he was going to buy his mom a house when he gets back and possibly get hitched. He is over for a year, but gets 3 months off so he is going on vacation with his girl when the time comes.

IMO; with all that you have planned, this is by far the worse thing you could do time wise

Well its not known ‘when’ or ‘if’ I would even go over there, its a probobality thing…but I’m tryign to weigh all my options…the job itself is the first I’ve had a good chance at…thats R&D…and the benefits are great (private company on a gov’t schedule with them willing to pay for clearance)…so I like everything about it except the possability of going over seas, and I need to figurre out tonight if I’m going to let that stop me or not.

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If they mention it, its not a “if”; its a “when”. Might be a couple of months, but if that is already mentioned to you before an interview has been conducted, then you can bet you would be going over. Amer got shipped 2 weeks after he started…no joke. Dave knew he was going over, so unlike most things people discuss during interviews, I see “traveling oversees” as not an option you can willing decline

I say go for it. It’s a rare opportunity to get a leg up financially. One of my boy’s from back home, he did it for 6 years. He came back… bought a nice house, cash. Bought a nice car, cash. And is paying for grad school out of pocket. He left when he was 23. (after graduating from college with a bach’ degree in computer networking and security I believe) Then he took the contracting job overseas. He worked for two companies total. 2 years at the first company, 4 years at the 2nd company. Each job was a year by year contract/basis. He says it sucked at first, but as each pay check hit his bank account, it got a little sweeter.

He’s 29 now. He got back about 7 months ago. Now, he’s in grad school. Once he finishes that, he’s gonna have a fat paying job. Fat pay, plus no monthly mortgage sounds like a pretty sweet setup. He says he would do it all again in a heartbeat. There aren’t too many single people who can buy a nice house in cash after just 6 years post graduation. Especially with just a bach’ degree. (I don’t mean “just” a bach’ degree like they are worthless. I mean “just” as in “only having” a bach’ degree in correlation to a single person being able to buy a house in 6 years with cash. It usually takes a hell of a lot more than a bachelors degree to do that in just 6 years. It can take a married couple, both with degrees, almost 20 years to pay off a house.)

Now granted, the job he had paid extremely well. I’m not sure what exactly his position or title was. But he worked in the IT field while in college. Nothing major, since he didn’t have a degree yet, but it looked good on his resume. So he entered the job with almost 4 years experience already. His first year was 95K. His last year was 180K. He said when he added it all up, it averaged out to be about 140K a year for 6 years. But even if somebody ended up with a job that “only” pays 40-60K over there, you still make out like a bandit if you grind right.They pay for food and housing. (I assume this would be the case for you too, because I’ve never heard of contracting jobs where they don’t cover those expenses for you)

On the flip side, I’m sure there are people who hate it and would give you stories equivalent to nightmares. Like any job/duty/position overseas…you are bound to get homesick. It can cause a strain on your relationship/family/children.

IMO, if the only thing holding you back is fear of boredom or hating it just because you are far from home… I would do it. The money is worth it. If you don’t like it, come back after one year. At least you got a decent chunk of change out of it.

Jive Out!

Has anybody mentioned that his life may be potentially in danger? Yeah granted every job has it’s dangers, but “Over There” there are people whos sole purpose in life if to kill you and as many other people as possible.

No job is worth it when safety has to be compromised.

True. But it also depends one what he does, or the job is. Somebody doing IT work is relatively safe on a base. But somebody doing “security” work… they are going to have a higher risk of coming across dangerous situations/individuals.

Jive Out!

Yeah, there’s also the very real danger of being kidnapped.

or shot by an american apache chopper and then later covered up by the government

i was about to mention afghan is not a safe place but i was lazy. still i should’ve point it out. i regret it.

anyway come strapped and shoot anything that runs towards you.

i have a friend who is an army dude that was in the desert and he says he wouldn’t mind going back bcuz of the hazard pay. one is/was pretty bummed out about coming to korea for his last year bcuz of all the extra cash that he’d be missing in afghanistan.

another one of my boys just shipped out of here to go over to some elite ranger division in afghanistan and he’s pretty excited about it, it’s his first time going into a warzone though.

one of my frat bros was in the army and 9/11 occurred right when he was about to get out, his contract got renewed and he ended up in the invasion of iraq…he got out eventually and went to college (where i met him) but i’d say (and he would as well) that he’s a little fucked up over some of the shit that went on over there…he’s in grad school now though.

i’ve talked to SRK resident starcraft addict, ness on occasion and he’s expressed a desire to get sent over there for the combat duty pay as well.

I had several opportunities to go to places like Iraq, Djbouti, Borat country, etc. in the military or as a contractor, but I either avoided it, or the job/deployment was canceled. The feeling of extreme solitude bothers me more than safety issues. All of my friends said that the pay wasn’t worth spending several months or a year doing absolutely nothing. I’m not sure I’d agree, but the crazy pay is definitely compelling. Places like South Korea don’t get you the hazard pay (anymore; you did about a decade ago) and aren’t tax-free, but the pay is good depending on what you apply for, and you do get tax breaks as an American living overseas. Personally, I’d rather have a job at a location with a hint of civilization, instead of working in limbo for a 6-figure jackpot.

I hate the fact that they call it a tour. “…and to your left are caves full of crazy fuckas, IED’s, and bitches cosplaying Mileena.”

Do they even protect you from kidnappings? I’m pretty sure those other guys were someplace people thought was safe, til Al Qaeda rolled up and knocked on the door, collecting volunteers for a “cool video” they were making…

watch out for them suicide bombers, if you do go out there.

Is there any overseas jobs/contractors in Afghanistan/Iraq for civilians?

Sleep in the bathtub.