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US Military Electrocution in Shower Accident Part of Task Force

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, stepped into a shower in Iraq in January 2008 — and it was the last action he would take on this earth.

Sergeant Maseth was electrocuted in that shower — one of many service members killed or injured by allegedly faulty electrical work in thousands of structures maintained in Iraq by a contractor. The contractor denies wrongdoing, and legal action on the matter continues.

Former Army Maj. John Cockerham now sits in a federal penitentiary — his home for about the next 16 years — having been found guilty of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from unscrupulous contractors while deployed to Southwest Asia. Master Sgt. Mark Carnes will learn of his punishment in March following a guilty plea to similar, but unrelated, charges.

While faulty wiring and deadly living conditions may seem worlds apart from a relatively white-collar crime like accepting payoffs, the common denominator linking such cases is contract fraud.

A series of such high-profile cases in recent years led to the establishment of the International Contract Corruption Task Force, which seeks to educate and inform government employees about contract fraud and violations. The ICCTF fully investigates suspected wrongdoing for criminal prosecution and is made up of federal agents representing nine different agencies, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, stationed throughout SWA, plus a supporting organization in the United States.

Story via AF.mil

NOTE:  One problem encountered in the Middle East with US military facilities constructed or managed by local workers is that they have not been properly trained on electrical codes to prevent these types of accidents from happening.  National Electrical Code International training is available for construction companies throughout the world that work on US installations, but the training isn’t always getting done.

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KBR Requests Dismissal of Law Suit of Soldier Electrocuted in Iraq

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

CRANBERRY, PENNSYLVANIA – Attorneys for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. again want a federal judge in Pittsburgh to dismiss a lawsuit by the mother of a soldier electrocuted in Iraq.

Cheryl Harris of Cranberry is suing KBR over the death of her son, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, who was electrocuted Jan. 2, 2008, while taking a shower in the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad. An appeals court refused in August to dismiss the lawsuit after KBR argued that it cannot be sued for military decisions.

The lawsuit contends KBR is responsible because it maintained the barracks where the Army says a water pump shorted out and electrified Maseth’s shower water. KBR attorneys say three Army investigations have showed no one agency or company is to blame for such deaths.

Story via Pittsburgh Tribune-Review