Three truckers were among four KBR contractors killed Sept. 20 in Duluiyah, Iraq, 45 miles north of Baghdad, according to various reports.
One of the truckers was doused with petroleum and burned alive by Sunni Arab civilians, including children who threw hay onto the burning man to fuel the flames. The attack came after the convoy took a wrong turn, news reports said.
Newspapers such as Britain’s Daily Sun and The Houston Chronicle report that the insurgents attacked with rocket launchers and automatic rifles, then dragged the four men’s bodies through the streets screaming anti-U.S. slogans.
A U.S. Army officer corroborated those published reports. The officer, who decline to speak on the record, referred questions to KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton that recruits drivers for work in Iraq. Attempts to reach KBR for information on the Sept. 20 attack were unsuccessful.
Two other contractors were wounded, according to reports. American troops were able to provide first aid to the two wounded men and recover the slain contractors’ bodies but could not act fast enough to save them.
As of Oct. 26, the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq since the invasion began stood at 2,001, a number that does not include the dozens of civilian contractors killed.
As reported by Truckers News in a July 2004 cover story, some American truckers in Iraq, working for various private companies, earn tax-free annual salaries as large as $120,000. The job is difficult and dangerous, as described in Escape in Iraq, co-written by Mississippi trucker Thomas Hamill, who was seriously wounded in a convoy attack and held prisoner for 24 days.
KBR recruited drivers for work in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait at the Great American Trucking Show in August. Company spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said then it was no job for the na