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New Info on Iraq thread, WSI/WSLLC types

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  • New Info on Iraq thread, WSI/WSLLC types

    Okay guys. The other thread has a lot of information, but a lot of guys don't want to/have time to read all that, especially with all the excess non-information posts in it. So here's a whole new thread. I'm going to start with some of the basics, the most asked about information I can recall off the top of my head, and we can go from there. Yeah, I know, what a shock. The guy who calls people idiots and losers for not reading through a million pages of BS is trying to help keep them from having to do so. Eh, I'm rolling with the tide here, and the tide says it's time for a new thread.

    I'm sure there's a lot more, but this will do for starters. Anyone else feel free to contribute, of course. However, if you were here anytime before '07 and you're not still here, a lot of what you say is probably dated, so kindly either sit back and read, or if you're going to post information, at least preface it with the dates you were here. This isn't intended to say your information isn't welcome. It's just that things have changed DRASTICALLY in just a year or so, much less over three or four years.

    I won't bother to ask for people to keep the "Hey does anyone know where Phil Muhnuts is now?" or other grab***** posts out, because I know better. But we can start clean and see where it goes.

    Without further ado:

    Pack light - For the love of God, if you don't pay attention to anything else on this forum, get this one through your thick skull. Enough clothes for 5 days in Houston. Weather varies by time of year. It CAN get cool in winter, unless of course you're Nanook of the North. Most of the crap on the packing list is worthless. ANY of it that is uniform type stuff (presuming they still haven't updated the list) you can skip. You'll get a FULL uniform issue in Houston. As for non-uniform clothing for in country, a couple of shirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts is about all you'll need. When you pack in Houston to fly to Dubai, anything over your max weight or that won't fit in whatever luggage you have, you can mail home and have someone send you if you need it once you arrive in country.

    Toiletries - Definitely enough for the time in Houston plus a couple days in Dubai. Once you get in country, you'll be at F2 (Victory/Liberty) for a week minimum. You can buy more of anything you need in the Wal-Mart--err I mean PX--there.

    The friggin' "physical agility test" IS A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not even going to waste time posting what it consists of, because if you can't pass it without any preparation you have no business being alive, much less in the fire service, period. IT'S A JOKE IT'S A JOKE IT'S A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't say it any clearer than that.

    The hourly rate for FF's is $17.79. For the first 40 hours each week (IN country), you'll get 75% uplifts, making the hourly rate for those 40 hours $31.13. That's $1245.20. You'll NORMALLY get anywhere from 84 to 112 hours per week total, depending on assignment/manning levels. Dispatch, for example is 84 hours a week. The MOST NORMAL week is 96 hours (6 X 16's). Using a 96 hour work week, after the 40 hours with uplifts, you'll then have 56 hours at $17.79, for a total of $996.24. Add that to the uplift amount, and you have $2241.44 for the week, or $4482.88 for a two week pay period, both weeks bein 96 hours. That's the gross amount, of course. I'm not gonna bother to do the tax breakdown (yes, there ARE taxes taken out even if you don't elect to have full taxes taken out, just a lesser amount), because then it gets way above Barney level.

    There is no time and a half. The only "overtime" you'll get is for the following, and all at the base $17.79 per hour:

    1) Emergency response between 2300 and 0700.

    2) Bunker time either between 2300 and 0700, or on a day off, or during your time off when you're on dispatch. Regardless of what you think, you DO NOT want bunker time pay. It means hajji is shooting at you and you or someone else on the base could DIE.

    3) Any other time you are called on to work that isn't covered by the other two. For example, very recently there was a MAJOR EVENT that occurred in country, and WSI put out word that there would be IMMEDIATE don't-play-with-UXO's training for all hands, on duty or off. The guys who were off got paid for the time they sat being treated like children due to someone else's mistake.

    I don't know what officers make per hour (it's NOT a lot more), but the uplift concept is the same.

    Don't let anyone tell you anything and say that's the way it is in country at every base. Every site has its own way of doing things, different living conditions, different daily routines, different levels of activity/down time, etc etc. It doesn't matter what your question is regarding daily life or living conditions or work routine over here. If you ask guys from 6 different sites the exact same question, you'll get AT LEAST 4 different answers, and even the ones that are the same will have SOME variation. There is no blanket answer for any question about things in country when you're talking about different bases. Things are as different from one base to the next as they are from a FD in New Jersey compared to one in Idaho. Get here, get to your site, and discover, then adapt.

    Yes, it's okay to bring a laptop. It doesn't have to be anything special or toughened or anything like that. It's not like you're living outdoors. Yeah, it's a good idea to have a huge ziploc bag to put it in when you're not using it, but if you're like most people you'll leave it out and set up. Unless you're in a tent, the dust isn't so horrific that your computer is going to get ruined.

    Odds are good you'll have some sort of personal internet access. Even if not, you'll have company computers available for use, whether in department office spaces, or probably a KBR communal internet/phone center. You're just more limited as to what you can access on the company computers.

    Come over with your expectations LOW, on pretty much everything. Tougher to be disappointed.

    HQ micromanages everything to death, WELL beyond anything you've ever experienced, no matter how screwed up of a place you've ever worked.

    There is absolutely zero tolerance for screwups. You can't make mistakes, because WSI/WSLLC/Call-it-what-you-will has probably made a rule/SOP/GMD against doing whatever you did, so you're in the wrong no matter what. This zero tolerance, combined with the micromanagement, has created an environment where even the coolest site leaders (chiefs to the real firefighting world), having gotten their peepee spanked so many times for stupid MINOR crap that happens at their bases, also have to micromanage and nitpick over stupid sh*t, at least to some extent. This extends downward to captains and lieutenants as well, just not so much. So the bottom line is that even good officers are going to have to be dumb*****es at times to survive, and the idiots who don't belong in leadership positions are going to be even bigger idiots than they already were.

    You CAN get away with breaking the rules, but is it worth losing a $100K a year job over? Three things that will get you gone quick fast and in a hurry are alcohol, having weapons of any kind, and getting caught with a woman in your room/being in hers. So yeah, you might get away with it, but you might not. Those of you who are married with kids, how would you like to go home and face your wife, telling her you lost your job because you couldn't go 4 lousy months until R&R without a drink?

  • #2
    I knew I'd come up with more as soon as I posted that.


    3 years firefighting experience (career, volunteer, military, any combination thereof)

    FF I and II

    Hazmat Awareness and Ops

    Some sort of medical training, from First Responder on up

    All certs must be IFSAC, ProBoard, or DoD. Period.

    If your certs aren't one of those three, it matters not how many years or other certs you have.

    Yes you can go to Bucks County Paper Mill and do whatever they require (i.e. write a check) and get certs from whichever certifying entity they got their rubber stamp from. Be aware that no matter how much real experience you have, if people know the certs that got you over here are from Bucks County, you will be looked at funny. It may not be right, but that's the way it is. Unfortunately for you, there have been too many idiots before you who went came over with anything from the Firefighter In A Box to Chief In A Box certs from that ****** poor excuse for a certification factory.


    • #3
      In Houston, you'll be in one of three (most likely one of two) hotels. Your whole group will be in the same hotel.

      The two most common hotels WSI folks stay in are right across from the processing center, which is in a mall. A crappy, rundown mall.

      Your meals are free at the processing center, and the food isn't horrible. It's nothing to write home about, but it doesn't suck. You'll want to go out at least one night while you're in town and get a good meal somewhere. You're going to be gone for 4 months, give or take a bit. Enjoy one last good meal. There are a few places within easy walking distance of the hotels, and plenty more in not-too-expensive-cab-ride distance. You may get lucky and be able to get the hotel shuttle drivers to take you places. You can also rent a car to get around while you're there.


      • #4
        Great postimg

        I am really looking into a year contract and just as you posted....have been reading an reading that very long post, and just as you put it alot of the info seems dated. This has been needed and I am glad you started it. It's nice to learn from others trials and errors as to what to expect and how it will most likely work.


        • #5
          Thanks. I know I forgot some stuff, but that was what came to mind that gets asked about regularly. I'm sure more will come to me or others will think of things I left out.


          • #6
            Alright I do have some input on this thread as I read the million pages on the last which was some bit informative, and other bit got some laughing out people complaining and all that crap....

            All I can say is up to the point that I am in my process, which is leaving for Houston on Monday...

            For those of you who ask the 'how long does it take' question the process doesn't really take that long as long as all your A's are in order (I refuse to use the dotted i's and crossed t's as I don't like those letters)....
            The process may take an average of 4 months from resume submission to leaving for Houston if you have all your certs in order! Only certs that are required are FF I & II on a IFSAC/PRO-BOARD/DOD level and a minimum of First Reponder!! Be prepared for a long paper work trail as it is just time consuming from packet to packet.

            For now that is all the info I have, once I go through some more of the steps I will try and get on here and throw it in, as it would be current up 2 date info...

            BTW be prepared to spend some money on physicals and shots too!!!



            • #7
              Could you tell me how long you have been over or were overseas, what was the factors you used in deciding which company to choose/work for, and your plans with your experience? I have my D.O.D FF1/2,HAZMAT Op's 2, ARFF,Ohio FF1/2 NREMT-B I am thinking about a year maybe with WSI and see what opens up there after my year, I like to finish my degree while over there and possibley come back and go DOD. Again I know this is always subject to change but sorta a current plan of attack


              • #8
                Zapper thanks for the update!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Popeye55 View Post
                  Could you tell me how long you have been over or were overseas, what was the factors you used in deciding which company to choose/work for, and your plans with your experience? I have my D.O.D FF1/2,HAZMAT Op's 2, ARFF,Ohio FF1/2 NREMT-B I am thinking about a year maybe with WSI and see what opens up there after my year, I like to finish my degree while over there and possibley come back and go DOD. Again I know this is always subject to change but sorta a current plan of attack
                  Honestly I'm getting tired of busting my butt with 2 jobs to pay my bills and stay ahead of the line!! Plus it's a dry time over there (no drinking) and I'm trying to quit drinking, and get away from partying all the time!! So I figured going to Iraq to make some money, meet some new people, some of which could be *****es and others that are pretty cool... And it's a change of scenery for me and give me a whole new appreciation for life back in the states....
                  Went WSI being the KBR is a little harder to get on with and takes a little longer as well..

                  Plus I heard you can get an awesome farmers tan there as well!!!!


                  • #10

                    fillin out my initial application from WSI right now. thanks alot for all the info you guys provide. it is very helpfull. hope to be there soon
                    strechin on a vacant, goin throughout....


                    • #11
                      good thinking zapp, thanks.
                      No person can be a great leader unless he takes genuine joy in the successes of those under him.
                      ~W. A. Nance~

                      It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
                      ~Walt Disney~

                      Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
                      ~Mark Twain~

                      Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.
                      ~James R. Cook~

                      Life don't suck. Life is what you make of it.


                      • #12
                        Zap, thank you for taking the time to give us the most up-to-date info on this life changing event for us.

                        One thing I found out yesterday from India....

                        Additionally as a part of your requirements you will need to make sure your CPR card is updated and not due to expire during your contract.


                        Your medical certification may expire in 5 years, but your CPR card is only good for 2!

                        Something to look into........


                        • #13
                          About time!

                          To those of us who mostly just read, this was along time coming. yeah the BS is funnier than heck, yall are a hoot, but to hear facts is what i think most of us are here for. Iraq sounds like a good plan for a temp fix, if you dont have good job at home, when yo get back, try DOD. sounds like most of you have more certs than the FF i work with. and with DOD the pay is very very good. i am guessing, i will ask in the a.m., but i think captains are making 85k plus (overtime is pretty regular) i am not a FF anymore, (old woman now) i am in fire prev making 65k a year. search usajobs. jobs overseas are out there, good luck to all. and to zapper, you the Man!!!


                          • #14
                            could someone post the link or number for me to contact WSI?


                            • #15
                              Use the follwing email to get started
                              [email protected]
                              Email him a copy of your resume., including YOUR contact info. If he is interested he will contact you..which is just about everyone.

                              Good luck


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