Iraq Transition

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    Hello all-
    Interesting discussions; glad I found the site.  I am currently working in Iraq, and as I am tired of getting shot at, I applied for a position as a Scheduler/Estimator via Raytheon’s web site.  I understand this position is a year-long one at the South Pole station rather than McMurdo.  Pretty harsh environment I know, but it can’t be worse than here (Mosul area).  Would anyone be able to tell me how long the hiring process is?  Obviously, I can’t just get up and leave here in an instant (travel here is unbelievably difficult).  As a military contractor here, I have a pretty good idea of what sort of facilities and living conditions the job offers.  Anyway, I’ll be sitting here until (or if) I hear from Raytheon.  The pay here is enormous, so I can stand a bit more of it 🙂


    Hi Wendy. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months. I do not know how hard it would for you to get your physical and dental checkout where you are or when you would get the chance to vacate for a week to have it done but it seems thats probably the hardewst part, the forms are a pain of course but they can get to you easily enough. My first year took me 6 weeks to get done and ready to deploy, this year took 4 as I knew what was in store. Some have taken months and I know some who have missed the season because they had the wrong papers, they forgot to send something or the tests or forms were lost in transit. Lots of factors, especially if you are filling them out where you are so expect to hear from them, but not immediately. Its like all other companies, sometimes things go wrong. The season is about over now until August and so you have time to get ready to travel here if you get the contract. I believe we are shutting the station down for flights in 5 or 6 weeks and thats when winter begins which means thats when it becomes isolated completely unless there’s an emergency medivac.
    Your current position should count well in your favor as they like people who can live without too many creature comforts while working. Many of the polies who are wintering are here for R and R right now and they paint a glowing picture, mostly I have heard that if you can handle altitude there should be no trouble being there and you get acclimatised quickly.
    Hope it helps, keep in touch if you need anything else.


    I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get this job; I imagine it’s much the same with Polar Services.  I had to do the medical, psych eval, and chemical/biological warfare training (that was a joke).  Plus loads of paperwork.  My contract ends in July, so maybe I can transition straight over.  If not, I’ll do another year here- it’s ten grand a month tax free, but this has got to be the most dangerous place in the world.  Working here is very much a game of russian roulette.  If Raytheon gets back to me before the end of my contract, I’ll follow up on it- time will tell 🙂


    Well Wendy….im not sure anyone filled you in yet as your thoughts of pay
    with Raytheon. Your going to need paddles when you see your first
    paycheck….its that bad. You may be paid quite well in Iraq but be
    for-warned….pay is quite low with Raytheon. I think they feel its a
    financial Bonus with the experiance and sights (limited as they are) that
    compensates for a good paycheck. Sorry to burst any bubbles here.


    capn steve

    >From: “MN-Sparky”
    >Reply-To: “Antarctic memories”
    >Subject: Re: Iraq Transition
    >Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 12:12:12 -0800
    If you add all the overtime ie 6 days a week and 9 hours a day you are going to find out that you are only making minimum wage here. Also you will have to pay all taxes on your money. They give you a bonus (a joke) and they hold it over your head for what ever you do. My suggestion is to stay where you are unless you want a beautiful experience.

    Capt’n Steve


    Wendy, you aren’t going to get rich here the same as you would at mozul. You probably aren’t going to die and you almost definitely won’t be shot at. The winter season from Feb to August is happening now and you won’t be hired now.
    The next opening will be WinFly from the end of August to the beginning of October. A small contingent of early workers come in during that period to get things going for the big summer season.
    Summer, or Mainbody, as it’s know here starts in October and goes to Feb. We have a thousand people here at any one time and is the most likely spot you would end up in.
    For most people I tell them to go the April Job fair in Denver. Not that you can’t do it over the phone or by mail or internet, plenty do, It’s just that you get to meet the people doing the hiring. That sometimes gives an edge if you are qualified for the job you are applying for.
    Good luck on your quest and stay safe. By the way I have a friend named John Harris who  I believe might be in your area . I can’t remember if he is in Tikrit or Mozul.He might be a carpenter. If you meet him ask about the ice and tell him Mike Poole says Hi.


    Hi Wendy,
                      This is John Harris, and Mike, I’ve moved to FOB Summerall near Bayji.  Hope all’s well.  Wendy, as someone who’s been both places I’ll tell ya that as far as living conditions, food, and safety are concerned Iraq is a paradise, however if it weren’t for the money I’d be on the Ice right now.  It may be the continent with the lowest population, but that small transient population is the most highly concentrated group of exceptional human beings on Earth.  Good luck.


    Hey John,
    How did the elections go from your end?  I have to say I’ ve been a little worried about you, but you do seem in good spirits. Thanks for checking in and letting us know that things are ok. We are at the start of ship offload. Half of supply went to nights. It looks like I’m running the galley pad unloading area this year. Should go ok. After offload I leave the freezer and food warehouses for 121 electrical. They are doing the power plant upgrade this year so I imagine things will be busy.
    John is right. There is amazing collection of people here. My story is that my whole life I’ve dreamed of hiking the AP trail from Georgia to Maine. In my entire life I only met one person who had done it and that was while sailing in French Polynesia.
    I came here and sometimes I think I’m the only one who hasn’t.One guy here has done the whole thing seven times. Go figure.
     Half the people leaving here will be traveling to the most exotic places on earth and they don’t think anything about it. Just the fact that you are in Iraq probably means that you are going to fit in well down here.
    good luck

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