For Arne Bjorkelo of Seattle, “Support Our Troops” means a lot more than a bumper sticker. It means living and working in the most grueling, dangerous conditions to make sure American soldiers are as safe and comfortable as possible.
Bjorkelo, a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46, and his fellow IBEW electricians from across the United States are doing electrical repair work at U.S. and NATO-occupied camps in Afghanistan.
Arne Bjorkelo, standing second from left, and fellow IBEW electricians are pictured at the Inglett and Stubbs compound at Kandahar Airfield. (Click to enlarge photo.)
“We are proud and grateful to support our troops, doing what we can to make their lives safer and more tolerable,” Bjorkelo told The Stand. (He is a regular reader.) “We ensure that electrical installations on the most remote locations are safe. Often, we are the difference between showers and no showers in this most harsh environment.”
Three years ago, military contractor KBR — a former Halliburton subsidiary — was called out for endangering U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with faulty electrical power systems installed by unqualified workers at U.S. bases. At least one military investigator believed KBR’s reckless endangerment of U.S. troops merited criminal changes.