Force for hire: From Army to Blackwater

Force for hire: From Army to Blackwater 1

The shadowy world of contractors is exposed by Adam Gonzales. Former Blackwater contractor speaks out about his life in the Army and transition to the contracting job and his first employment in the then relatively unknown company, Blackwater.

Adam Gonzales was an Army infantryman before leaving for a lucrative — and dangerous — position with Blackwater during the height of the Iraq war. His job was to help keep safe a man who had a $15 million bounty on his head.

His journey took him from the Army to a Blackwater training facility in North Carolina. There, the one-time Army grunt had to compete against members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEALs, Rangers and force recon Marines for a spot at Blackwater – and a $15,000 a month salary.

The job? Protecting U.S. ambassador Paul Bremer, America’s chief representative in Iraq and the man who decided to disband the Iraqi Army. Everything started with a phone call from one of the Blackwater recruiting managers who said:

“Are you interested in protecting this US ambassador? You’ll end up going to a two-week train up/assessment of your skills to make sure you could essentially shoot, move, and communicate. And you’ll be making $500 a day.”

$15,000 per month. It was easy to make a decision, according to Gonzales. He soon was en route to the Blackwater training site in Moyock, North Carolina. In the Stars and Stripes podcast, he explains transition time, Blackwater training, security procedures and a lot more.

In one part he described the first day on the job, he was on the static security side of the house. His responsibility was the security of the compound where Ambassador Paul Bremer was settled, which was not a very big place. But the palace was a giant palace, so he controlled all access in and out of the compound, vehicle access, pedestrian access. It was still wide open to attack, which is why the monthly installment was $15,000. More details can be found in the video posted below.