Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

First new civilian medal presented posthumously to Norfolk suicide bomb victim Nic Crouch

Norwhich Evening News  March 3, 2012

The first of a new set of civilian medals has been presented posthumously to a Norfolk man who died in a suicude bomb blast

But the small piece of metal carries a huge message of hope and comfort for the family of Nic Crouch.

The Civilian Service Medal recalls his service as a private security worker in the Middle East – and sees the fulfilment of a wish he penned in a poignant letter to his parents in north Norfolk in case he was killed.

After Mr Crouch died, aged just 29, in a suicide car bomb blast in Iraq in July 2010, his family received a letter saying: “If I should be killed in Afghanistan/Iraq and the media is interested, I should like them to know how I and all the other former soldiers contributed to the Great Game.

“I seek no personal glory, but many good Paras and ex-Servicemen have died supporting these operations with little or no recognition of their bravery.”

Now after an 18-month battle by his parents, who have moved from Trimingham to Sheringham since Nic’s death, Mr Crouch has been awarded the first of the newly-created Civilian Service (Afghanistan) Medals.

His father Clive Crouch said: “I am pleased we have managed to get a tick in the box for one of Nic’s requests. The medal is not just for him, but for all his colleagues, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

With more and more civilian workers doing support duties for shrinking armed forces it was all the more important to get recognition for their service, which was a far cry from the mercenary “dogs of war” that some people associated with overseas security duties.

What Nic did was “duty in a tough environment” and the MP was pleased the posthumous medal was presented at the Foreign Office this week by Alistair Burt, the foreign secretary for Middle Eastern affairs.

“Bereavement is incredibly difficult particularly when a young man is involved, and when you feel there has not been proper recognition of what your child has done. It hurts profoundly,” said Mr Lamb, who hoped the award would help the family move on.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the Queen approved the introduction of the new medal last June, which would be awarded to UK civilians who, like Mr Crouch, had “served in direct support of Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives in Afghanistan since 2001.

“It recognises their dedicated work in this challenging, often dangerous environment. Their important work is integral to the achievement of a stable and secure Afghanistan,” he added, confirming Mr Crouch was the first recipient

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March 4, 2012 Posted by | Aegis, Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric W. Hooker, Civilian Contractor, Died April 21, Iraq

Drums man working as contractor killed in Iraq

A Drums man who died in Iraq while serving as a contractor is the first civilian to have government video coverage granted for the dignified transfer of his body.

Eric W. Hooker, 41, of Clear Springs Circle, died April 21, and his body was returned from Iraq to Dover Air Force Base.

Capt. Newman Robertson of Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover could not give any details about Hooker, but did confirm that Hooker was the first civilian to have such coverage granted by the Department of Defense.

Under a policy approved by the defense department last year, the deceased’s next of kin decides whether to allow media outlets to be on hand for dignified transfers.

The next of kin also decides whether to allow internal coverage, in which media outlets are barred from attending but the deceased’s family receives a recording of the transfer produced by Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Robertson explained.

The other option, he said, is to disallow any type of coverage by the media or the government.

Hooker, according to his obituary, was a U.S. Army veteran. In Iraq, he was employed as a loss prevention manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service of Dallas, Texas.

It was unclear Tuesday how Hooker died. Messages left with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service public affairs office were not returned, and calls to Hooker’s Drums home went unanswered.

Eric W Hooker

April 21, 2010

Eric W. Hooker, 41, of Clear Springs Circle, Drums, passed away April 21 in Iraq while serving as a civilian contractor with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

Eric returned to the United States from Iraq at Dover Air Force Base. He became the first civilian to be granted a dignified transfer ceremony under a new policy from the Department of Defense.

Born in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 27, 1968, he was the son of the late William E. and Doreen (Maude) Hooker and resided in Drums for the past six years after moving from Hanover.

While serving in Iraq, he was employed as a loss prevention manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Although not currently on active duty, Eric was an Army veteran, and was also a member of the American Legion.

Eric was a member of Hazle Azalea Fellowship Lodge No. 327 of the Masons. He was a member of the Shriners and was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol.

Eric was a loving husband and father, who enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Surviving are his loving wife of the past 18 years, the former Stacey Lynn Easten; and a daughter, Paige Leigh Hooker, at home.

A celebration of life memorial gathering to share memories and stories will be held Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Beech Mountain Lakes Community Clubhouse, Beech Mountain, Route 309. There will be no viewing.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Eric W. Hooker Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o KNBT Bank, 24 S. Hunter Highway, Route 309, Drums, PA 18222.

Harman Funeral Homes and Crematory Inc. (East), 669 W. Butler Drive, Drums, is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Condolences may be e-mailed from and more information is available at www .harmanfuneral.com.

Former Conewago supervisor dies in Iraq

Eric Hooker supposedly died of natural causes while working as a civilian contractor.

By KATHARINE HARMONThe Evening Sun

Updated: 05/02/2010 08:29:40 AM EDT

A former Conewago Township supervisor and Adams County prison guard died last week while serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

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// ]]>Eric W. Hooker, 41, currently of Drums, Pa., apparently died of natural causes April 21, according to Chris Ward, of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs Office.

Hooker moved to Drums six years ago after living in Hanover where he sat on the Conewago Township Board of Supervisors for two years out of his six-year term.

In his brief time as a supervisor, before his family moved to Drums, Hooker argued the township manager had too much power and pushed for the manager ordinance to be revamped to give more authority to the board of supervisors and to allow for a variety of other changes.

Former supervisor and current Penn Township Police Officer Travis Shearer said Hooker was a “great guy and family man.”

The two met while running for the board of supervisors, and were behind the push for changing the manager ordinance.

“He put a lot of hard work into the township,” Shearer said, adding that the time got cut short because of Hooker’s job offer and move out of the area.

Shearer said their work together, however brief, brought justice and change to a few areas in the township that needed to be addressed.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act | , , , , , | Leave a comment