- Scott Helvenston
Stephen "Scott" Helvenston (
June 21, 1965– March 31 2004) was a former United States Navy SEAL, and worked as a security contractor for Blackwater Securitywhen he was killed in the infamous 31 March 2004 Fallujah ambushwithin days of arriving in Iraq.
Helvenston was formerly a personal trainer for Hollywood celebrities such as
Demi Moore(for " G.I. Jane"), and was also featured in the reality shows " Combat Missions" and " Man vs. Beast", in which he completed an obstacle course faster than a chimpanzee. Scott also stared in a reality series called "Extreme Expeditions: Model Behavior" months before he left for Iraq. The series was shot in Mexico and is finished; but has not aired yet. His great-great-uncle was Secretary of War Elihu Root.cite news
title=Blood Is Thicker Than Blackwater
May 8, 2006]
He joined the Navy at 16 with special permission, and thereafter became the youngest person to complete Navy SEAL training (at age 17). He spent 12 years in the
Navy SEALsuntil he left in 1994.cite news
publisher=Primetime, ABC News
title=Mothers Say Mistakes Led to Fallujah Tragedy
date=April 7, 2005]
Helvenston began training at
Blackwater USA's facilities in March 2004, and developed a personal conflict with head trainer Justin "Shrek" McQuown. Helvenston arrived in Kuwaiton March 18, where he was under the management of John and Kathy Potter, whom he knew from "Combat Missions".
Employee John Potter had helped Blackwater win the contract to provide security for kitchen equipment convoys for the Kuwait company
Regency Hotel and Hospital Companyand Eurest Support Services(ESS was a subcontractor of Halliburton KBR). The contract billed Regency $815 a day; Helvenston and the other contractors were paid $600 a day.
The original contract called for at least three men per vehicle on security missions "with a minimum of two armored vehicles to support ESS movements." In addition the contract called for a heavily armed rear gunner, and time before any mission to review the route and conduct a risk assessment and pre-trip inspection.
Blackwater signed a revised contract with Regency on
March 12, 2004 that removed the word "armored". Potter insisted that his men be given armored vehicles, however, and was removed as project manager on March 24, replaced by Justin McQuown.
March 27, two days before Helvenston's scheduled deployment to Iraq, McQuown reassigned him to a team leaving on the 28th, over the objections of numerous other Blackwater employees. Helvenston believed McQuown resented him and deliberately reassigned Helvenston at the last minute. In one of Helvenston's final emails before his death, he wrote to the owner of Blackwater, claiming McQuown's behavior was "very manipulative, duplicitive [sic] , immature and unprofessional," with the hidden agenda "Lets [sic] see if we can screw with Scott."
March 30, McQuown sent Helvenston out with three other contractors, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, to guard a convoy for ESS traveling from Baghdad to a military base west of Fallujah. They were in two unarmored vehicles and had no map.
Helvenston's team got lost on the way to the base and spent the night of the 30th at a Marine outpost outside of Fallujah. The next morning,
March 31, they set out, intending to travel directly through the city. Iraqi insurgents ambushed the convoy. [ [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/contractors/highrisk.html frontline: private warriors: contractors: the high-risk contracting business | PBS ] ]
The four contractors were killed with grenades and small arms fire, their bodies dragged from their vehicles, beaten and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets. Helvenston's dismembered torso, along with that of one of his colleagues, was then hung from a
bridgecrossing the Euphrates.Fact|date=February 2008
Photos of the event were released to news agencies worldwide.
The families of the four slain contractors, led by Helvenston's mother Katy Helvenston-Wettengel and Donna Zovko, Jerry Zovko's mother, filed suit against Blackwater with lawyer
Daniel Callahanon January 5, 2005 (" Helvenston et al. v. Blackwater Security") alleging wrongful death.
The suit alleges that Blackwater repeatedly made decisions that made the deaths of the contractors more likely in order to save money. These alleged decisions include not buying armored vehicles to save $1.5 million and removing the employee, John Potter, who complained about that action; and violating the contract by not sending out a six-man team with rear gunners and conducting a pre-trip risk assessment.
The suit further alleges that McQuown intervened and ordered only a four-man team be sent, although six were available, the other two remaining to perform clerical duties.
Blackwater countersued for $10 million. The suits are pending.
* [http://www.sealtraining.com/ Scott Helvenston's personal workout video website, now maintained by his family]
* [http://www.realitytvworld.com/index/articles/story.php?s=2437 Description of Helvenston's reality show career]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0375893/ Scott Helvenston] page on
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/ Private Warriors] - PBS Frontline
* [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/20/1340246&mode=thread&tid=25 Blackwater in the Crosshairs: The Families of Four Private Security Contractors Killed in Fallujah File a Ground-Breaking Lawsuit] -
Democracy Now!coverage April 20, 2006
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Helvenston et al. v. Blackwater Security — is the lawsuit for wrongful death filed by the families of the four contractors for Blackwater Security who were slain in the 31 March 2004 Fallujah ambush [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/17/news/iraq.php?page=1 Iraqis revoke license of… … Wikipedia
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