Bombs Bursting In Air
The high pitched whistle of the incoming rockets filled the air. Soldiers and civilians frantically ran for cover. Warning sirens and pre-recorded warnings blared from loud speakers. As the mortars hit the area within and outside the base, flying debris, clouds of dirt, and pillars of smoke filled the air. Shouts from terrified people competed with the rockets and loud speakers. A twenty-two year old Iraqi contractor stood in disbelief as he watched the leader of the soldiers he was recently attached to sitting in the open, watching the ensuing chaos. He calmly smoked his cigar as the attack came to a close.
NCI driver trainer, Ron Wallett, retired from the US ARMY after 20 years of service and five combat tours. His last tour, he served as a combat advisor in Iraq. During this tour, a young Iraqi man was assigned to his unit. Though 22 years his junior, over the next 18 months the two became confidants. Constant enemy engagement kept the duo relying on each other more and more.
NCI driver trainee, Saif Lafta, grew up in Saddam Hussain’s controlled Iraq. All media outlets were controlled by the Hussain regime. Anyone caught with an unauthorized satellite dish would be terminated from their job with no hope of getting another one. In extreme cases, the individual would be hung. When given the opportunity to fight for freedom, Saif became a contractor who served the US ARMY.
Despite receiving life- threatening injuries during his last mission in Iraq, Ron knew Saif would be in danger once US troops left Iraq. Insurgent’s forces had proved again and again that any Iraqi who helped the Americans were assassinated. Laying in his hospital bed recuperating from his injuries, Ron began contacting influential people stateside seeking assistance in relocating Saif’s family to the United States.
Saif sought asylum in the US. He had worked closely with the US ARMY. He was aware once US troops left Iraq, his life would be in immediate danger. Saif was working with another Army unit as he began the procedure to emigrate. It was a long process beginning with securing an army recommendation. The next requirement was an Iraq police background check, multiple online forms and a passport inspection. The latter required help from the US Embassy.
Ron’s recovery time lasted three years in and out of hospitals. During this period he re-established contact with National Carriers where he had worked briefly in the past. Upon receiving his medical clearance to drive, Ron became a trainee in NCI’s driver trainer refresher program. His trainer, Ina Marinelli, oversaw his first several weeks of over the road driving to insure he was safe to drive solo. After meeting and exceeding all of the driver requirements, NCI assigned him his own company truck.
Two years later Saif relocated to the United States. During his first year in the US, he worked in the auto manufacturing industry. Feeling unfulfilled with his work, he took employment working in a hospital. Though he found the work rewarding, he longed for adventure and to discover the United States. He decided this would be an interesting job that would provide a steady income. He attended driving school and earned his CDL. While deciding which transportation company to apply to, he called Ron for advice.
When Ron received Saif’s call he immediately suggest National Carriers. Ron felt Saif would excel behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler if he received training from someone he trusted and vice versa.
Ron had met the requirements to train for NCI and Saif met the requirements to be a trainee. After attending orientation, several weeks of driving, learning paperwork, operating the on-board satellite, and servicing customers all under Ron’s watchful eye, NCI trainer manager JD Jackson administered Saif’s driving test. Saif’s goal was achieved as he completed his training program and was assigned a company truck of his own.
He now plans to travel the United States as he transports cargo on behalf of NCI. He wants to be a professional driver in every sense of the word. Whether it is being polite to those who aren’t, driving safely when others won’t, or helping others in need, he is realizing his American dream. He is now part of the “Elite” Fleet