Minnesotan working as security contractor killed in Iraqby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
Another Minnesotan has died in Iraq. Bill Juneau of Rush City was working for the government contractor Dyncorp. The company says he was killed Monday when a bomb exploded near his convoy.
Minneapolis, Minn. — Dyncorp spokesman Gregory Lagana says Bill Juneau, 36, was working under a State Department contract training members of Iraq's police service.
Lagana says Juneau was about 50 miles southeast of Baghdad when an improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated near his vehicle.
"Much of our training is done in mobile training teams with the military -- with military MPs. And they were in a rather large convoy with the U.S. Army and Iraqi vehicles -- Iraq police vehicles going to a training mission when his vehicle was struck by an IED," said Lagana.
Lagana says Juneau was taken to a military hospital where he died from his injuries.
Dyncorp says it employs about 700 civilians with law enforcement backgrounds in Iraq.
Juneau began working for Dyncorp in 2006 after a four-year stint with the Chisago County sheriff's department. He got his start in law enforcement in the small southern Minnesota town of St. James in the mid-'90s.
St. James Police Chief Mark Carvatt worked for the sheriff's department then. Carvatt remembers Juneau as an easygoing guy who was well-liked.
"Not only did I know him with working with him, but also off duty we would hang out every so often, and were good friends," Carvatt said.
Carvatt says he last spoke with Juneau just weeks before he left for Iraq.
"I remember the day he called right before he was accepted and went in back in 2006. And one of the things I asked Bill is, 'Are you sure you want to get into something like that?' And you know that fact of the dangers that were involved weren't even on his mind," Carvatt said. "His idea of going over there was to help people out, and help that country out. And that's really how Bill was."
Carvatt says news of Juneau's death shocked him. He says ultimately it was the prospect of new experiences that attracted Juneau to Iraq.
"It kind of came down with the adventure, with all that was going on and, again, wanting to help people over there ... the danger part was never in mind," said Carvatt. "It was just looking for something new, something to be a part of, and something where he thought he could help people out over there."
Bill Juneau is the 65th person with close ties to Minnesota to die in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Co-workers say Juneau was divorced and had no children. He is survived by two siblings and his father, Mark Juneau of Duluth.
- All Things Considered, 11/27/2007, 5:55 p.m.