Richard also argued that the truckers were not soldiers. "Our drivers did sign up with the understanding of some level of hostility, but they did not expect to be in the middle of a war," he said in an e-mail.
Richard was clearly rankled. "Who in the hell determines adequate security . . . ? This is a roll of the dice. None of this passes any of these tests if you ask me," said a Richard e-mail.
He threatened to resign.
"With this decision I cannot continue my employment with KBR. . . . I cannot consciously sit back and allow unarmed civilians to get picked apart," he wrote in e-mail messages. "Putting civilians in the middle of a war is not in any contract, policy or procedure. I will not allow this to happen."
But after a long day of armed attacks on his drivers and arguments with his boss, Richard issued a terse e-mail at 10:26 p.m., employing a familiar phrase:
"If the military pushes, we push," he wrote.
Supplies urgently neededAt Baghdad's airport, dwindling fuel supplies threatened to idle two military divisions, according to the Army report. Military commanders called for 200,000 gallons of jet fuel to be rushed from Camp Anaconda.
Notes taken during conversations surrounding that decision underscore the urgency of the situation.
"Has to happen . . . 1st light has to go . . . emergency push," read some of the notes as reproduced in the Army report.
Gen. James E. Chambers, the head of Army's 13th Corps Support Command (Coscom), issued explicit orders to his officers: "Not moving critical support is not an option," he wrote in an e-mail sent before dawn April 9. "We just have to figure out how to mitigate the risks."
The orders were passed down to military units that escort KBR convoys with an Anaconda commander's comment attached: "Note the statement about convoys. They move."
But there was dissent among military command staff, too. At a 6 a.m. intelligence briefing, Chambers was told that the road leading to Baghdad's airport was too dangerous for civilians, according to Col. Ray Josey, head of operations for Chambers.
"We should just stand down," Josey said he told Chambers.
Others argued it was safe enough. In the end, Chambers ordered the jet fuel cargo to move. But he also ordered a beefed-up military escort for the KBR convoy: more Humvees, double the ammunition and an armed soldier in every truck cab.
Chambers, now head of the Army's Transportation Center at Ft. Eustis, Va., declined comment through a spokesman, citing the pending litigation. Josey, who soon after was relieved of his post by Chambers, is now retired in Texas.
At KBR the decision to move was again in doubt as dawn arrived.
In a message time-stamped 6:44 a.m. April 9 -- nearly an hour after Chambers' order -- Richard sent a message to all drivers: "No convoys are to move" between Anaconda and the military bases south of Baghdad.
The stand-down lasted only 25 minutes.