U.S. military personnel serving at an air base in Qatar appreciate perks like a swimming pool, gym and the chance to help defeat ISIS, but they also face 120-degree temperatures, sandstorms and – worst of all – mattresses covered with black mold and restroom facilities where broken plumbing spews raw sewage.
The issues plaguing the Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, where more than 9,000 service members and civilians live and work to support the fight against terror, have been extensively reported on by Air Force Times. But they were raised once again last week during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of Brad Carson to serve as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
“I recently learned that our airmen . . . are being forced to live in potentially unhealthy facilities and may be getting sick from black mold exposure,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who chairs the Readiness and Management Support subcommittee, said at the hearing. “Despite efforts by the local command there, and repeated requests of our airmen, the situation’s not been fixed.”
Ayotte’s staff has fielded complaints of “unacceptable” living conditions at the base, where about 100 New Hampshire Air National Guardsmen are stationed. Problems with black mold have reportedly plagued the base for years, and Ayotte said she has been told that black mold “is coming out of showers, it’s in the bathrooms, it’s in the curtains, and that some of our airmen are becoming sick and having symptoms as a result of it.”
Maj. Gen. William Reddel, adjutant general of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, told Air Force Times he saw the disgusting conditions when he visited the base last November.
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