The Fort Bragg Barracks’ officials had lofty goals around the location, as it claims it could help up to 1,200 soldiers have a roof over their heads.
In an interview with Fort Bragg, a spokesperson with The Fayetteville Observer said, “the priority is to relocate soldiers into other barracks rooms on the installation.” This was after mold, and rooms with leaking ceilings were reported last year.
Fort Bragg was built in the mid-1970s, but minimal upgrades have been done around the infrastructure since then.
“Continuous repairs and changes to airflow created higher than normal moisture levels and quality of life concerns,” the statement said. “Army and installation leaders inspected the living conditions in these barracks and (are) taking action to ensure the safety and quality of life of our soldiers.”
In their recent assessment, Fort Bragg officials said 10 out of 12 barracks “do not meet today’s HVAC standards.” However, they emphasized that there have been no reports of “health or breathing issues” from soldiers living in the buildings.
“There is a medical expert available should soldiers have mold-related concerns or questions,” the statement said. “Soldiers experiencing any health-related issues are encouraged (to) seek medical help and notify their chain of command.”
Advocate for soldiers, Melissa Godoy, said the concerns about the substandard living conditions in Fort Bragg had been raised years ago, but nobody was paying attention. Godoy said she connected with the soldiers living in Smoke Bomb Hill barracks, who said their rooms are filled with molds from “floor to ceiling.”
“[They said] mold [is] just covering every surface in their room,” Godoy said. “They’re coming back to their belongings full of mold.”
“They’re living with asbestos, severe water leaks, flooding, poor ventilation [and] no [air conditioning], so you can imagine living in North Carolina, it’s 100 degrees, peak summer, and it’s 100% humidity, and then you’ve been working outside all day and you want to back to a nice, cool room. Well, a lot of these men and women – they can’t because their A/C is broken in their whole building and so their building is 100-plus degrees.”
Compulsive, Irrational Reaction After Media Circus
Now that Fort Bragg is getting nationwide attention, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. John Wilcox has removed some 1,000 soldiers from the barracks to reportedly be displaced suddenly without offering any short-term or long-term (decent) alternatives for the soldiers.
“The relocations will be a deliberate, phased approach,” the service said. “Army leaders have committed substantial resources to address the barracks issues to ensure our Soldiers are taken care of throughout the process.”
Even US Sen. Thom Tillis (North Carolina) wrote a letter to the Secretary of Army Christin Wormuth saying a Fort Bragg soldier contacted him about their living conditions.
“It has come to my attention that many unaccompanied housing installations at Fort Bragg, North Carolina are experiencing issues due to mold and outdated infrastructure,” Tillis wrote.
Though this letter was penned back in December 2021, we’re way past the half of 2022 for Garrison Commander Col. Wilcox to say they hadn’t planned anything in advance.
“I can’t really give you a hard number on where we are as far as total cost,” Wilcox said. “Timeline-wise, well, we’re interested in doing this as fast as we can.”
In another statement from Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, it was noted that they were taking the letter “very seriously.” Lt. Gen. Donahue even said the mold found in early January was immediately addressed.
However, trending Reddit posts show how the soldiers really feel and, most significantly, how the Fort Bragg administration had (not) provided any resolution since last year.
“What kills me is those Soldiers’ leadership had to have known what was going on, and did f*ck all to correct it before big Army stepped in. If they didn’t know how their Soldiers were living, then they should no longer be leaders. There should be some very high level reliefs for cause to inspire the rest of the senior leadership in the Army to stop playing career saving [expletive] games and actually do their jobs.”
Other soldiers have also shared their first-hand experiences in the barracks:
“Most soldiers, including myself, have lived in rooms with so much mold that they’ve developed breathing issues and coughs,” user Friendfoxx said.
“One of my medics from 108th [Air Defense Artillery Brigade] got placed in there when we got back from deployment,” user Daumath said. “He wanted to go back to his tent in Iraq lmao.”
Apparently, this is how the barrack’s administration takes care of US veterans and soldiers. If you are living in Fort Bragg or you know someone who is, you can reach out to the SOFREP team ([email protected]) for an interview. Let’s help raise awareness for our fellow soldiers.