Up to 1,200 troops will be moved from Fort Bragg barracks after an inspection found they were dangerously below HVAC standards.
Army and Installation Chiefs, including the sergeant. Army Major Michael Grinstonwho has made revamping base housing one of his top priorities, recently inspected the barracks in the Smoke Bomb Hill area of the North Carolina base.
The inspection revealed “above normal humidity levels” – conditions conducive to mold – “and quality of life issues,” a Fort Bragg spokesperson said in an unsigned email to ArmyTimes.
The base expects all affected soldiers to be relocated within the next 30 days.
“Our priority is to move soldiers to other barrack rooms on the installation to maintain unit and squad integrity,” the base spokesperson said, adding that the base is evaluating currently the availability of rooms.
All soldiers moved out of post will be moved once renovations are complete, the spokesperson added. The military will hire a moving company to help soldiers move, according to the spokesperson.
Some of the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks will be renovated, the spokesperson told Army Times, but the majority will be demolished.
Several soldiers responded to the comments of a Reddit post containing a statement from Fort Bragg on the move to complain about conditions at Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks.
“Most of the soldiers, myself included, lived in rooms with so much mold that they developed respiratory problems and coughs,” user Friendfoxx said.
“One of my doctors from the 108th [Air Defense Artillery Brigade] was placed in there when we came back from deployment,” user Daumath said. “He wanted to go back to his tent in Iraq lmao.”
Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks was built in the mid-1970s as part of the Volunteer Army, or VOLAR, project to provide better living conditions for the new all-volunteer force.
When asked if leaders would soon be inspecting other barracks at the facility, the Fort Bragg spokesperson told the Army Times, “Unit leaders routinely walk through their facilities to conduct inspections and are encouraged by senior leaders to report maintenance issues through the Army Maintenance Application (ArMA). ”
In 2020, a mold issue at Fort Bragg forced over 200 soldiers out of their barracks on short notice. But Fort Bragg is not the only military installation to have suffered from poor housing conditions.
navy time reported in February that some service members at the Maryland Navy base that houses the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center lacked hot water, air conditioning and lockable doors.
Families at Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Fort Bragg as well filed a complaint in 2021 seeking damages for mold and other issues in their privatized accommodation. And a January report from the Government Accountability Office found this almost 30% of the buildings of the Ministry of Defense had exceeded their expected lifespan.
Irene Loewenson is a staff editor for Military Times and Defense News. Originally from New York, she is a recent graduate of Williams College, where she served as editor of the student newspaper.