Matters and complaints related to the dilapidated barracks at Fort Bragg, covered with asbestos and mold have concerned authorities and residents for several years now. The most recent spell, however, has forced the US Army leaders to relocate nearly 1200 soldiers into newer, better housing. The Smoke Bomb Hill contains nearly one thousand barracks which look closely synonymous with unkempt college dorms, stuffed with microwave ovens and small-sized refrigerators. According to one of the spokespersons at Fort Bragg, the move is mainly due to complaints about the outmoded and obsolete ventilation systems leading and air conditioning problems for soldiers.
The soldiers were relocated off the decrepit and tumbledown barracks after their unsatisfactory living conditions became heightened with media attention. It is expected that these relocations will have a considerable influence on base operations for the years to come. The US Army soldiers, rather than being in centralized locations, will be scattered and dispersed all around Fort Bragg. Keeping in mind how about 570 soldiers have moved off base, this is also going to increase vehicle traffic in the vicinity.
Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks (www.dvidshub.net)
As the move for soldiers was officially announced, it was trailed by a thorough inspection of the living quarters and barracks near Smoke Bomb Hill. There was conspicuous evidence of derisory ventilation, air conditioning, and heating systems for the residing soldiers. The inspection of the barracks faulted outmoded tracking software, leading to General Edward Daly’s and Michael Grinston’s statements about the difficulty in visualizing the matters of mold issues in the vicinity.
The Sergeant Major and the Head of Army Materiel Command have made it their utmost priority to ensure quality-of-life to all soldiers. However, these priorities could not have been achieved according to targets due to the federal bureaucracy.
According to the Fayetteville Observer concerning the matters of relocation of the barracks, it was explained how the utmost priority for the army is to reposition and shuffle its soldiers within different rooms across the installation. It was further revealed how repeated attempts to repair the existing systems, and continual changes to the airflow led to a greater hazard for quality of life concerns, as well as higher moisture levels than usual. The installation leaders for the US army closely observed the apparent conditions within the barracks at Fort Bragg and began taking prompt action to prioritize the health, safety, and quality of life for the country’s soldiers.
The barracks which were reported to have mold were constructed around seventy years ago, back in the mid-1970s.
The reports of one of the soldiers regarding the barracks they were being relocated to highlighted the considerable improvements. PFC Austin Robertson gave ‘five stars’ to the new barracks.
Primarily due to the health and safety concerns of the soldiers, the relocation leaders have also mentioned the availability of a medical expert in case of mold-related queries. Soldiers are encouraged to report to the medical expert and inform their chain of command, should they face any health-related concerns.
The officials at Fort Bragg have repeatedly motivated the soldiers to make use of the army’s reporting frameworks to timely communicate and request their location’s maintenance in terms of mold infestation, air conditioning, or ventilation issues. They are also encouraged to provide honest and sincere reviews to the installation leadership.
Fort Bragg gives first inside look at aging Smoke Bomb Hill barracks (ABC11/WTVD/Monique John)
All reports can be made using the Army Maintenance Application regarding the repairs and maintenance of roads, grounds, barracks, and other facilities. These can be reported online through the following website: armymaintenance.com.
It is particularly interesting to note how some of the soldiers have also been provided allowances to assist them in locating houses and apartments off the post. There have been new homes and relocations for nearly 325 soldiers. This indicates that there are still 800 soldiers who have to be relocated to new places.
One cannot simply fathom the impact of this additional number of soldiers renting houses on the real estate market. It may pose a likely concern to the market, which is currently going through a severe stretch in its segment of affordable housing.
The early complaints resulted in a rather insignificant relocation effort during 2020, although the issue lived for decades.
The barracks construction project has been promised $10 billion from Congress, for the sake of construction, facelift, and overhaul over the forthcoming ten years. The barracks at Twelve Smoke Bomb Hill are expected to be demolished and wrecked in the next year. The activity is ideally five years earlier than the schedule. On the other hand, renovations at Fort Bragg and five other living quarters have been allotted $115 million and the project would be completed over the decade.
No new barracks projects are expected to be finished and finalized at Fort Bragg until 2205.
According to a spokesperson at Fort Bragg, most barracks on Fort Bragg have a mean age of 28 years. It would take nearly two years to complete twelve ongoing projects. By the end of December 2022, eight more barracks will commence renovation and restructuring.
Photo Courtesy Austin Robertson