Where are the NCOs? Where are the LEADERS?

| September 22, 2023

The Government Accounting Ofice (GAO) went to 12 military posts to look at base housing.

Pests such as bedbugs and roaches were a common issue at six of the bases that the GAO visited. Several bases had severe issues with security in the buildings, to the point that service members said that they were unable to lock their doors at night and squatters had moved in.

The GAO concluded that leaders at the Pentagon are not only failing to provide oversight — instead choosing to largely punt the issue to the branches — but they also don’t consider it a priority. The result has been bureaucratic finger-pointing, with no one office or leader willing to own the issue.

Excuse me, but WTF, over?

While it is unclear exactly how many troops now live in substandard barracks, the report says that “at least thousands of service members are affected.” The Navy and Marine Corps reported to the GAO that about 5,000 sailors and 17,000 Marines lived in substandard barracks as of March.

At five different bases, service members told investigators that they had problems with water quality in the barracks, with one group reporting that their water “is often brown and does not appear safe for drinking.”

One base had to shutter a barracks building because its plumbing had become a breeding ground for Legionella — the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a condition that kills one in 10 people affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When investigators asked about other barracks on the base, officials said that they didn’t run water tests on them because they were not required to do so.

One base had to shutter a barracks building because its plumbing had become a breeding ground for Legionella — the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a condition that kills one in 10 people affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When investigators asked about other barracks on the base, officials said that they didn’t run water tests on them because they were not required to do so. (emphasis added – ed.)


At three installations, officials told the GAO that “service members are generally responsible for pest control, or for removing hazardous material from barracks, such as mold and sewage.”

Barracks managers at multiple bases said that they had to organize “working days for service members to repaint external or internal walls, replace ceiling tiles, or clean up significant sewage overflow.”

In one of the most extreme examples, one installation told officials that “service members are responsible for cleaning biological waste that may remain in a barracks room after a suicide.”

But of course the services claim the bases’ housing is just fine.

How conditions in the barracks were allowed to deteriorate is partially the result of the military’s hodgepodge of evaluation systems, metrics and standards, which has made it difficult for leaders to know how bad conditions truly are in some locations, according to the GAO.

As an example, investigators toured one barracks that was deemed uninhabitable yet at the time of its shuttering, “its condition score was above 90, according to service documentation.”   Military.com

I’d continue to beat on the chain of command – ‘cuz the NCOs involved are obviously not doing their jobs, nor is their entire officer chain of command – and I know that much of the “leaner, meaner military” we have now is because many of the duties formerly carried out by military housing offices and such has been farmed out to civilian contractors who staff chow halls, maintain the buildings, etc.  But where is the accountability? This should be grounds for massive non-performance penalties at minimum. Not to mention relief for “lack of confidence”.

Wonder how far the $80 million per for the F-35s would go to handling this – especially if you get some grizzled  REAL NCO ramrodding the civilian workforce.

For that matter – wouldn’t it be nice if a few pointed question on THIS showed up in Chuckie Schumer’s confirmation hearings?

Category: Pentagon

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Just another issue that’s gonna keep those potential recruits pounding on the recruiters’s doors begging to be let in!


Plenty of housing for illegal aliens.


And plenty of $ for The ‘Kraine…and Iran…and proxy wars…and…and…and…and…

Wanna fix all the problems in the Military? Have Kongress Kritters live in the same conditions…with the same pay, health care, ect…


I’ve said the same thing since I was in from ’65-’69. AND pay the kongess kritters the same pay as I did, $105 per month. Military transportation.


You don’t need to even involve Congress. Getting the officers to do it just might motivate them to do what they boast is a sacred part of their officerness; take care of the troops. You have probably heard (ad nauseam) their creed; the Mission, the Troops, then yourself.


Congress controls the $. I really don’t expect them to spend it wisely since they have been confiscating our earnings since the 19teens and we are 32 TRILLION $s in debt. Yet they are all filthy rich with ill gotten gains. That’s why they hated Trump so much. He was already rich and couldn’t/wouldn’t go along with the continued rape of this country.

The ossifer’s (NCO’s) creed? For the most part, from what I read here, other milblogs, news feeds etc, that creed has gone to Hell in the same handbasket as the Country. Ticket punching, CYA, and “mememememememememememememe all about mememememememememememememe” is their creed now.

A real leader will look after his/hers’ troops FIRST (ht 2 CW), knowing that well looked after troops will look out for the mission AND that Leader.


Nope. The Governor of NY went on TV yesterday and told the migrants that NY was all full up, don’t come here, file your BS asylum claim in your home country, don’t come here, we ain’t putting you in the hotel anymore and don’t come here. She wants to repeal the “universal housing act” because apparently they didn’t mean the “universal” part.


Hack Stone

So, we’re not doing the “Diversity is our strength” thing anymore?


I joined up in 1980, and this issue has been around, as long as I’ve been in. I like to think that during that time it was only in pockets, but I sure ran into some really shitty barracks in the Navy. All came down to the people (I won’t say leaders) responsible for their upkeep didn’t give a shit and many times the occupants just ran riot over these places.

Stayed in a barracks at the sub base in San Diego when I was a PO2. Disaster. When I checked on board the sub I was going out on, if you were a “non-qual puke” your accommodations were filthy mattresses thrown ramshackle on the deck in the bomb room.

When I reported to NAS Barbers Point in 1984, I laughed when they showed my wife and me the housing they wanted to put us in. “On the verge of falling down” is a kind description. And the funny thing is that just down the road was solid, decent housing. Guess this PO2 didn’t rate.

As a LCDR in Hawaii in 2001, the first house they showed us was being held together by layers of paint. When I said I would like to see the BRAND NEW houses just down the street, the answer was, “Oh, you want to see those?” Huh?

More stories to be had, but I made my point.


Officer/NCO busines priority’s,


Oh, gee, the uncomfortable mandatory fun after which drunken sexual harassment/abuse and other career affecting “dirt” happens… I’ll miss it SO much. /sarc (or should I say “…Not!” instead?).

Hack Stone

Dat’s a good one.

Hack Stone

Whatever happened with that whole “Maui” thing? It seems to have been pushed out of the news cycle to address the current migrant crisis that is occurring even the the Biden-Harris Administration is saying the border is secure. So, did the rebuild Maui already and everything is back to the way it used to be?




In the early 2010s, the Army adopted the First Sergeant’s Barracks Program, placing the maintenance and upkeep of barracks back on the NCOs, as opposed to Garrison staff. The problem was that newer barracks were built to non-military standards, being more of an apartment complex than traditional military barracks with controlled access and a CQ desk. 4th (now 2nd) BDE, 3ID had these on their compound. The rooms were nice, with washers and dryers in each along with a stovetop and the amenities previously outline by the 1990s barracks standards. As a SSG on BDE staff I’d pull CQ on occasion, and we had a makeshift desk at one end of the corridor. Problem was, the stairwells were outside on each end of the building, and we had little interaction with those coming and going. One of our battalions had a Soldier who’d killed one of the alligators, dragged it up to his room, and skinned it in his bathtub. CQ was oblivious until someone called the MPs about an obvious blood trail leading to a room.

I was effectively point man for MDW’s “Housing Crisis” in 2019. I had to brief the CG weekly in the Housing Update Brief (HUB) and then got roped into the Senior Leader Update Brief (SLUB), where I got to sit in the room with a bunch of COLs and initially the CG, Deputy, and/or CSM to listen to the Director of the Army Staff (DAS) discuss the Army-wide issue.

I worked in Building 47 during my first Old Guard tour. The barracks were built in 1903 and we had a brown recluse infestation, along with the usual issues. When I reported to Hotel Company in 2018, the barracks on Fort Myer were worse than I ever saw on McNair, despite the latter being deemed uninhabitable after Alpha Company moved to Myer.

It starts with a first-line supervisor but ends with DPW, Garrison, and outside contractors working together to ensure quality-of-living standards. Soldiers can’t be expected to be plumbers, drywallers, painters, electricians, etc.

Prior Service

As a TL and SL in TOG, I walked rooms every morning circa 89-90. The barracks had lots of paint but were doing well. I think the missing element is first line leadership in the rooms daily. Not to be stupid but to be involved.


Truth in memes.

OIP (48).jpg

“being more of an apartment complex than traditional military barracks…The rooms were nice, with….”

All part of the wondrous advantages of an all-volunteer military. Must attract all those young, and dare I say immature, kids who have never lived on their own by making their lives as close to civilian standards as possible so as not to discourage them.

“Soldiers can’t be expected to be…”

That depends. Fresh out of high school, yeah, but they can (and should) be expected to be able to clean & maintain and not abuse their quarters, even painting. Older recruits can be expected to have acquired some civilian skills including basic plumbing, etc.


I was “that guy” for much of my time in, doing unauthorized but necessary work on the facilities on Myer and McNair, and essentially being R&U as a Drill Sergeant. Hell, before I left the Trail, my CSM had me working on two older John Deer mowers. I got the six-year-old one running but ran out of time trying to fix the 12-year-old one.

USMC Steve

I recall during the Obama regime the privatization of military housing, and it is now being run by civilian corporations, who are not at all accountable to the government or the military. That might be why the base housing around the Lejeune area is still pretty much totally fucked after that hurricane several years ago. Bet old Homey da Klown got rich off the deal though.

pookysgirl, WC wife

Yep, and the contractors don’t care about anything except the bonuses they get for ripping off military members because BAH doesn’t pay for much of the salary they want. $900 move-out fee because the inspector was allergic to cats and “could smell them” before he dove outside, even though it was standard procedure to replace the carpet and paint when a tenant moved out after being there more than a year. They’d threaten to charge you for lawnmowing too even if you were deployed and your unit was already doing it weekly.

Oh, I got stories…


I have dogs. Tried to do my first and only government-procured move from off-post housing last year, and had the contracted movers come in, see the stuff we’d already moved, and tell me to move a few things so they could bring in packing materials. But first, they saw the dogs and told me I need to “put those things outside”. I went to a VA appointment an hour later, only to have the wife call and tell me that a supervisor from the company and a representative from Fort Belvoir were there. It “smelled like dog” and the movers refused to do their job, so instead I rented a 26′ U-Haul like I normally did and moved everything myself.

I always lived off-post, whether a ghetto apartment, trailer park (shout out to Happy Acres in Hinesville), shotgun shack outside of Pembroke, GA, converted cotton mill in Columbus, GA, or the custom-built (in 1979) house I bought in 2009 and am sitting in now. There’s a reason (mostly gun registration) why I never took on-post housing. Looks like the .gov and .mil are doing what they do…

pookysgirl, WC wife

I do wonder how long that particular contractor is going to stay in business if they refuse to work in a place with dogs, since that’s at least a third of America.


I remember seeing barracks at Norton being remodeled since it wasn’t in the budget for “NEW” barracks. Strip the building down to the studs, leave the roof on and begin “Remodel”.
After it was remodeled, they would come back later and put a new roof on.

I always wondered what the cost differential was.


How are squatters even getting on base. Is there mo MP/SP manning the gates? Are there no CQ’s in the barracks any more in case private snuffy locks himself out of his room? Apparently there are no barracks inspections performed by some junior officer and an NCO following him/her around.

As far as Chuckie goes, he will want to do an investigation to corroborate what the GAO just laid out. After he gets his way on promotions and such of course.

Grizzled NCO`s? Are there any left? Would any senior NCO have their back? Officers? Or would they be immediately enrolled in some class to be trained in the new military. Feelings and all. Be taught to sing the lumber jack song.

pookysgirl, WC wife

How are squatters getting into base housing? Well, a lot of “base housing” is moving off base! Bases aren’t expanding in terms of square miles, and with more room needed for bureaucratic nonsense-I mean, essential administrative functions-there’s less room for military families. The average age for enlistment is not going down, and that means Pvt. Snuffy is joining with a Mrs. Snuffy and probably a Jr. Snuffy too.


I got out in 83, and it wasn’t really an issue for on base housing at that time. They did offer to pay me to move out of the barracks, and i along with a couple of friends took them up on their offer.

Good times.


Here they are… these folk or their buddies are probably at least E5s by now these days:


Professional squatters.


Professional Ho Ho-eaters…

A Proud Infidel®™

Ones who ride the EO/DEI gravy train at every opportunity.


Where are the NCOs? Where is the leadership?
Well most of them are sitting in their HQs buildings with their hands tied. Thanks to the new kinder, gentler Army standards you can’t inspect your Soldiers living conditions any more… well you can request it, but they can deny it (yes you heard that correctly the Soldier makes the final decision). Leadership does not own the barraks any more, now it is a contactor who rents it back to the Soldier. My question is why are we not holding the contractor responsible for the condition of “his/hers/its” buildings?


“…well you can request it, but they can deny it…”

Seriously? LMAO!

I did a couple of “health and welfare” inspections when I was a CPO. You would not believe the shit we found. One Marine Sgt living in our barracks was nervous as a cat, so obviously he was hiding something. When I finally got to his room, he fessed up.

“Chief, I gotta admit it. There’s a woman in my closet.” I looked at him like “REALLY?” and just told him to open the door. Sure enough there she was in all her naked glory.

Actually, we all had a good laugh about this AFTER the inspection. Pretty sure he got a slap on the wrist from his boss. At least it wasn’t a naked guy!


Lol. I’m sure retelling the story now brings a big grin to your face, as well as all involved wherever they may be when they think about it.


I was thinking blow-up doll but really?


LOL! Yup, she was real. Attractive woman, too. I was tickled most by how she was crouched at the bottom of the wardrobe, her face buried in the quilt she was holding. Maybe thinking that if she can’t see us, we can’t see her! Seriously, she was totally embarrassed.


Not the Walk of Shame, but the Crouch of Shame…

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Dare I say, Crotch of Shame?

Bada bing.


I bet she didn’t date that guy again. I’m sure she wasn’t in any kind of mood after that either.


Sounds like doing staff duty in Germany after some lucky kid had brought three (3) women back to his room from the club and I checked their IDs left at the desk: “Sorry, dude; the Norwegian and the German are okay, but the Russian has to go.”


Dave isn’t gonna like that

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

“There’s a woman in my closet”
NCO “Really? Let me see” (door opens) “Well done. We’re leaving now. And closing the door behind us. Have fun. Oh, and be sure to cover that pole”
(NCO walks away)

I can just imagine that’s how that really went down.


Your rash in not service connected.


Sounds like the VA…

AW1 Rod

Wow! Absolutely disgusting and disgraceful, and a HUGE disincentive to enlist! Who, in their right mind, would volunteer to live in such filth and squalor?


Well, those of us who came in during the ’90s…

Old tanker

How in the hell do squatters get on base, much less in a freaking barracks??

Time to get out of the woke BS and back into the discipline business for the NCO’s and Officers. Conditions like those listed should be grounds for termination of the civilians responsible for maintenance and sanitation issues.


That’s what I was wondering. A squatter on a military base? The only thing that makes any kind of sense is if it was someone authorized to live off post who decided to pocket their BAH and squat in a barracks.

Dennis - not chevy

About ’76 an USAF SSgt was finishing up his schooling to get a BS degree in some sort of law enforcement major. As part of his studies he had to tour the state pen. He noticed the inmates had better quarters than we Airmen had on the base. He went the extra mile and wrote a letter to Congress on behalf of us Airmen. The result was we Airmen, living in the substandard quarters, got an extra $20.00 or so a month in our pay to make up for the substandard housing. In 1976 base pay for an E-2 was $417.30 a month, so it was like getting a 4.8% raise.

The point is, if quarters aren’t up to standard, the powers that be should pay.


You want things fixed? Publicly post the names of the installations involved, the building numbers, and the deficiencies. Throw the garrison commander and CSM under the bus. Accept no excuses from anyone. Commanders and 1SG’s better have an paper trail of attempts to rectify the situation. Anyone know if Hood fixed that little chow problem yet?


I like it.


“You want things fixed? Publicly post…”


Prior Service

A couple thoughts. As a team leader I learned to go to through every room, every morning. Quick inspection for cleanliness, etc. as a Squad leader, my TLs hit rooms and I looked around a couple. As a PL, CO CDR, BN XO and BN CDR, I walked the floors and halls (but rarely the rooms—my NCOs hit them) on the lookout for problems and asking if there were problems. Yes, I also had my leaders look at on- and off post housing conditions quarterly. It’s easy to blame leaders for this (and fair, too), but unsupervised Soldiers create conditions that accelerate mold, decay, etc. So first finger is pointed at the individual Soldiers. The other fingers are 2) the army limiting NCOs’ ability to be in rooms every AM; 3) Baracks managers’ habit of spreading individual Soldiers across many floors and widely separated; 4) army leaders unwillingness to get into the barracks for more than a “check the block” because unit leaders demand “leader presence” at times like “after midnight” so the “leader” checks in with staff duty and then leaves; and, 5) the money grubbing contractors. Get leaders into rooms—daily. Last: as someone who sits in lots of senior leader meetings, I do hear lots of discussion on it. Can’t say how much that discussion turns into real action or just fake-the-funk reports back on completed actions, though.


The good old days

RGR 4-78

That is the most severe case of crotchrocketitis I have ever seen.


Outside of flammable liquids not allowed in the barracks, I’m not sure what we’d write the Soldier up on. Excessive noise? Did they wear the approved protective gear on the way in? Drip pan?

A Proud Infidel®™

NO chock block in front of the wheel either!


I see your moto-sickle and raise you this:


*Yells “Sexual Chocolate” and drops 🎤 *


I am wondering what happens if he gets orders for Germany or Korea.  😄  Assuming he has the rank & time, will the Army ship his POV?

Prior Service

Unless those uniforms turn into BDUs, that’s not the old days!


Kind of is…the ACU was introduced back in ‘05 as I recall. Shit, that uniform has been around for almost 20 years and it’s already in its second iteration of camo pattern since the UCP style shown in the picture was phased out around 2018 or so.


…REAL NCO ramrodding the civilian workforce.


After a bit of d!ck-stepping, it was decreed that SGT(D) Roh-Dog would be made the Battalion R&U (Repair and Utility?) for maintenance of our footprint on Schofield Barracks.

And boy did I!

Garrison had a complaint system for any quality of life issues that weren’t being addressed by Department of ‘Public’ “””Works”””. I’d usually give 72 hours (or whatever the regulation said) for initial response, having already CC’ed my S1 and S4 on email. One time, the A/C system needed to be reset (I could tell from the beeping) that the system had faulted, ‘needed to turned off and back on’.

Simple, right?

Hour 73, during a WORKWEEK mind you, they no-showed to even check it (tape on the top of the door I’d placed there indicated that). I grab my lock pick set and open the door, do my thing.

30 minutes later it’s operational and I call the ‘retired SGM’ at DPW to let him know “I ‘gained’ access” to the utility room. the system is operational, and to cancel the work order.


“Have a GREAT day, Sar’nt May’er”, hanging up as he is still yelling.

20 minutes later I was on the carpet in front of my supervisor (S1 NCO), S4 NCO, BC and Grandpa (CSM). After the normal ass chewing I plead my case and suggest if DPW isn’t capable to address my barracks that I use the GSA card to contact outside vendors (which I had printed out a list of, presented it to the S4), and failing that, I was willing to use my personal saving to effect the work by an approved outside vendor and produce a receipt for compensation.

If disapproved recompense I would submit the bill to my Congressman.

Never have I seen attitudes change, or gubmit work by DPW, change 180º so fast in my life.

I have no idea why they’d sandbag Infantry Joes like that, but driving/walking around during the duty day to take pictures of DPW fucking off became a hobby of mine.

An Infantry NCO is the only motherfucker authorized to make Infantry Privates’ lives miserable.


Ah yes, the old “Nobody hits my little brother but me!” approach to life. 🤣


Bless you!


“The 12 military installations visited by the GAO are not named in the report.”

Of course not. Too easy to check, and too easy to assign responsibility.

Frankly, I am skeptical. And just what is a “barracks manager”? The various echelons of commanding officers don’t manage their troops’ barracks? They don’t have regular inspections anymore?

“Another pervasive problem was the lack of air conditioning, especially at bases that are located in hot or humid areas.”

It’s complaints like that that make me skeptical as to the severity of the problem, if there is a problem.


“Another pervasive problem was the lack of air conditioning, especially at bases that are located in hot or humid areas.”

The problem is these buildings were designed to be climate-controlled, so a lack of a/c is not mitigable by cracking a window.

Also, black mold is a huge problem with modern construction techniques and design choices in wall coverings like the jute we had in Schofield.


Roh- Doh:

You were stationed at Schofield as well?

I worked at K-Quad, right next door to the 25th DIVARTY.


Island of those durn Mynah Birds, Mongooses (No Snakes), Giant Roaches, Cute Gekcos, Stray Cats, Aloha Attire, Shaka, Haoles, Brah, Pidgin English, the Menehunes, The Pink Hospital, Liberal Democrats…and of course, SPAM Musabi.



Never thought I could miss Spam musabi until I walked into this sushi bowl place…

Instant flashback of a hangover’s best breakfast.

Just as disgusting and delicious at the same time as I remember!

2nd BDE had the new barracks across from the main gym, Kolekole and Flagler.

7 years on The Rock, enjoyed about 2 weeks of that time (half kidding).


Yep. Also applies to civilian construction. I am a pretty old guy, have lived in a lot of old houses as well as a few old barracks (e.g. the legendary “temporary” WWII barracks), and never heard of “black mold” until the last few years.

It’s one of the unexpected and unfavorable consequences of the all-volunteer military. Competing with a civilian lifestyle; designing barracks for individual privacy, comfort, and convenience.

I am not a big fan of modern construction.


Tend to agree with all the above.

Privates don’t have choice to living conditions but when they’re sold a bill of goods, “come live in modern conditions! Just like a college dorm!” and the reality is 180º turnt’round…

They tell a friend, their cousin, and anyone willing to listen, wonder why those recruiting numbers are down?

I blame those idiots in Washington making it rain dollar bills, pretending they’re doing something.


It ain’t the idiots in Washington who are selling that bill of goods, it’s the idiots across the river at the Pentagon. And the idiots in Washington rain those dollar bills where the idiots at the Pentagon ask them to.

“This bill is special because it supports our troops and their families, and the Nation’s veterans. The bill provides $17.5 billion for military construction and family housing projects. This is less than the FY23 enacted amount. However, it is nearly $800 million above the President’s request,” said Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Chairman John Carter.


Hack Stone

There is a limited amount of manpower and money available to the military, so they have to be laser focused on the important things, like celebrating Gay Pride Month, hosting drag queen shows, and rooting out Ultra MAGA Cisgender White Christian males who pose the greatest threat to our nation’s survival. And it is these priorities that are making military recruiting efforts so successful in the last three years.


Where are the LEADERS?
Like Gen. Milley? Making suggested reading lists so service members can learn more about white privilege, increasing their readiness (to testify before Congress & the press), testifying at said venues about the double-plus good condition of the military, double checking their uniforms for proper wearing of medals and badges, being briefed on the newest DEI programs, etc. Way too busy to check on the condition of his troops. Sometimes responsibility, like shit, flows downhill; it’s called “delegating responsibility”. And, also like shit, the delegator has no further interest in it.


There is no delegating responsibility. If your subordinates fuck up on an assignment you delegated to them, YOU are responsible for their fuck up. Their fuck up is your fuck up. What gets checked, gets done.


That’s right, as a leader you can delegate authority, but ultimately, you’re still responsible for what happens or fails to happen.


“There is no delegating responsibility.”

Great theory. Like “first the mission, then the men, then yourself”. Why do you think someone invented the phrases “shit rolls downhill” and “different spanks for different ranks”?

We obviously served in different armies. 🙂 


Folk delegate work, not reward, today.


We did not. I served, for the most part, under leaders that knew they were responsible for everything that happened in their unit, good and bad. I’m not from the school that wants to hang the squad leader for the private’s infractions. But, if that Soldier fails because you failed to check their work, you fail. Maybe we did serve in different armies. And I’m glad for that.


Hell, back in my day, the dead bodies would stay there until their replacemnt had checked in…er..out.

A Proud Infidel®™

BUT are what the current administration considers important being done first? Y’know, things like SHARP and EEO Training, White Supremacy Awareness, shit like that? It’d be a shit-eating CRYING SHAME if say, some politicians were forced to live for any amount of time in said barracks versus the gravy train they enjoy!