Throwing dollars at quality of life

| February 6, 2024

Both the Army and Navy have been shocked – SHOCKED –  that enlisted barracks, to be polite, suck. Water leaks, black mold, rats (freakin’ RATS?) and a host of other problems have surfaced in the last several months, and leadership is determined to throw money at it fix the situation. Or at least get it out of the limelight where it’s a bit embarrassing. Kinda hard to get folks to sign up when their buddies report that their living conditions rival bad parts of Jihad Central, the old Motor City, Harlem, or post-WWII Berlin.

The Army is hoping privatization can fix the myriad quality-of-life issues facing its barracks, at least partly because it has few other ideas.Military.com

Hate to be cynical, but privatization is what GOT us here. Low bidders get contracts, cheap out on services to make better profits, and now we will be spending literally billions to upgrade what once were decent quarters to something remotely better on the scale than ‘squalid.’ Can’t say they didn’t see this coming, either, back in the ’90s this was predicted – in detail.

The top enlisted leader of the Marine Corps wants to be in the bulldozer that knocks down the first “crappy” barracks that Marines live in.

Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz, who took the mantle of top enlisted leader of the Marine Corps over five months ago, said Monday that having quality barracks for Marines is “basic human rights.” He also said that Marines are responsible for keeping clean the spaces they currently have as the Corps works to replace and refurbish housing.

The effort, according to Ruiz, is called Barracks 2030 and is meant to get the roughly 17,000 Marines — as of March — out of substandard living conditions and into proper quarters. When that may happen is still a question, to include one of funding (emphasis added – ed.), but the commandant of the Marine Corps previously estimated that it could take a decade to fix the problem.  Military.com II

Is he blaming the Marines themselves for bad barracks? Sure sounded like it. Either way,  doesn’t sound much like something I would associate being permitted by the Marine NCOs I used to know.

The Navy says it’s set to make substantial improvements to barracks and that its top officer is committed to funding it, with a host of construction projects totaling nearly $1 billion already underway.

Those projects, according to Navy figures, are going to cost $969 million through 2029.

The service says it is also going to spend an additional $718 million on other barracks improvements. Gould highlighted that her command has dedicated $50 million just to replace furnishings in the barracks.  Military.com III

Perhaps the services would be better off running their own installation engineers instead of subbing it out? Seems when they mandated that, Congress chose “poorly.” Or maybe instead of renaming those eeevul Confederate named bases, throwing a few of those millions at enlisted quality of life would mean more – especially to the troops/Marines/sailors who have to live there.

 

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Army, Marines, Navy, None

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USMC Steve

Under Homey da Klown they privatized the dependent housing and that has been an utter disaster. going civvy on this will not turn out any differently. Honestly anything the socialist democrats touch turns to shit.

HT3

My son reports to Corry Station soon, so I hope the BEQ there is good shape.

5JC

Hahahahaha. Not only that but if he steps one foot off base he has his choice of hookers and dope pushers.

HT3

We are going to Pensacola to drop him off, so I’ll see for myself. I hope its not that bad.

USMC Steve

I thought they closed Corry Station down some years ago. I remember that place from when I went to my spook school there in 1978.

Odie

Just getting our youth prepared for the living conditions they will encounter once the 3rd world invasion is complete.

Why should we live better than them.

26Limabeans

With implementation of DEI, Queen size waterbeds for two will
be available to those that qualify.

A Proud Infidel®™

Translation: the Politicians will reap kickbacks while local Good ‘ole Boys reap money, and nothing gets solved.

Grunt

Not local boys. Balfour Beatty Communities. They’re the Lockheed Martin of privatized military housing.

But otherwise totally correct, politicians and businessmen will get rich and nothing will get solved.

Prior Service

Get barracks back under military management, get Soldiers living together by unit again and get NCOs back into them to inspect. And bring back GI parties.

MustangCPT

Now that’s just crazy talk. You’re not wrong, though. Kind of reminds me of the Clint Eastwood line from Heartbreak Ridge: “When you start looking like Marines, you’ll start feeling like Marines. And pretty soon, goddammit, you’ll start acting like Marines.”

Green Thumb

Dress right fucking dress.

Green Thumb

Word.

Grunt

Fuck yes.

Anonymous

One word: Buffers.

Damn right.

AW1Ed

Army general says moldy barracks are a ‘discipline problem’

“…We just need to teach young soldiers and young family members what is appropriate and what is part of their obligation and basic responsibility as an adult.”

Army general says moldy barracks are a ‘discipline problem’ (taskandpurpose.com)

Green Thumb

Lt. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV and Maj. Gen. James P. Isenhower III.

Clowns.

Soldiers are responsible for preventing mold on the ceilings. Love the uniform discrepancies as well.

The only mold is under their collective asses. If neither one of these turds can bench 225, retire them.

USMCMSgt (Ret)

IMO, he is partly correct in suggesting soldiers should be responsible for cleaning up mold when it is discovered in a housing unit or barracks, but it strikes me that he may be making that assertion on the belief that soldiers are simply allowing mold to grow and not cleaning up, when in reality, (from my experience and observation when I was in uniform) they DO clean it up…but the mold it is a recurring problem because the cause of moisture or water leaks have not been fixed, even after repeated requests for maintenance. 

No surprise that the General is out of touch with what is going on.

We can probably reach a consensus that some enlisted personnel can be worse pigs than others, but by and large, a vast majority of them prefer to live in clean conditions – especially those with families (some of which have children with respiratory problems.) 

A lot of housing maintenance offices do little to nothing to address or mediate the problem, so it reoccurs. Clean all you want, but without installing (or fixing) exhaust fans, leaks, providing dehumidifiers, adding mold inhibitors to paint before repainting surfaces, or removing and replacing surfaces that have been repeatedly exposed to mold (like carpet that hasn’t been replaced in several years), then the problem will continue. I’m hard-pressed to believe that enlisted personnel living in dilapidated barracks or sub-standard housing units have the financial resources to pay for mold remediation.

Cleaning is easy. Not having the resources to keep mold from reforming is another thing.

And yes – bringing small-unit leadership back to the barracks is the best solution. Privatized housing management may have worked at first, but it took less than a year for them to realize they could still make tons of money with little or no effort (e.g., delay maintenance calls or continue half-assed efforts to fix or improve anything.)

Anna Puma

Monsiuer General Isenhower is how we say it, a chateau general oui?

Anonymous

G.I. parties can do a lot, but asbestos and black mold removal needs DPW involvement.

Last edited 5 months ago by Anonymous
Amateur Historian

Mine, when I was still in, had a consistent roach problem 😕

Marine0331

I was stationed at Camp Geiger in the early 80’s (Lima 3/8) and we rotated between the “new” two level brick barracks and the old WW II era cider block barracks upon return from the floats. Both barracks had roach problems, but I don’t ever recall seeing any rats. However, every weekend the shitcans were piled high with pizza boxes, so no matter how much “pest control” the base practiced, the roaches knew where to find chow. Thats no excuse, but just saying.

Green Thumb

You should have seen Schofield back in the day.

USMCMSgt (Ret)

Circa 1980’s, the barracks in Okinawa had a problem with leaks, mold, gekos and giant flying cockroaches.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Fix the leaks, that should fix the mold.
Keep the geckos, they’ll get rid of the ‘roaches.
(popular T-shirt when I was stationed in 25th D, Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, “Sumo Cockroach vs Ninja Gecko, Matches Nightly”.

MustangCPT

Why do I get the feeling that you were the guy taking bets on the “Gecko vs Cockroach” matches? 💴🤣

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Oh, I ALWAYS bet on the gecko. Cleaned up often. The geckos were cuter, pleasant “chirp”. Would find their green eggs everywhere.

Green Thumb

I used to have a big old Jackson lizard that lived on the fence in my yard back in the day on the Islands.

Green Thumb

Odd part was that some of the barracks were on the historical registry from being strafed during the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor.

As such, certain regulations prohibited certain types of upgrades thus impacting the overall sustainability and potential renovation upgrades.

No shit.

Odie

Couldn’t they rehab the buildings, get them all new and shiny and then shoot them full of holes to maintain historical accuracy?

Seem like a win for everybody.

Odie

Ahh yes, I remember the geckos and flying cockroaches at Kadena. I don’t recall any mold problems, but maybe those who kept up on building maintenance actually did the building maintenance.

Anonymous

Was on a UN mission where I’d open the cupboard in the morning and be confronted by a giant praying mantis. (Didn’t mind; he ate other bugs– just duck when he flew down the hall.)
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Last edited 5 months ago by Anonymous
ChipNASA

When I was at Kadena there, we got one of those little cans of insect spray off the aircraft back when the ingredients still said DDT on it. All the walls in the barracks rooms were mostly poured concrete but one wall had plywood and then they had bolted on these little corkboard rails so we could maybe hang a poster or something on there. We used to get the little straw and shoot the insect repellent in behind those things and Jesus Christ. The cockroaches would come out of everywhere..
That shit did work though

Marine0331

My dad was at Schofield with the 8th Field Artillery from 1936 to 1939.

Skivvy Stacker

Every morning while I was at Camp Lejeune, I’d pull a towel out of the top compartment of my locker, and I’d get an armful of roaches. First few times disgusted me. After a while I just brushed them off and headed for the showers.

Marine0331

I was at Geiger and we just had the open squad bays. We used to always bitch because you guys on Mainside had three-man rooms and we were jealous. We stupidly thought that they were roach-free though. Looking back, the good thing about open squad bays was that roaches were mainly hanging out in the lockers, but if you kept your locker void of geedunk they pretty much stayed away. Every platoon has resident dirt-balls, but we did spray our lockers with bug killer and that helped somewhat.

Skivvy Stacker

I was at Camp Johnson (Montford Point). We were in the old barracks that had been in use when it was the Boot Camp for black Marines before the Corps integrated.
I don’t know what it was about the place, it just seemed to be Roach Haven.
And this was the late 70s, so the guys on Mainside were still living in open squad bays.

Marine0331

Ahh, ok, I was in from 81 to 85 and we were told that infantry units on LeJeune were in three-man rooms. While I was at Geiger, they also still had the old single story, cinder-block barracks from WWII. They had no heads in them, so the heads were outside across the street in separate buildings. They too were roach motels, but I can’t ever remember seeing any rats on base.

Amateur Historian

The Naval Medical Center Portsmouth barracks from 2013-2016. The roach problem never changed in that time. The squirrels had no fear either. One day I was walking back to the barracks, I walked past a tree, caught something in the corner of my eye, looked to the right, and there was one of the furry rodents grasping onto the trunk, staring at me. He was a foot and a half, two feet away from my head. I stared back and it was a good 5 seconds before he skittered back up the tree.

Berliner

1991 stationed at Camp Casey, (Dongducheon) Korea. Lived in a rusty Quonset hut that had rats living in the walls.

George V

What’s new is what’s old. Back in the late 70s I had to get involved on behalf of one married sailor in my detachment whose married housing apt was so rundown the bathtub was falling into the apt below.

STSC(SW/SS)

The best way to get better housing/barracks for enlisted personnel is to force base COs, senior officers/enlisted and congress critters to live in the same places as the junior enlisted.

26Limabeans

Bring back the wood framed barracks of the 50’s / 60’s.
One man bunks stacked two high.
If the place doesn’t smell like bleach, you’re doing it wrong.

Anonymous

WWII-surplus barracks that keep inspiring everybody to recite lines from Full Metal Jacket? (Note: The bathroom scene was actually filmed in a different type of building because otherwise that space wasn’t actually big enough, just FYI.)
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Marine0331

Read somewhere that the movie was actually filmed in England on an army base. Those barracks scenes sure as hell did look like Parris Island though. Gave me the chills when I first saw the movie! LOL

Marine0331

Except for the scenes in the head as you mentioned. I knew right away they was not the PI Heads.

Green Thumb

Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz. Next.

Supply dude, to boot.

He is right up there in the ranks w/ SMA Jack Tilley.

Rare, putrid air.

KoB

Odd how we have billions of $s to send to other countries, billions of $s to feed, transport, house ILLEGAL invaders, and plenty of $s to give kongress kritters a raise, yet troops and families are just a step or two above living in a GP Medium.

I agree that making kongress kritters and higher live in the same conditions would have it fixed most quickly.

Sailorcurt

This is not exactly a new problem…at least in the Navy…and no just for Barracks. Upkeep of buildings on bases was a problem the entire time I was active duty.

One of the BEQs I stayed at in Boca Chica near Key West had cinderblocks crumbling from the walls. They were all freshly painted and the floors gleamed…even in the places where the tile was worn completely through to the concrete… because that was the responsibility of the sailors who lived there, but if you brushed too hard while painting, the cinderblocks and mortar would just fall out of the walls. Sometimes I believe that the hundreds of layers of paint was the only thing keeping the building standing upright.

In the mid 90’s I was an instructor in the Landing Signalman (enlisted) and Helicopter Control Officer school. The building our school was in had been condemned for at least a decade and there were no active plans to demolish it. Since it was condemned, the base wouldn’t put any money into keeping it operational, but we were never assigned another space to set up shop, so the command just had to keep doing “temporary” repairs to keep it from falling completely apart…most of which fell on sailors to implement through “self-help” programs. Luckily several of the instructors (myself included) had construction skills which enabled us to keep things running until we finally got another space right before I left the command.

By the way…our problem there wasn’t rats…it was feral cats that we just couldn’t seem to keep from finding a way into the crawlspace under the building. After working in a building for a few years that constantly smelled like cat piss, I’d have welcomed a rat or two.

Just An Old Dog

DOD needs to have a separate organization that oversees Facilities with a separate Budget. The Branches will ALWAYS put QOL on the back burner when it comes to funding.

Devtun
Odie

I’m thinking an E3 could take him on and win.

timactual

I only spent four years in the Army, but all of the barracks I lived in were at least 20 years old. Before then, as a dependent, some Navy housing some civilian. No mold. No plumbing problems. I suspect it has something to do with air conditioning and the resultant condensation, and shoddy modern construction materials & methods. Mold seems to be a relatively recent problem.

Slow Joe

How about pay BAH to everyone and let them live off post?
We treat adults like they are kids, holding their hands all the way to chow hall.

If they can’t behave as adults and report for formation, why do we want them in the first place? Besides, I always need joes for extra duty.

Stacy0311

Remember the movie Heartbreak Ridge?
Yeah, that wasn’t Camp Lejeune. That was Camp Talega on Camp Pendleton.
I got to live in those quonset huts in 1991 post Desert Storm.
So quality of life in the barracks has been sucking for 30+ years

Marine0331

Stacy0311, yeah I knew right away those barracks where not LeJeune and I was only on mainside a dozen or so times (stationed on Geiger with 3/8), but the big give away was the areas where they were doing their bush operations – that looked like California all the way.