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Army vows clean-up of dilapidated barracks

Posted April 30, 2008

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— Stung by a online video showing a dilapidated barracks at Fort Bragg, Army Secretary Pete Geren and other top military officials vowed Wednesday to fix all barracks that have fallen into disrepair.

The move comes a week after the father of a Fort Bragg paratrooper posted a 10-minute video on YouTube.com that showed moldy ceilings, peeling paint, broken toilets and a flooded bathroom in his son's barracks.

Army officials said Tuesday they were inspecting every barracks building worldwide to see whether such problems are widespread.

"We've got old barracks throughout much of the Army, but old barracks are not an excuse for not meeting the needs of soldiers,"  Geren said Wednesday morning in a brief visit to Fort Bragg. "Everyone in this installation knows that the condition that they found (the barracks in) were not acceptable, and we're working to fix that."

He promised to reallocate resources to repair barracks, but he didn't specify where the money would come from or any timeline for making the needed repairs. He also wouldn't commit to providing soldiers with vouchers to pay for off-base quarters.

Gen. Richard Cody, Army vice chief of staff, was more blunt in his assessment of the situation.

"I don't have words that I can say on TV of how mad I was," Cody told CNN. "To have these heroes come back to that condition is uncalled for, (and) the Army leadership is not going to let this stand."

Edward Frawley, who posted the YouTube video, said he spoke with Cody over the weekend and was confident the needed repairs would be made.

"I've accomplished everything I needed to accomplish here because Gen. Cody is going to take care of it," Frawley said in a telephone interview from his Wisconsin home.

His son, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, and his company recently moved into the barracks after returning from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Fort Bragg officials said repairs were being made to the barracks, which were built in the 1950s, but that they weren't completed in time because the troops returned three weeks early.

Edward Frawley questioned that claim, saying the base had months to fix the barracks.

Geren said he was grateful to Edward Frawley for his initiative in raising awareness about the barracks' problems.

"That helped us understand that we need to reconsider our allocation of resources," he said. "It was (soldiers') job to get these barracks ready. They worked their tails off, and we need to do more to support them."

Twenty barracks on Fort Bragg will be razed and replaced in the next five years as part of a $300 million renovation project.

Edward Frawley said he never expected the firestorm he created by posting his video online.

"Every parent can relate to this, and that's why I think (the issue has) legs," he said.


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  • DJ of Clayton May 1, 2008

    They are old buildings with the problems that old buildings have. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, during many past administrations, barracks repair/replacement/renovation has never been a very high priority. When I was stationed at Fort Meade during the 90's, I was there for 3 years. During that three years, 3 of six toilets never worked, 4 of 6 sinks were out of service, and two of the showers were unusable. We would go without hot water for 2-3 days at a time. But it was never a priority, either with the chain of command or with the politicians.

    Nothing new. And after a few fixes, it will all be forgotten again. It's like so much with the state of affairs with the military. No photo ops.

  • ravenrnc May 1, 2008

    This is a terrible shamefull, disgracefull thing. Shame on our society, and politicians for not taking better care of our soldiers. You look at this and does it make you want to enlist? Or want your kids to enlist? We need to give top priority to our Soldiers Pay, Insurance, Retirement, benefits, and yes housing. I am proud of our Soldiers. You American citizens that blast them, and don't push for reform to take care of them, shame on you. Lets see if we could all sip coffee and post comments in our comfortable living rooms without them. Lets see what Old Bin would do to you without them. All of our Great Heroes of yesterday who have given soo much to this country and our own realtives who have given soo much to this country would be ashamed of the way our soldiers are treated. How can a military fight for and love this country when it seems its country doesn't care for them???? Something new to think about when you go to bed tonite.

  • ravenrnc May 1, 2008

    Top priority needs to be given to our Military soldiers. Pay, insurance, Retirement, Housing, etc...... Or one day there might not be a Military. And lets see what ol Bin does then.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 30, 2008

    As I said before, whine whine whine whine. Perhaps motafinga you should run on down there and help repair the barracks. It is 50 years old, meaning where was your precious Clinton Gore?

  • lizard Apr 30, 2008

    Plenty of help to fix them when the soldiers get back. Libs cutting back the mean ole military budgets are responsible, if anything.

    Bush bashers, get over it. Gore lost!

  • Worland Apr 30, 2008

    The troops came home early to find their barracks under repair. Maybe because I've been on active duty for so long, but it sounds to me that the Army was already taking care of the problem. Wouldn't be the first time the toilets backed up in a 50 year old building that had been left empty for 18 months.

    Perhaps if there hadn't been a building freeze in the 1990's, the barracks would have been replaced by now. Balancing the budget back then has really taken a toll on the troops, and will continue to haunt us in the military for decades to come.

  • mcarroll1974 Apr 30, 2008

    Oh please this looks good considering the condition a military family left my house in.If

  • motorfinga Apr 30, 2008

    Support the troops Support the troops, they scream!

    Republicans along with the criminal Bush/Cheney junta are the biggest fraud on this nation in decades!!

  • kmason910 Apr 30, 2008

    another fine example of privatizing and contracting/outsourcing the vital needs of our troops. betcha the contracting companies didn't have any trouble cashing the checks, either.

    with the military hospital problems last year, and all of the unfinished "down-sized" projects in Iraq's reconstruction, and now this---does anyone else see a pattern?

  • kmanc4s Apr 30, 2008

    I certainly hope that the Army and the military as a whole will continue to clean up its act and treat all soldiers much better. I have also heard that some enlisted men have to sign up for welfare and food stamps to help make ends meet, this is another area that the military needs to address. No active duty military personnel should have to apply for government assistance to survive.