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Bush examines repairs to notorious Bragg barracks

A month after an online video depicted squalid living conditions in barracks on Fort Bragg, President George W. Bush toured the barracks Thursday to look over repairs that have been made.

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A month after an online video depicted squalid living conditions in barracks on Fort Bragg, President George W. Bush toured the barracks Thursday to look over repairs that have been made.

Ed Frawley of Menomonie, Wis., whose son is an 82nd Airborne Division sergeant, took a 10-minute video of the barracks after his son's unit returned from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan. The video, which Frawley posted on YouTube.com, showed moldy ceilings and showers, peeling paint, an open sewage pipe, broken toilet seats and a flooded bathroom.

The video prompted an outcry over soldiers' living conditions, and the Army inspected its barracks worldwide to determine if similar problems existed elsewhere. The Army recently appropriated $248 million in emergency funds to improve maintenance at aging barracks, including $2.9 million for repairs at Fort Bragg.

While Bush appeared impressed with the clean, spotless latrine area during his inspection, he said the paratroopers at Fort Bragg  would be in for an upgrade of their living quarters.

"These buildings are coming down. I know you appreciate it – the soldiers appreciate it. We're going to replace them," he said.

By 2013, a $300 million renovation project will raze and replace 22 barracks at the base that date to the 1950s.

Two weeks ago, Army Secretary Pete Geren also cut the ribbon on 312 new apartments on the base for unmarried officers and senior non-commissioned officers.

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 Credits

Ken Smith, Reporter
Mark Simpson, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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