Dole: Army Looking Into Bragg Barracks Conditions
Posted April 25, 2008 4:25 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2008 8:28 a.m. EDT
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole said Friday she has contacted the secretary of the Army about a video posted on YouTube.com that shows broken toilets, plugged drains and other poor living conditions in a barracks at Fort Bragg.
Military officials said the issue would be looked into immediately, Dole said.
The 10-minute video, which was taken by Edward Frawley, the father of an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, shows molding ceiling tiles and showers, exposed drain pipes, peeling paint and other damage.
Army officials immediately opened the barracks up for inspection by members of the media, showing that many of the problems depicted in the video had already been repaired.
"There are no life, health or safety issues. We addressed those as quickly as possible," said Col. Dave Fox, the garrison commander.
The barracks, which were built in the 1950s, were being repaired, but troops returned from Afghanistan three weeks early before repairs could be finished, Fox said.
"By today's standards, they are inadequate," he said of 20 sets of barracks that will be replaced over the next five years by $300 million in new construction.
Because of environmental regulations, new barracks must be built where old living quarters stood instead of on a separate site, a situation that officials said slows down the replacement process.
“This is a bridge. This is where we have to live before the new buildings are occupied,” said Capt. Jason Davis, company commander.
Davis said the barracks was empty for 15 months while the soldiers were deployed.
“There was no true ownership. Now, we’re back and taking care of our house,” he said.
Still, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, Edward Frawley's son, said he is discouraged by the living conditions.
"I personally painted these barracks myself at least three times," Jeff Frawley said. "It doesn't really fix the problem. It's a temporary Band-Aid."
Edward Frawley said from his Wisconsin home that he wasn't trying to bash the Army.
“I’m not anti-military,” he said. “We just think this is a bad situation that needs to be taken care of.”