Why Fort Bragg and other military bases are battling moldy barracks

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The mold infestation at Fort Bragg’s Smoke Bomb Hill barracks that is expected to displace roughly 1,200 soldiers is a hardly unique phenomenon for military installations.

Marines based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Okinawa, Japan; airmen at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; and midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, are just some of the many service members who have had to live with disgusting mold outbreaks. (Privatized housing can be even worse.)

The increasing reports of mold in military living quarters stem from a series of longstanding issues that have compounded over time, said Katherine Kuzminski, director of the military, veterans, and society program at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.

“It’s the result of basing decisions made decades ago, placing military installations at locations with land that was affordable for the federal government, which we’re now seeing are more susceptible to changes in the climate,” Kuzminski told Task & Purpose. “But it also reflects a lack of investment in updated HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] systems and broader living quarter conditions. Given the services’ emphasis on ‘people first,’ regular maintenance and updates to living quarters are a necessary investment in the health and wellbeing of service members—particularly those in lower paygrades.”

Representatives from the Department of the Air Force and Marine Corps said that providing healthy, safe, and well-maintained living quarters for their service members is a top priority and any airmen, Space Force Guardians, or Marines who encounter mold are encouraged to report their issues to facility managers. The Navy did not respond to questions on the matter by deadline.

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In addition to the longstanding issues that can create mold problems, the effect of climate change could exacerbate the chances that a building could become infested with mold, defense officials told Task & Purpose. That’s why the Defense Department has implement plans to protect on-base housing from extreme weather and climate change. The military is committed to providing high quality housing to U.S. troops and their families as well as modern and safe living quarters for unaccompanied junior enlisted service members.

At Fort Bragg, the barracks with mold problems are more than 50 years old and their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems do not meet today’s standards, said Sgt. Maj. Alex Licea, a spokesman for Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps.

“Despite continuous repairs, the changes to air flow from these old systems created higher than normal moisture and quality of life concerns,” Licea told Task & Purpose. “We have reached a point that these HVAC repairs are now more expensive than investing in the construction of new barracks for our soldiers.”

Going forward, the Army plans to use a new system to inspect barracks that will look at heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems separately from the buildings, Aaron Brown, director of Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Public Works, told reporters on Friday.

Army officials have said they hope to get all the roughly 1,200 affected soldiers into new living quarters by the end of September, but mold has been found in other buildings at Fort Bragg. As of Friday, Army officials had 21 work requests to deal with mold issues, of which just two were in the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks, Col. John Wilcox, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, said during a conference call with reporters on Friday.

The living conditions at the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks – including a hole in one room’s wall and exposed pipes – were first revealed by Military.com reporter Steve Beynon, who accompanied Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston during an inspection of the barracks in July.

Grinston’s visit came in response to a complaint that Army Secretary Christine Wormuth had received about Smoke Bomb Hill. About 50 rooms within the 12 barracks were reportedly found to be infested with mold.

“We knew that there was mold in there, but we would go in and clean it up, but it was a case-by-case basis, and when we actually looked holistic at the whole barracks complex, it just currently was not working,” Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Tickner, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Installation Management Command, said on Friday’s conference call.

It is not clear why officials at Fort Bragg apparently did not know the full extent of the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks’ mold issues before Grinston’s inspection.

Noncommissioned officers were aware of mold issues in a lot of Smoke Bomb Barracks’ rooms, and they made sure that any work orders for mold were completed, Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, 18th Airborne Corps’ senior enlisted advisor, said during Friday’s conference call.

“Leaders were present,” Holland said. “Leaders were doing things, and leaders were the ones who sounded off loud and hard with their soldiers communicating that: ‘Hey, what we’re doing isn’t enough anymore and we have to get after it; we’ve got to do better for our soldiers.’ And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Neither Holland nor any of the other Army officials who took part in the conference call mentioned how Grinston’s inspection of the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks influenced their decision to move soldiers to new living quarters.

Mold is not a new problem for troops living on base. But the climate is changing and extremely strong storms are becoming more common: Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, is threatened by rising sea levels and it had to be evacuated due to hurricanes in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The combined effects of more heat and moisture in the air and the military’s aging infrastructure likely means that troops will be bleaching mold off their walls much more often in the future.

UPDATE: This story was update on Aug. 29 with comments from defense officials.

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1,200 soldiers being moved from moldy, substandard living conditions at Fort Bragg – WSOC TV

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Mold, aging ventilation and outdated buildings have forced the military to find new housing for more than 1,000 soldiers living at Fort Bragg.

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An inspection in early August revealed mold covering rooms from floor to ceiling, severe water leaks, asbestos, poor ventilation and no air conditioning, WRAL reported.

Officials told The Fayetteville Observer that it had relocated 100 soldiers and approved 55 certificates to allow soldiers to find private housing on or off the post. The same officials said another 380 certificates are in the process of being approved.

While more than 1,000 soldiers will be moving out of the barracks in the coming weeks, other soldiers told CBS News that mold is growing in their barracks as well, describing it as “black specks all across the furniture and across the walls.”

Gen. Edward Daly, head of Army Materiel Command, told Military.com that the military will change the way inspections are done going forward. While soldiers had been tasked with the inspections, the military now plans to hire civilian contractors for the task.

Fort Bragg told CBS News that the Army plans to demolish and rebuild 12 of the barracks at Fort Bragg that were found to be substandard, and renovate five others.

In a statement to CBS News, a Fort Bragg spokesperson said: “Our enduring obligation at Fort Bragg and as Army leaders is to take care of our people — our soldiers and their families. Their health and welfare is of the utmost importance to our Army readiness.”


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Army Scrambling to Move Over 1,000 Soldiers Out of Moldy Barracks

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  • Over 1,100 soldiers have been living in mold-infested barracks at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg.
  • The US Army said it plans to relocate all soldiers at at least one facility by the end of September.
  • Soldiers in other barracks have reported mold problems and are concerned they won’t be relocated. 

Soldiers at Fort Bragg — home to US Army elite airborne and special operations forces — have been living in barracks infested with mold that potentially puts their health at risk, and the Army is now trying to figure out where else they can live.

The North Carolina base is in the process of relocating over 1,100 soldiers from the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks, which were built in the mid-1970s, because it uncovered “substandard conditions” during an inspection earlier in August. However, some soldiers in other barracks have reported mold and said they weren’t being moved. 

Fort Bragg said the Smoke Hill Bomb barracks are not up to current heating, ventilation, and air conditioning standards. Air flow changes and repairs raised moisture levels, creating a “quality of life concern” for soldiers living in the barracks. 

All soldiers are expected to be moved out of this living area by the end of September, Fort Bragg said. As of Friday, 120 soldiers have been relocated, Fort Bragg’s Col. John Wilcox told reporters during a roundtable discussion.

Soldiers in other barracks have said that their facilities also have mold and have even provided photo evidence of the problems. Some of these soldiers have raised concerns that they will not getting the opportunity to move out, CBS News reported on Friday.

One soldier told the network it felt like a “punch to the gut” that not everyone would be relocated.

When asked about complaints concerning mold in barracks other than Smoke Bomb Hill, Army leaders at Fort Bragg said they have received around 40 work orders that identified problems across the campus. Leaders said they are working to assess the issues, and the goal is to move soldiers to a place that’s just as good or better than where they currently are living. 

Fort Bragg’s Director of Public Works Aaron Brown told reporters that as of Friday, they are fielding over 20 work requests that have some possible issue with mold, which are considered to be high-priority issues.  

Army leaders at Fort Bragg said that the soldiers who are relocating to other barracks aren’t being medically treated for any mold-related complications. Lt. Col. Teresa Pearce, director of public health at Fort Bragg, told reporters that the base has “not had any health complaints or concerns” brought up in relation to the barracks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can cause a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, burning eyes, and skin infections. People who have asthma or who are allergic to mold, the CDC says, could have severe reactions if exposed. Longer-term exposure can have more detrimental effects.

During a July inspection at Fort Bragg, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston — the Army’s top enlisted leader — scolded leadership for failures at the base’s barracks, Military.com reported earlier this month. 

“Lots happening to make this happen,” he tweeted on Wednesday in a response to a Fort Bragg statement on the barracks relocation project. “Moving 1200 Soldiers won’t be quick, but it will be done right.”

The Army has had to relocate soldiers in past years due to mold in Fort Bragg barracks. South Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, for instance, addressed this issue in a December 2021 letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, urging the Army to immediately address the conditions of the barracks and pump money into better maintaining them.

“Allowing soldiers to live in moldy and unsafe housing is a danger to country,” he wrote, adding that he wants to “ensure the Army is effective in receiving and executing all available funding to modernize and replace substandard barracks by 2030.”


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Disabled Texas woman dies from neglect that left mold growing on body

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Disabled Texas woman dies from neglect that left mold growing on body


A disabled Texas woman died after being found in her home in deplorable conditions — and her three grown children have been arrested in the disturbing case, authorities said.

are charged with injury to a disabled person with serious bodily injury-- a first-degree felony, Salazar said Monday.
The children are charged with injury to a disabled person with serious bodily injury.
24-year-old Roxanna Carrero
Roxanna Carrero along with her siblings lived with their mother.
A disabled Texas woman died after being neglected by her grown children
All of the mother’s children were trained to take care of her, but terribly neglected her.

Patricia Martinez, 57, died Saturday afternoon in a San Antonio hospital after she was rescued from her home by Bexar County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Monday.

When deputies came to the woman’s aid last week, the bedridden mother was in “filthy conditions” — with insect infestations in her room and mold growing on parts of her body, Salazar told KENS5.

Authorities were tipped off to Martinez’s neglected condition by Adult Protective Services, who said they were concerned about “a steep decline in her level of health,” the sheriff said.

Martinez’s children, 37-year-old Oscar Dominguez, 24-year-old Roxanna Carrero and 18-year-old Pedro Luis Carrero are charged with injury to a disabled person with serious bodily injury– a first-degree felony, Salazar said Monday.

All three children lived with their mother and had been trained in how to care for her, the sheriff added.

“It’s likely she’s going to pay with her life for their neglect,” Salazar told the San Antonio station before the woman’s death. “God have mercy on their souls when their time comes.”

It’s unclear whether the charges will be upgraded for Martinez’ children now that she had died, the sheriff added.


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They’re here! Colleges welcome big invasion of students this fall |

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They're here! Colleges welcome big invasion of students this fall |


A new academic year brings new challenges, including housing, but campuses are working hard to meet demands.

The University of Colorado mascot poses with first-year students and their parents on the first day of Welcome Week at the Boulder campus. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Rick Miranda, the interim president of Colorado State University, joked that he “is looking forward to carrying a few boxes” as he and his students officially arrive on campus for the national rite of passage that is move-in week. Like many other new institution leaders taking their posts, he will be unpacking, meeting new people and getting settled in.

They represent just a small fraction of the millions that are converging on residence halls and apartments at colleges and universities for the 2022-23 academic year, snarling roads and jockeying for position in hallways as they haul their items up the stairs and into dorms and other spaces, including makeshift hotel rooms.

They are being greeted by more than just fellow students this fall. They will contend with COVID-19 and its variants again, new outbreaks of the highly contagious monkeypox, political footballs such as Roe v Wade and inflation and affordability. How will they respond, and how will their institutions respond in kind?

Many admissions offices and other stakeholders across higher ed—from Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Elon University in North Carolina to the University of Nevada at Reno—have sent out guidance on expectations and handy resources prior to arrival. UNR put out a blog post from alumni to share their tips and tricks for incoming freshmen to survive the first semester. One alum said: “Don’t procrastinate. Write down test dates a week early in your planner so you start studying sooner. Talk to your professors, they have so much knowledge about the things you are interested in.” She also advised students to explore several clubs and “don’t be afraid to try new things.”

They will arrive, in many ways, at traditional-looking campuses, though that will mean traditional challenges, too. A welcome back message to students at Penn State includes this very long list of parking changes that is sure to be problematic for parents dropping off kids and for those distracted by friends they haven’t seen maskless since 2020. There already have been obstacles involving housing, including a few dorm delays at Flagler College, dirty apartments reported at the University of South Carolina, mold in some residences at Augusta College and low water pressure at Jackson State University.

Those institutions are all finding solutions, but perhaps the best came from Western Kentucky University, which allowed students to arrive on campus early because of the historic flooding in the state. The University of Kentucky also went above and beyond for the community and families in early August to help. “Our Office for Student Success mobilized quickly to reach out directly to more than 1,100 students who may have been affected by the flooding, connecting them with resources such as our Counseling Center, housing and other information regarding basic needs,” Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said, noting that its human resources and risk management teams also offered assistance to other colleges as well as employees who lost homes.

More from UB: Housing crunch sends colleges scrambling to find room for students

As for those coming to campus, some will be in residence halls while others will be forced to commute as an explosion of applicants and admitted students pushes space to their limits. There will be others who will arrive at off-campus apartments, paying exorbitant rent. While some institutions are planning a couple of days for move-ins, the big ones will be inviting students in for more than a week. Ohio State University got started last Friday and the process will continue through next Tuesday, as 14,000 strong bring their gear to campus. The university has asked that only one or two guests per student provide help. They will have to do so with masks but without moving trucks. More than 6,000 students will descend on the University of Tennessee in Knoxville starting today, but some of them will be staying at a nearby Holiday Inn run by university staff.

Move-in week, of course, is about more than just moving in, as new students get familiarized with campuses and the long lists of events they have planned. At Montana State University, its Debut lasts for more than a month with a rodeo, block party, in-service day, football game, concert and traditional painting of rocks.

Photo courtesy of Montana State University (MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

“We are so excited to welcome all students back to campus,” Chris Pruden, student engagement and leadership adviser, said. “At MSU, we want to give our students the opportunity to achieve academically, but we also want to give them opportunities to engage with the local and campus community. Events like these keep our students connected.”

One of the institutions where residences are being watched closely this fall is Howard University, whose students staged a monthlong sit-in over conditions at its dorms last year. Rashad Young, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, told Howard’s news service The Dig that they “worked hard over the summer to prepare the campus, and students will continue to see ongoing maintenance throughout the buildings. We have contractors, plumbing, HVAC and electrical on-site, even after students move in, to ensure any concerns are immediately resolved. Students will see us very active in the building for weeks and probably even a couple of months after they move in.” They also set up a hotline for housing concerns that they say will be addressed within 24-48 hours.


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President Biden’s freebie $20million Kiawah vacation retreat has been plagued with leaks, mold, mildew, termites, fungi, drafts, stains and cracks for YEARS!P

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Joe Biden’s $20million freebie vacation retreat has been plagued with leaks, mold, mildew, termites, fungi, drafts, stains and cracks according to court filings, Your Content has learned.

Joe and Jill Biden are spending their summer vacation at a $20 million South Carolina mansion lent to them by a prominent Democratic donor.

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Maria Allwin has been hosting the first family free of charge in her 9-bed Kiawah Island, South Carolina mansion since 2009.

The beachfront home may seem like a palatial, unblemished jewel on the tiny golfing island.

But in a lawsuit against her builders, Allwin revealed the property has been plagued with pests and defects – including during the Bidens’ stays.

According to records obtained by DailyMail.com from Hunter Biden’s laptop, as well as official records from Joe’s time as Vice President, the Bidens visited Kiawah Island in August 2009, April 2012, April 2014, late June 2015 and August 2015.

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By law, presidents must either pay the market value or disclose the loan of the property as a gift in annual disclosures, unless they are there with the owner,‘according to FLIPBOARD.

Your Content for the latest updates. Have a story or news tip? Contact our 24/7 newsroom at 833.336.8013 or e-mail our tip line: [email protected]


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