Video: The barracks at Fort Bragg

posted at 6:02 pm on April 29, 2008 by Allahpundit

What can one man with a digital camera and video editing software do in the YouTube age? Watch the clips and see. The first is Ed Frawley’s highly effective expose of the conditions in his son’s barracks, ‘Tubed a few days (or weeks?) ago and percolating ever since in the appropriate circles, and the second and third are from his interview with CNN this morning, following a contrite phone call from the Army’s vice chief of staff. I always assumed most barracks were spartan, but not to the point of posing actual health hazards. If you believe the sidebar description on the video’s YT page, Fort Bragg’s hardly an isolated case.

Inevitable exit question to our military readers: How common or uncommon is this? “Good things” are only a handicam away…

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It sounds like things have changed a bit in 40 years. I guess you can’t make anyone do anything anymore.

rivlax on April 29, 2008 at 10:52 PM

I would debate that, no the military is as demanding on discipline as ever, I will bet my life on that!

allrsn on April 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM

To help provide a bit of perspective, in the past year, I have personally witnessed that same Army Vice Chief of Staff (General Cody)– who called to apologize to this father who shot the video — visiting wounded/injured soldiers in Walter Reed Army Medical Center at about 9:00PM on a weeknight. I understand he does this regularly. The man cares for his troops. Though at the time my son could hardly speak due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan, General Cody’s handshake and kind words meant the world to him. Just typing about the memory brings tears to my eyes.

sanantonian on April 29, 2008 at 11:54 PM

I almost forgot.

What about the heating that didn’t get turned on until August and the air conditioning that didn’t get turned on until January?

And they wouldn’t turn off one and turn on the other, they turned off one and made an appointment for months later to turn on the other.

God love those base civil servants. They work so hard…

I can still remember using my sleeping bag in my barracks room in December because the air conditioning was still on, and sleeping out on the catwalk because it was cooler outside in July because the heat was still on and we had no way to turn it off. Putting cardboard in the vent offered little relief. Being woken up in the middle of the night outside with “what are you doing?”. And answering “trying to get some sleep, do you mind?”.

Just a little preview of what to expect if you allow the government to run your health care, or anything else in your life. “I’m from the government and I am here to help” is not the joke, it’s the punchline.

Hog Wild on April 30, 2008 at 12:07 AM

My airsoft group operates out of the 7th lightfighters old barracks out here at whats left of Fort Ord and even those are in better shape, and they’ve been decaying in the sea air for the last decade.

I wish all those men and women God speed!

liquidflorian on April 30, 2008 at 12:11 AM

The Air Force has it made.

But some of us actually wanted to be in the military.

Professor Blather on April 29, 2008 at 9:39 PM

Hardy har har….funny how all the Army (and Navy) guys complain about the wimpy AF guys, but then when the gunship is overhead they love us. (At least in my experience…)

mjtyson on April 30, 2008 at 12:57 AM

Forgot to add, Prof. i agree we have it made…that’s why I love it. ;)

mjtyson on April 30, 2008 at 12:58 AM

What a shabby way to treat our beloved soldiers.

I hope many, many heads have rolled over this disgrace.

Dave R. on April 30, 2008 at 1:25 AM

The Air Force has it made.

But some of us actually wanted to be in the military.

Professor Blather on April 29, 2008 at 9:39 PM

Be careful what you wish for.

MB4 on April 30, 2008 at 1:44 AM

Ed Frawley’s delivery is superb.

Kralizec on April 30, 2008 at 2:09 AM

Captured jihadis live better than this.

Maybe the Army should hire the ACLU to push for their basic human rights…

SuperCool on April 30, 2008 at 3:36 AM

Having lived in WWII wooden barracks, with a coal furnace for heat and cracks in the wall for A/C, I’m just a little unsympathetic.

Of course, we didn’t have civilians to take care of maintenance, there was just us. We painted, cleaned, scrubbed and shined. Then we’d fuck it all up over the weekend and have to do it over again.

Group latrines, without stalls, group showers and 50 men to a room. There were only two, upstairs and downstairs.

Screen sided hootches in Vietnam and Quonset huts in Korea. In Germany we had stone barracks that were used by the Kaiser’s troops.

But, as bad as it got, the Marines had it worse. Whenever we (the Army) got tired of destroying the buildings, we’d give them to the Marines.

It probably still works that way.

But a good Commander or First Sergeant could have raised enough of a stink to get them better barracks. Or else they could have had a company muster with mops brooms and paintbrushes.

schmuck281 on April 30, 2008 at 4:41 AM

Those are the worst barracks I’ve seen, but barracks usually look pretty bad. I was a Marine, and in my experience (on Marine, Army, and Air Force bases) Marine Corps barracks tend to be the worst. Air Force barracks, on the other hand, are essentially hotels owned and operated by the Air Force.

JS on April 30, 2008 at 5:03 AM

Well, when I was in the army we maintained our own barracks.
I don’t understand this. We cleaned, we painted,, I can remember while in West Germany, we had more than one cleaning night. The whole company stayed up late cleaning, scraping and painting.

JellyToast on April 30, 2008 at 7:43 AM

I think everyone who has ever served has a “I stayed in the works barracks in the world” story. Its funny that it seems like its always for the same reason. We are currently building new barracks that should be done before the end of fiscal year, but until then here’s your crack den.

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 30, 2008 at 7:59 AM

MB4

It doesn’t matter what the base commander knows, it’s what can be pushed through the system. He knows the barracks sucks, the Bn Commander knows, the Company commander knows, lowly Master Sergeants like myself know, the problem is, once a civillian organization gets the contract, they have no competition, and this being the government that sort of thing takes years to correct. For example it took a road construction crew, no kidding, almost 6 months to repave a small two lane section of road here on base. 6 months! They just putt putt along, and since it was the main road going through this base, it was pretty damn incovenient. Now for those who say, put em in tents, well here at lovely Twentynine Palms, that’s not a real option for any length of time as you may or may not know, and since the Motel 6 out in town can’t fit the whole base, well we just gotta suck it up till FY 09 comes along….well if they decide to get started.

gator70 on April 30, 2008 at 9:08 AM

JellyToast on April 30, 2008 at 7:43 AM

We arent allowed to make our own repairs, or paint anymore. Once again we do not own the barracks, civillians do. They suck. In fact if something gets broken, regardless of how, they try to charge the Marines who live in the room for the damages like it’s a hotel. Then we have to go through mounds of painful papework to ensure that doesnt happen.

gator70 on April 30, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Hell, our “barracks” on a ship is our little “coffin” rack and a small locker. At least we kept it clean and maintained though.

Still, as cramped as that was it was comfortable enough. Nothing like sleeping in the mountains for months at a time without a shower.

Yakko77 on April 30, 2008 at 9:15 AM

How common or uncommon is this

This barracks issue isn’t new and it is common. If a barracks is scheduled for use until 2050 it will be used until 2050.

Nor are the VA hospital problems new and uncommon.

dogsoldier on April 30, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Good Lord, the barracks in some of the Posts (and bases) around the country aren’t getting any better.

If you replace a building, most do not replace the sewer pipes in the ground! If you replace or upgrade the pipes you may have it fixed. But then again you have to have people who know NOT to throw crap down a toilet (say a towel) and then wonder later why it doesn’t flush right anymore.

I can tell you stories about crappy (literally) barracks, the sewer gases coming up thru a water fountain. Women’s tampoons that they wouldn’t flush or some woman throwing a pad in the toilet. The women were were worse to live with then the men and I almost asked to be allowed to use the mens!

I could go on and on…. don’t just blame it on the military.

upinak on April 30, 2008 at 11:37 AM

We arent allowed to make our own repairs, or paint anymore. Once again we do not own the barracks, civillians do. They suck. In fact if something gets broken, regardless of how, they try to charge the Marines who live in the room for the damages like it’s a hotel. Then we have to go through mounds of painful papework to ensure that doesnt happen.

gator70 on April 30, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Now, that’s sad.

I wonder how civilians… Oh, no! I’d better correct myself. I know that many civilian workers and administrative officers are treated quite nicely, unlike at the barracks.

My husband used to work at NS Ingleside: nice buildings, nice treatment of the officers and civilians, but when it came to the work on the ships, they made so sure that it wasn’t really done, even though the Port Engineers pushed quite hard to get things done over there. One of the ships he took good care of and advocated for a long time was sold to the Greeks a year ago, and now that same ship looks like brand-new under their new management… Of course, he gave them some good advice on it well after it had changed hands. And, sure enough, he gained the trust of its new Greek crew. Having done the same under our own Navy, the crew wanted to see things done, but the Navy officers and civilians always seemed to find ways to stop any progress. It was the biggest headache for those who wanted to do things.

Many of our bureaucrats who work in the DC area get some nice little perks. My half-sister, who is an accountant at one of the big agencies in DC, gets a nice drive from home to work and then back on a Coach bus every morning. She really doesn’t have to worry about much: her job has her covered.

Nice (:-/) to see that our soldiers, the ones who actually spend the sweat, blood and tears, are treated that way.

newton on April 30, 2008 at 12:12 PM

It doesn’t matter what the base commander knows, it’s what can be pushed through the system. He knows the barracks sucks, the Bn Commander knows, the Company commander knows, lowly Master Sergeants like myself know, the problem is, once a civillian organization gets the contract, they have no competition, and this being the government that sort of thing takes years to correct.

gator70 on April 30, 2008 at 9:08 AM

Sometimes if you want something done right, or in some cases done at all, you have to do it yourself. The Army has come to depend, or maybe I should say “depend”, on private contractors too much. However if the civilians are government (GS), then their boss somewhere up the line should ,and almost certainly does, have a uniformed boss.

MB4 on April 30, 2008 at 1:08 PM

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