April 30, 2008

Wisconsin GI's Dad -- and YouTube -- spur Army
to deal with deplorable barracks worldwide

Well, that didn't take long!

Just a couple of days after Menomonie's Ed Frawley posted a video on YouTube showing the deplorable barracks his son, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, 22, was assigned to at Ft. Bragg, NC -- after returning stateside from a 15-month deployment in the mountains of Afghanistan -- a senator and congressman are all over the Secretary of Defense and the Army is investigating barracks worldwide.

Frawley called the barracks "embarrassing and disgusting" as well as unsafe in the 10-minute video showing pictures he took when the families of 82nd Airborne Division's Charlie Company greeted their returning soldiers in April.

The ten-minute video included images of moldy walls, broken toilets, potential gas leaks, and bathrooms flooded with sewage, rusty pipes, missing ceiling tiles; you name it.

Click HERE to watch the YouTube video.

The Army appears to agree with Frawley.

Brigadier General Dennis Rogers -- who is responsible for maintaining barracks throughout the Army -- said, "We let our soldiers down." He told reporters at the Pentagon inspections were done last weekend, and in cases where extensive repairs are necessary, soldiers will be moved until the fixes are completed.

Congressman Ron Kind, D-WI, and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, are all over the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

Feingold called on the Army to address the deplorable conditions at Fort Bragg. In a letters to U.S. Army Secretary Pete Green and Defense Inspector General Claude Kicklighter, Feingold asked that the Army take action to ensure that any service member currently living in unsafe conditions at Fort Bragg be immediately relocated to safe and acceptable housing.

“After serving bravely in Afghanistan, these brave soldiers returned to live in potentially unhealthy conditions. That is absolutely unacceptable,” Feingold said. “They must be transferred to suitable facilities immediately and the Army’s failure to provide acceptable housing must be investigated.”

According to media reports, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody called Frawley to say he shared his anger and that there was no excuse for the conditions. In one of the widely distributed pictures of the conditions, a soldier stood in a sink while trying to unclog a drain in a bathroom with inches-deep sewage-filled water. Other pictures showed what appears to be mold, paint chipping from the ceiling and a broken drain pipe.

The best story on the incident, from the Dunn County News, is HERE.

Feingold's letter is HERE. Rep. Kind's letter to the Secretary of Defense is HERE.

This all has a deja vu feeling to it. Anybody else remember the Army's surprise upon reading the Washington Post's stories about the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Hospital in February 2007? No doubt the generals stay in nicer quarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment