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About 100 of the 1,200 soldiers living in barracks at Fort Bragg that have been deemed unsafe have been relocated, the Army said in a statement Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.

About 100 of the 1,200 soldiers living in barracks at Fort Bragg that have been deemed unsafe have been relocated, the Army said in a statement Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (Logan Mock-Bunting, Getty Images/TNS)

About 100 of the 1,200 soldiers living in barracks at Fort Bragg that have been deemed unsafe have been relocated, the Army said in a statement Wednesday.

Installation leaders first reported Aug. 4 that soldiers living in about a dozen barracks buildings in the Smoke Bomb Hill area of Fort Bragg no longer met standards for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Increased moisture levels associated with those problems typically result in mold.

Officials at the North Carolina base estimate that all the affected soldiers should be moved by the end of September.

“The movement of our service members is a deliberate and phased approach to have the proper spaces to support these relocations and ensure the safety and quality of life of our soldiers,” the base said in a statement.

In addition to the more than 100 soldiers who have been relocated, 55 troops were approved to find privatized housing on or off the base, Fort Bragg said. Another 380 soldiers are pending approval.

Units impacted by the relocation include the 1st Special Forces Command, 20th Engineer Brigade and 35th Corps Signal Brigade, among other smaller units and organizations.

Nearly 1,200 soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., are being relocated from barracks deemed unsafe because of mold growth in rooms. However, mold is also growing in rooms of the buildings to which they are being relocated.

Nearly 1,200 soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., are being relocated from barracks deemed unsafe because of mold growth in rooms. However, mold is also growing in rooms of the buildings to which they are being relocated. (Photo provided by a soldier at Fort Bragg)

Soldiers living in other barracks on base also are being forced to move to make room for the displaced Smoke Bomb Hill troops. Some have only been given three days-notice to move and are being forced to do so after work hours, according to one soldier living in one of those buildings.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to speak to the media.

The soldier said he learned Monday that he would be moving one floor down and feels lucky that he was given time during the work day to move his things.

“The move was very last second [and] poorly planned,” he said Thursday. “A lot of moving parts are happening while we still have to do our work and do our day jobs that don’t get put on pause while we move.”

He said the barracks into which the displaced soldiers are moving also have mold.

Before moving his personal items into his new room, he said he’ll have to first clean the mold from the walls, vents and toilet. In a photo, black specs of mold dot the wall of the barracks room, increasing in size and density as it reaches the ceiling, where more mold grows on a ceiling tile and the air vent.

He'd already won the battle of removing mold in his current room, so moving feels like starting it all over again, the soldier said. He predicted the whole process of cleaning, moving and reorganizing his belongings will take about eight hours.

Officials at the base have pledged to be transparent about the move and provide updates on long-term plans for demolition of the affected barracks and new construction. So far, leaders have not said where the funding will come from or how much it could cost.

author picture
Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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