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I live in single enlisted housing. Why does the military still have barracks these days? Single enlisted housing on bases is in no way comparable to housing given to married servicemen. The housing forced onto the single enlisted ranges from criminally inhumane (Fort Bragg, N.C., YouTube scandal from last year) to merely nice for, say, a college dorm suite at a state-run school.

The military would like to claim competitive compensation compared to the private sector, but who would pay to live in something like barracks?

Single enlisted housing is also, for the most part, degrading to military members. There is almost no expectation of privacy. The command can do whatever it pleases to anyone who lives in on-base single enlisted housing. Married servicemembers’ housing is treated like their private home and there are rules regulating how much command can intrude on their home. Single enlisted housing, on the other hand, is merely a room that is treated like a place of work that doesn’t belong to the resident, but to the command. If the command wants to use its master key and go into a room, it can almost whenever it feels like it.

The military also has done a poor job of showing the single enlisted that it cares about single enlisted home life. While we have seen lots of family programs with large budgets come up since the war has started, we have seen only scandal when it comes to single enlisted housing. I’ve seen dozens of spots on American Forces Network about a base spending millions to build new and very nice family housing. I think I have seen two spots on AFN about new single enlisted housing.

Single enlisted housing needs to be better, and command needs to treat people in that housing better.

Spc. Andrew FrancisCamp Zama, Japan

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