BY ANDREW FEATHER, WWMT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CIRCA via WWMT) — Army Specialist Rachael Kilpatrick and her husband, Calvin, called west Michigan home, but were stationed at the world’s largest military installation in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The Kilpatricks said their home away from home has brought them nothing but problems since they moved there in January 2018.
“It had green sludge coming out of one of the shower heads; it was just very, very dirty,” Rachel said.
Before their home on base was declared unlivable a week ago, the Kilpatricks said they lived with issues including termites and black mold for more than a year.
Rachael said the housing issues aren’t something she expected when she signed up to serve nearly four years ago.
“It’s not even that we expect anything better than anybody else,” she said. “We don’t want fancy, we just want livable. We don’t want mold; we want our family to be able to breathe when they’re inside the home.”
“It’s pretty outrageous."
Their home is one of more than 200,000 homes on military bases across the country that are managed by private contractors.
Those contracts have come under scrutiny among dozens of reports about service men and women living in substandard, and in some cases, dangerous conditions.
“These folks are soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines who are serving our country and serving it with honor. This is simply unacceptable for us to treat them this way,” said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., at a Senate hearing last week.
The Kilpatricks attended the meeting in which Peters described their living conditions, questioned military leaders and called for changes to the system.
“It’s pretty outrageous,” Peters said. “It was infested with termites; it had a severe outbreak of black mold which caused serious health issues for her family.”
Calvin said he was planning on joining the Army himself, but said conditions in their home caused health problems.
“With the housing situation, my health declined, and I’ve been diagnosed with reactive airway disease and asthma, and I’ve developed a lot of allergies,” he said.
Both permanently disqualify a person from serving.
Rachael and Calvin said their biggest concern isn’t for themselves, but rather for their kids, whose health they worry about every day.
Military leaders said at the hearing they would hold contractors putting profits above military families accountable.
The Kilpatricks began living in a hospitality suite as of Tuesday while they waited to be assigned a new home and said they would trust those words when they see action.
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