The Marine Corps promised to conduct a thorough inspection of all barracks facilities Wednesday amid increased anger from Congress and the public about the state of living quarters on military bases.
By March 15, all installation commanders are instructed to charge a high-ranking enlisted leader to conduct a full health and safety inspection of barracks “to ensure service compliance with its commitment to its residents to provide a safe, secure, clean, and consistent living standard across the unaccompanied housing enterprise,” the statement read. Service leaders have acknowledged serious problems with Marine Corps barracks following watchdog reports and photos posted online suggesting widespread deficiencies in living quarters for Marines, the reports show.
“We’re going to take a look at every single barracks room, every squad bay, to ensure the health, well-being and safety of each and every one of you,” Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, who is serving as acting commandant, said in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Prior to 15 March, 2024, the Marine Corps is conducting an inspection of all barracks to ensure we are making good on our commitment to provide Marines with safe, secure, clean, and consistent living conditions across the Corps,” the tweet reads. “These inspections will allow us to gain a one-time, complete assessment of each barracks, enabling senior leaders to understand the totality of issues regarding their facility — and get to quickly solving those problems.”
Photos surfaced online showing squalid shower and laundry facilities at the Marine Corps’ infantry school in Camp Pendleton, California, Marine Corps Times reported in January. The photos depicted dead rodents, possible mold, crumbling drywall and a swastika apparently graffitied on a locker. One Marine told the outlet that half of the 16 washing machines were broken.
The school conducted a walkthrough of facilities after the photos began making rounds on social media and began taking steps to fix the issues, a spokesperson told Marine Corps Times.
The photos are just one example of mounting reports that military installations are not kept up.
A Government Accountability Office investigation released in September found some junior service members are living in overcrowded barracks with severe maintenance problems that fall well short of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) privacy and health standards, posing serious risk.
“Marines, SgtMaj Ruiz and I understand the barracks issues. We hear you,” Gen. Eric Smith said in an October Instagram post after showing the secretary of the Navy and two members of congress “the good, bad, and ugly” of Barracks in Camp Lejeune.
“More to follow on this. We have your back, Marines,” the commandant added.
Prior to 15 March, 2024, the Marine Corps is conducting an inspection of all barracks to ensure we are making good on our commitment to provide Marines with safe, secure, clean, and consistent living conditions across the Corps. pic.twitter.com/qR8ERieADn
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) February 7, 2024
Lawmakers held a hearing on Wednesday in response to those reports with testimony from service installation leaders. House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida said barracks are routinely underfunded in a statement.
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