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For something a little different – Have you seen Army barracks lately?

  

Category:  Other

By:  dig  •  10 months ago  •  30 comments

For something a little different – Have you seen Army barracks lately?

So, I stumbled across this video on YouTube recently.

I imagine veterans here will remember open bay barracks, or the German ones with two-man rooms but common latrines for everyone, or maybe even the slightly newer types with a couple of two-man rooms sharing a bathroom between them, but this is relatively new – private bedrooms for everyone, and kitchens!

For anyone who might not know, barracks are generally only for the lower enlisted – the young, mostly single soldiers who tend to make up somewhere between half and three quarters of a typical unit. Maybe a few single NCOs, too. Higher ranks and people with families live in actual houses or apartments elsewhere.

I'm pretty sure that the video was made in the recent expansion of Ft. Bliss for 1AD, part of which looks like this on the outside...

800

I took an overview from the video and drew up a floor plan to get a better idea of the layout. I can't be sure of the dimensions just from eyeballing it, but it's definitely something like this (my own creation)...

800

And this is the Army, not the Air Force!

That should help with retention, don't you think? Especially the private bedroom part. That's a much better quality of life than what used to be the norm.

It got me thinking, if they're willing to build barracks like this, then why not just go that one little step further and get rid of the suite idea altogether? Why not just go with full-blown, single occupancy studio apartment-type rooms? 

I drew up a possible layout...

800

As far as I know, they aren't building barracks like that yet, but two of these wouldn't take up much more space than the two-man suites, or be much more expensive to build. I wouldn't be surprised if barracks end up going this way in the not-too-distant future.

Anyway, thought I'd share something veterans might find interesting.


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Dig
Professor Participates
1  author  Dig    10 months ago

What do you think? Better living conditions have to help with recruiting, right? Are these two-man suites enough, or will full-blown studio apartments eventually be the way to go?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Dig @1    10 months ago

What?  no balcony?  no washing machine and dryer?  no dishwasher?  no fireplace?  Deprivation. 

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
1.1.1  author  Dig  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1    10 months ago

There has to be a laundry room down the hall somewhere, but I sure don't see a dishwasher or fireplace, lol. The agony.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
2  Bob Nelson    10 months ago

Now... if we could build basic accommodations for everyone...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @2    10 months ago

???  Why?  Did Zelenskyy ask?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
2.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    10 months ago

Interesting question: If the US built troop accommodations in Ukraine, would they count as a tripwire?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.1    10 months ago

Not if occupied only by Ukrainian troops.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Principal
3  Jeremy Retired in NC    10 months ago

One thing to keep in mind is that Fort Bliss has the Sergeants Major Academy (Senior NCO school).  There is a chance these barracks may be for them (I'm not sure, I couldn't get the video to play (network issues)).

I work on Fort Bragg, NC.  NONE of the barracks here look like this.  We do have apartments on the installation for single NCO's (E-5 Sergeant through E-9 Sergeant Major) that sort of look like that.  But definitely NOT for the lower enlisted barracks.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
3.1  author  Dig  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    10 months ago

The Sergeants Major Academy is on what used to be called Biggs Airfield, near some NCO housing. Biggs used to be a separate installation across Airport Road from main post. But according to Google Maps, it looks like they've connected the two with an overpass and extended Biggs way out to the east, which is where all the new 1st Armor facilities are. I guess they're calling everything on that side of the overpass "East Bliss" now, instead of Biggs Airfield, with the Biggs housing area being called Aero Vista or something.

The barracks in the photo are out there in the new area, well past the SGM-A, and plainly visible on Google Maps. I think they were only built in 2009 or something, so they're probably some of the newer stuff on post.

Do you happen to know how long ago any new barracks were built on Bragg? I would've thought that anything as new as the 1st Armor stuff would resemble them, at least in the way the rooms are laid out on the inside. Maybe if they have any new construction planned, they might. I get the impression the Army is trying to upgrade for recruiting and retention purposes.

Speaking of new construction, what's really blowing my mind is the new PX area on Bliss. I guess it's called Freedom Crossing. It's friggin' huge, with a bunch of stores and restaurants outside the main PX and commissary buildings, and even a ten-screen multiplex theater. It's practically a mall. Sheesh. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Dig @3.1    10 months ago
Do you happen to know how long ago any new barracks were built on Bragg?

They are still building new barracks and upgrading existing.  Has been going on since ~2007 / 2008.  It was sparked when video of raw sewage coming from sinks and showers from one of the 82d Airborne Division barracks showed up on Youtube.  Shortly afterward President Bush came for the 82d Airborne Division Review and wanted to tour those specific buildings.

Speaking of new construction, what's really blowing my mind is the new PX area on Bliss.

They were supposed to build a whole shopping center (a few store fronts, and a movie theater) near the North Post PX here on Bragg but after delay after delay it was scrapped.  They did build a new PX and Commissary on the south side about 10 years ago.  Then they constructed 295 (loop around Fayetteville) that cuts through the installation and isolated it.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.2  Sparty On  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    10 months ago

We did the newest barracks at Camp Grayling and they are quite nice but not that nice.    Basically a dorm suite style.    Two rooms, four racks share one bathroom and a kitchenette.    Damn nice compared to the WW-2 Quonset huts we stayed in.

Full heating and AC ……. Very jealous.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
4  evilone    10 months ago

Way different than my time in the army.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
4.1  author  Dig  replied to  evilone @4    10 months ago

I can't believe how fast things like this can change, but I guess that's what 4.8 dillion dollars can do, according to this 2010 article about the Ft. Bliss expansion.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
4.1.1  author  Dig  replied to  Dig @4.1    10 months ago

Lmao... dillion. That was supposed to be billion.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
5  Greg Jones    10 months ago

Fondly remember those days of basic training at Lackland AFB way back in the day. Open bays, GI parties, that one and only 16 hour shift of KP, total lack of privacy.....

Looking back, a rather fun time in my life.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
5.1  author  Dig  replied to  Greg Jones @5    10 months ago

It looks like Lackland has become another one of those new joint bases, combined with Ft. Sam into JBSA – Joint Base San Antonio. It's weird how things change.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Dig @5.1    10 months ago

They're not that close together...are they? I went to basic at Lackland and my spouse had surgery at Ft Sam and I thought they were miles apart

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
5.1.2  author  Dig  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.1    10 months ago

Yeah, I think they're on opposite sides of San Antonio. I guess they don't actually have to be adjacent. I'm not even sure what the benefit of the joint thing is supposed to be. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  Kavika     10 months ago

Wow, not any thing like when I was in the army. We had old WWII open barracks in the US. My tour in Germany was an old German cavalry building with 4 to a room. As for a couple of tours in Nam now that was a whole different world, canvas, bamboo, logs, sandbags and palm frond were the building code of the day. Ah the good old days, LOL.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
6.1  author  Dig  replied to  Kavika @6    10 months ago

I was in one of those wooden, open bay WWII barracks during Basic, on Tank Hill at Ft. Jackson. All that stuff's gone now, though, replaced with those newer "starship" training barracks I think (if they still call them that). Pretty sure they have air conditioning, too. All we had was a big fan blowing down the middle of the bay in the hottest part of the summer.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Dig @6.1    10 months ago

I was at Fort Benning, now Fort Moore for basic, AIT, and jump school from May through November...Talk about hot, humid and a lot of that red Georgia clay...LOL and the barracks for each were the old WWII barracks with, like you said a single fan blowing down the middle of the bay and for heat in the cold, there was nothing...LOL the not so good old days.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
6.1.2  evilone  replied to  Dig @6.1    10 months ago
I was in one of those wooden, open bay WWII barracks during Basic, on Tank Hill at Ft. Jackson.

I did my Army Basic in Ft Jackson too, during June & July. Not on Tank Hill though. I do remember marching past those. We still had open bays, but they were new buildings. Then In AIT at Ft Gordon, GA in Aug & Sep. There we had those 4 people to a room setups. I finally got my own room when I came back from Germany to White Sands Missile  Range, NM. 

We were one of the first prior military groups that had to go back through BT in the Coast Guard and we had open bays there too. Then it was all shipboard from there on out. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
6.1.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    10 months ago

ROTC basic (six weeks) at Ft Moore. My memories are a Sergeant Major with two stars on his parachute, and daily thundershowers punctually at 1630 every day... just when we were at attention for afternoon debriefing.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.4  Kavika   replied to  Bob Nelson @6.1.3    10 months ago

Two stars on the chute are two combat jumps and the Sargent has brass balls.

Oh yeah, rain every afternoon, you could set your watch by it.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
6.1.5  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @6.1.4    10 months ago

I remember three things from Jump School, Black Hats yelling:

  • I'm going to tell you what I tell my wife every morning before I leave, Keep your feet and knees together.
  • Check can-of-peas, OK now beat your face for not listening
  • Get your ass moving you dirty Leg.
 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
6.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @6.1.4    10 months ago

I don't know how it is now, but back then - more than fifty years ago, dear God! - zero stars was a combat jump in one war, one star was two wars, and two stars was three wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam). He was very near retirement, but when we had our physical test he spent the day running around the track (in fatigues and combat boots), quietly encouraging the guys who were having trouble.

One day our company commander, a captain, stayed in the doorway of the command bungalow, to give us the afternoon debriefing via a bullhorn. Sergeant Major stood at attention with his puppies, and like them was thoroughly soaked by the time we were dismissed by the still high-and-dry captain. While we ran for the barracks, Sergeant Major walked calmly to the captain's office. The next day, we had a new company commander. It seems that a decade or two earlier, the base commander had done his basic training with Sergeant Major....

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Quiet
7  Freefaller    10 months ago

Times certainly have change, even from when I joined in the early 80's

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
8  Trout Giggles    10 months ago

Mr Giggles is a dorm manager at the base. They have barracks like these but mustn't call them barracks...they are DORMS!

When I went to Alaska we were 2 to a room with a bathroom between 2 rooms. I thought that was all right.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Participates
8.1  author  Dig  replied to  Trout Giggles @8    10 months ago

I was never a fan of the roommate thing, myself.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
8.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Dig @8.1    10 months ago

Me, neither. I lived alone when I was in college and before I joined the AF. I hated the barracks set up in basic and wasn't overly fond of my roommate in Alaska. She was a slob

 
 

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