- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

While substandard housing conditions for military families have recently received widespread coverage and congressional scrutiny, Army officials said they haven’t forgotten about the places where single troops live.

The Army plans to spend about $9 billion over the next decade to repair barracks and improve the quality of life for soldiers, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston said during this year’s virtual convention of the Association of the U.S. Army.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The Army classifies barracks that are most in need of repair and upgrades as Q3 or Q4.

“Our goal is, by 2030, we are not going to have any Q4 or Q3 barracks in the United States Army,” Sergeant Major Grinston said.

Some barracks where Army troops live are considered historic. Sergeant Major Grinston said the age of the building isn’t necessarily the issue.

“There is a big difference between an ‘old’ house and a ‘dirty’ house,” he said. “We have to make sure we keep a safe and clean environment for our soldiers.”

Sergeant Major Grinston wants noncommissioned officers to get back into the habit of checking barracks to make sure the conditions are up to par.

“It’s OK to walk through barracks. If something is not right, demand, not just ask, that we fix it,” he said.

If his washer or dryer went out at home, Sergeant Major Grinston said there would be no way for him to do his laundry. He would make sure it got fixed.

“We have to demand the same thing in our barracks,” he said.

If the Army spends billions to spruce up their homes, the soldiers have the responsibility to ensure the barracks are kept clean.

“I can buy a brand new car, but if I don’t change the oil, the engine will still blow up,” Sergeant Major Grinston said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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