US embraces Ukraine, neglects its soldiers losing battle to mold
While the US funnels arms and funds into Ukraine, its troops are stuck in bases infested with mold with "no budget" for treatment.
Even as the US Army intervenes in state affairs across the world, it is facing a fierce battle as it tries to win a battle against mold, a tenacious opponent that might compromise the health of troops at some of America's greatest military locations.
A popular TikTok reveals difficulties at Fort Stewart in Georgia, weeks after mold infestations in more than a dozen dormitories prompted the Army to evacuate roughly 1,100 soldiers at its largest facility, North Carolina's Fort Bragg.
As the website Military.com reported on Friday, a pattern of mold damage has emerged “across the Army,” and there’s no easy way out.
“Army officials have no plans other than waiting a decade for new facilities," referring to Fort Stewart, according to the outlet.
Military.com reporter Steve Beynon interviewed more than 20 soldiers, and in one instance, an enlisted man who just returned to Fort Stewart after a long deployment in Europe discovered that "mold had completely consumed his room."
Mold had grown on the walls, the bed had become black and green, and most of the soldier's things had been ruined.
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A video shared earlier this week on the popular TikTok account of 'US Army WTF! Moments' showed someone opening two closet doors to uncover walls covered with black mold. 'Fort Stewart barracks,' the video caption read.
@usawtfm They said they were fixing this. 🤔 #usawtfm #armywtfmoments #miltok #fyp ♬ The Home Depot Beat - The Home Depot
One user said that when he was stationed at Fort Stewart years ago, there was a "six-inch mold carpet" on the ceiling. Others reported comparable or worse infestations at other US military bases, including Fort Gordon in Georgia and Camp Pendleton in California.
“But our government is sending money, lots of it, to Ukraine when our military can’t get a safe place to sleep,” another observer said.
Leaders at Fort Stewart and the adjoining Hunter Army Airfield have blamed the mold issue on outdated HVAC systems and high humidity. They responded to the latest infestations by ordering more room inspections and cleanup work by the troops and their enlisted supervisors. The affected barracks are scheduled to be renovated by the end of 2033; a decade from now.
Most of the 7,000 troops whom President Joe Biden sent to Germany earlier this year in response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis came from Fort Stewart.
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This comes amid the US' continuous financial support to Ukraine. At the beginning of the month, the Biden administration asked Congress to approve another $11.7 billion in military aid for Ukraine, a sum included in an emergency funding request for $47.1 billion which will cover funding for the Covid-19 surge, monkeypox, and disaster relief efforts.
$4.5 billion of the Ukraine aid will fund military equipment and the replenishment of Pentagon stockpiles, $2.7 billion on defense and intelligence aid for Ukraine, and the remaining $4.5 billion is dedicated to budgetary support for the government in Kiev.
“We have rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine to defend their democracy, and we simply cannot allow that support to Ukraine to run dry,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a blog post.
$2 billion will also allocate to alleviate the effects of the conflict in Ukraine, as well as Western sanctions imposed on Russia affecting energy supplies in the US.
The US' continuous and unquestionable support of Ukraine raises concerns when it comes to funding the US army. Could the US be more concerned with Ukraine than it is with its own soldiers?
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