By Wendy ArevaloJuly 1, 2019
FORT KNOX-Ky. - As part of the ongoing efforts to address housing concerns of Soldiers and their families, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) took quick action, inspecting more than 435 dwellings over a period of 10 days.
After a Military Family Advisory Network survey brought to light deficiencies in military housing across multiple military bases, the Department of the Army directed senior commanders to complete an inspection of installation housing within 30 days. The Army also directed senior commanders to conduct town halls in conjunction with their installation's privatized housing company to give families a forum to voice concerns.
In response to the order, 1st TSC conducted inspections of 232 homes and 204 barracks rooms, according to Lt. Col. James Crocker, commander, Special Troops Battalion (STB), 1st TSC.
The 1st TSC also participated in a series of town halls hosted by Fort Knox garrison. The command hosted their own All Hands on May 1 to address any additional housing concerns of 1st TSC Soldiers and their family members.
Crocker said his staff began visiting homes Feb. 25, 2019 and completed the bulk of the inspections by March 8, 2019.
Command Sgt. Maj. Carey Welsh, senior enlisted advisor, STB, 1st TSC, said the command worked in conjunction with the garrison leadership, Fort Knox Department of Public Works and the privatized housing management company on post, Knox Hills, to perform the inspections.
Crocker discussed the importance of taking a proactive approach to the inspections.
"Our job as leaders is to ensure the readiness of our units in order to accomplish the mission," Crocker said. "Family readiness is an important component of that. If we're not helping Soldiers with their housing, we are degrading family readiness which distracts Soldiers from their mission."
Some of the problems identified during the home visits included mold, water leaks, and a couple of significant electrical problems, Crocker said.
One home had a major problem with its foundation, which caused the house to flood when it rained, but according to Crocker, the problem was quickly fixed by Knox Hills.
Life, health and safety issues were identified in 10 of the homes. One family had to be relocated permanently due to mold, while three families were temporarily moved while the issues were repaired by Knox Hills.
Even though the required inspections have been done, and issues have been corrected, Crocker said 1st TSC leadership will continue to periodically visit their Soldiers' living quarters to ensure they are in good shape as well as inspect all new homes in family housing.
"When a Soldier signs for a home from Knox Hills, within a limited time period, (within two to three weeks) we need to go look at that home too, just to make sure what they get is in suitable condition to move into," Crocker said.
For Welsh, visiting the homes of Soldiers and family members actually brought the command closer together.
"It gave us-senior leadership-an opportunity to engage with them in a different environment," Welsh said.
In addition, it made life better for 1st TSC Soldiers.
"We fixed some issues, and we made Soldiers and their families happy," Welsh said.