FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker is in the midst of making a major furniture upgrade to its barracks facilities to make life a little more comfortable for the Soldiers living in them.
While many of the barracks buildings on post are in dire need of being replaced, the Fort Rucker team is fully committed to doing everything it can to make Soldiers comfortable in their homes, according to Col. Whitney B. Gardner, garrison commander.
“We are the Army’s home, and it’s our mission to do everything we can to provide quality living quarters for our Soldiers, whether they are serving here as permanent party or they are here for training,” Gardner said. “This is just another of our efforts to make Fort Rucker a great place for Soldiers to live, work, train and play.”
That effort, over the past three years, has resulted in the replacement of furniture in all 14 permanent party buildings and seven of the barracks for temporary residents, according to Conny Earley, Directorate of Public Works Housing Division. The improvements include new beds, mattresses, three-drawer chests, two-drawer night stands, table desks, chairs and lamps in living quarters.
Along with that, two buildings of dayroom furniture have been replaced, which includes sofas, chairs, lamps, tables and chairs, and televisions, she said, adding that one building also received new washers and dryers, and micro-fridge combinations.
“We will continue to program replacements for the rest as we go,” she said, adding that 11 training barracks are yet to be refurnished. “Some of the old pieces of furniture we removed were big and cumbersome – they took up a lot of space. Since the Army has gone to metal furniture, the product quality has greatly improved.”
So far, resident reviews have been positive, she added.
“Soldiers are loving the new beds – they are more comfortable than the older ones,” she said. “We’re always thinking of ways to improve our barracks. We also have a military construction project to build a new Advanced Individual Training Complex, which will allow us to repurpose the old complex and do away with the oldest buildings.”
That project is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2027, but Joseph Wyka, DPW director, added that local leadership asked the Army to move it up to FY 2023 because of the dire need at Fort Rucker, but no decision has been made.
“We have a training population that changes over very frequently,” Wyka said. “Those Soldiers have an incredibly demanding training schedule, so they are in and out of their rooms very frequently. That puts a high demand on the furniture, so this is exciting for us to get to replace this much furniture.
“The Army spends a lot of time researching, developing and improving barracks furniture, so this latest installation will be the best furniture that the Army has to offer to our Soldiers,” he added. “The barracks buildings may be outdated, but at least we can make the interiors nice.
“At end of the day, when Soldiers are training 16-18 hours maybe, and they go home to their barracks, at least they will have a good bunk to sleep on, and they have a cabinet and a wardrobe that works,” Wyka said. “I think it contributes a lot to their quality of life and ability to train effectively.”