FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Thousands of Screaming Eagle Soldiers live in 67 barracks across the installation, and part of their duty is to keep their living spaces in prime condition for their own quality of life and for the Army’s next generation.
With that in mind, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) will conduct a comprehensive barracks assessment from Aug. 16 through Nov. 26 to make sure all units are meeting Army Barracks Management Program, or ABMP, standards.
“What we have today is what we’re going to have for the next 10-plus years,” said Mark Herndon, chief of Unaccompanied Soldier Housing, Single Soldier Housing and ABMP, Directorate of Public Works. “No construction is programmed on Fort Campbell until 2029, and barracks specifically are enduring structures. Regardless of what you think could be improved, Soldiers have got to take ownership of them and maintain them to the best ability possible so that they’re here 50 years down the road.”
Inspections will cover several areas, from room assignments and rosters to work order tracking and environmental conditions.
“The assessment will also gauge the level and impact of leadership involvement in barracks management by assessing cleanliness, serviceability, security and safety of barracks rooms and common areas,” Herndon said.
The installation plans to include them in the annual Command Inspection Program moving forward, he said.
“A lot of people may look at this assessment as a thorn in their side,” he said. “But at the end of the day, no matter what we find, the good, the bad or the ugly, everything is wrapped around quality of life for the Soldier.”
Barracks conditions are a top priority for the division’s senior leadership, which means multiple organizations are going to be involved with the inspections. Units can expect to see division-level personnel, DPW employees and Environmental Health representatives from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.
“We’re trying to be proactive,” Herndon said. “This is not necessarily a punitive assessment. It’s an assessment to see where the units and Fort Campbell as a whole are so that courses of action can be developed to ensure we get in compliance if we’re not or find places we need to adjust.”
Herndon said the team is planning to spend a week evaluating each unit’s footprint, but Soldiers are responsible for maintaining the barracks year-round.
“In essence, that barracks room is their apartment,” he said. “They’re required to do the same thing as anybody else that owns a home or rents an apartment: correct deficiencies within their level, report them through the work order system if it’s not and then follow-through with it.”
Soldiers can submit work orders through the Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA, which can be accessed through the Digital Garrison app or by registering for an account by visiting https://armymaintenance.com/arma. For emergencies, they should instead call the DPW hotline at 270-798-1200.
ArMA has several features aimed at streamlining the work order process. Soldiers can submit photos with work orders, track their progress and set alternate points of contact to improve repair times. Users without easy access to their government email can also use another Soldier as a sponsor to confirm their registration.
“It can put in work orders for anything from plumbing and electrical systems to a locksmith or the building’s interior,” said Spc. Arianna Holt, barracks manager, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Abn. Div. “Living conditions have improved since it launched, because Soldiers don’t have to make a trip to the barracks management office. They can just put in the work order within five minutes.”
Holt said ArMA also is faster and more user-friendly than the installation’s previous work order system, and maintenance workers often arrive within one day to correct problems.
“The system we had before was very delayed, and I wasn’t able to track my own work orders,” Holt said. “Now I’m able to put in a work order and track it, and DPW workers can contact me instead of having to go through a representative.”
However, Soldiers should make sure to keep up with the work order process and use the app’s option to include alternative points of contact.
“A lot of times, the Soldiers don’t use it or tell their leader and it’s not followed up on,” Herndon said. “Or a Soldier does use it, but when they list a point of contact, they don’t provide an alternate. When a Soldier’s at the range, for instance, and the maintenance worker comes to the room, they can’t access it because they can’t go in by themselves.”
Herndon recommends Soldiers list a roommate or barracks manager as an alternate, which can speed up repair times and help maintain quality living conditions.
“Keeping your barracks clean makes it last longer, and I’d want to move into a room that’s still fairly new,” said Spc. Brandon Antolin, 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st CAB. “It helps maintain a Soldier’s mental preparedness. If you’re in a run-down barracks with poor living conditions, it definitely affects performance.”
A failing barracks can have that effect on multiple Soldiers and create a distraction for unit leaders, which Herndon said directly impacts mission readiness.
“Barracks are a combat multiplier,” he said. “If you don’t maintain the barracks, you’re not maintaining that so-called piece of equipment or Army property. It’s a day-to-day team effort to make sure they’re maintained, and it starts at the Soldier level.”