By by Tina Ray, ParaglideOctober 16, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Old barracks on Fort Bragg are being razed to make way for new ones.
Don Talbot, an Army retiree, said he lived in Fort Bragg barracks in 1963 and said he is pleased to see the demolition of the old barracks.
"Nothing lasts forever, so they need to build new barracks to keep up with the times. Having spent some time in tents, barracks of any kind beats living on the ground," Talbot said. "I am pleased to see the Y-generation getting new barracks as the old buildings are literally falling down around the troops."
The condition of the Korean War-era barracks, also known as hammerhead barracks, gained national attention when the father of an 82nd Airborne Division Soldier posted a video on YouTube.
Ed Frawley posted the video and seemed pleased to hear of the razing of the barracks.
"I am as pro-Army as you can get," Frawley said. "I am so proud of what these kids do that I get choked up. We don't do enough for them."
The initiative is all part of Whole Barracks Renewal, Phase Five, said Allen Hand, resident engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. The project has been ongoing for a decade.
"In this particular project, we're going to clear off the 13 barracks buildings and then we're going to come back with two, 222-man barracks," Hand said.
The new barracks feature two-person suites and a shared kitchen that will include a refrigerator, cook top, sink, microwave and cabinets.
Each suite will also house its own bathroom, Hand said. Laundry rooms will be located conveniently throughout the building.
Pvt. Rayvon Foster, 23, a fire direction control Soldier with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment said the new barracks on Gruber Road are much like a hotel.
"The barracks are new-age. You can get the same things like living in a hotel," Foster said. "You have your own space. You have a bathroom in the room. It's like high-quality."
Spc. Christopher Solomon, an ammunition team chief with the 2nd BCT, 319th AFAR, said the new barracks are in better condition than the old ones. Solomon, 25, who also lives in the BCT barracks on Gruber Road, said he likes the walk-in closets and hotplates.
In June 2008, the Department of Army and Congress inserted the Fort Bragg building projects into the 2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act, essentially expediting barracks construction on the installation.
Originally, Fort Bragg had 50 hammerhead barracks that were built in the early 1950s and housed the 82nd Airborne Division, Glen Prillaman, chief, master planning division, said in an email.
The first of those barracks was demolished in 1999 as part of the construction of the barracks complex for the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, Prillaman said.
Since 1999, Fort Bragg has demolished 38 hammerhead barracks with nine of those hammerheads coming down this summer.
Four more hammerheads will be demolished in the next few weeks, he said. The last eight hammerhead barracks will not be demolished until 2014 because the barracks will be used as swing space until military construction is complete for fiscal year 2011.
Prillaman said that 59 new barracks have been built on Fort Bragg since the Army began the new standard in 1994. To date, the Army has invested $1.5 billion in renovating existing barracks or building new barracks on Fort Bragg.