The commander of Joint Base San Antonio in Texas on Wednesday launched a review of all the base’s dorms after photos showing out-of-control mold at Lackland dorms hit social media.
The pictures — some of which showed mold spreading across a pillow, a box spring, a video game controller, boots and a uniform sleeve at JBSA-Lackland — were posted on the unofficial Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco Tuesday morning.
After an Air Force Times inquiry, Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, commander of JBSA and the 502nd Air Base Wing, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that she ordered a team of senior leaders to walk through all Lackland dorms within 24 hours to review the situation. Walk-throughs of other dorms elsewhere at JBSA will follow, Lenderman said.
Any concerns with the cleanliness and living conditions at the base’s dorms “will be examined, validated and corrected immediately,” she said.
“We hear the concerns of our community and are immediately assessing the situation,” Lenderman said. “By assessing issues on the ground level, we can develop solutions and promptly apply them.”
Lenderman said wing leadership, dorm management, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center are involved in the effort to fix living conditions at the dorms.
“We take the health and well-being of our residents seriously and want trust between leadership and residents to be constant,” Lenderman said. “As the JBSA commander, guarding the health and safety of our service men and women and their families is my top priority. I’m committed to ensuring all military housing and dorms are safe and well-maintained.”
Lendermen noted that the infrastructure there is aging, and presents challenges. But the base has also put safeguards and oversight into place to make sure the facilities meet standards, though the statement did not detail what those steps included.
The Air Force, along with the rest of the military, has frequently struggled with shoddy conditions at living quarters at bases around the world. Earlier this month, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina pledged to go “room by room” through its lodging facilities after photos hit the amn/nco/snco page showing extremely dirty and crumbling conditions at the Southern Pines Inn.
Spouses from multiple branches of the military testified to lawmakers in February about a wide array of problems, including black mold, lead paint, termites and mice, in privatized military housing, which prompted lawmakers to lambaste Defense Department officials.
And notoriously, Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar suffered widespread black mold problems, which also drew lawmakers’ ire.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.