Video Shows Mold in Shower Facility After Marine Corps Shuts Down Building and Sends in Inspectors

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U.S. Marines with the School of Infantry-East engage an enemy target point with a M240B machine gun during the Combat Instructor Stakes competition at Camp Geiger, N.C.
U.S. Marines with the School of Infantry-East engage an enemy target point with a M240B machine gun during the Combat Instructor Stakes competition at Camp Geiger, N.C., March 24, 2023. (Cpl. Josiah Johnson/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

After a video was posted online appearing to depict a moldy shower facility, the Marine Corps said that it had already shuttered the building at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, and sent in health professionals to test for hazards, according to a service spokesperson on Monday.

Last week, an Instagram page called "notinregz" posted a video of Marines walking around a shower facility that appeared to have dark splotches of mold growth on the ceiling of the building.

The Marine Corps spokesperson said that the building contained a faulty air conditioning system, which may have contributed to the apparent growth, and that Marines have been provided alternative facilities to use.

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The building belongs to the School of Infantry-East aboard Camp Lejeune, which is one of two infantry schools within the Marine Corps.

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"[The School of Infantry] has been continuously monitoring their buildings," Maj. Josh Pena, a spokesperson for the service's Training and Education Command, told Military.com on Monday, "But they're aware that the buildings -- it's time for them to be refurbished."

When asked if Marines were using it prior to last week, when the video was posted, Pena said, "Apparently they were, so what the school has done in response [is] they sent in health professionals to test everything, to see what's going on."

Days later, Pena told Military.com that leadership said students were briefed not to go into the facility prior to the video being posted.

The recent discovery of what appeared to be mold at the facility follows concerns about living conditions for troops across the services.

In September, the Government Accountability Office released a report that outlined squalid living conditions that many troops experience, to include stagnant water, bug infestations, squatters and broken, mold-propagating air conditioning -- conditions that service members described as "continuous misery" to investigators.

The report found that as of March, 17,000 Marines lived in substandard housing. That is compared to about 5,000 sailors, though investigators noted that the other services did not have standardized tracking requirements, so data was unavailable for the Army and Air Force.

The Army specifically has received intense criticism for its living conditions, which have also included soldiers struggling with mold infestations.

Camp Lejeune and Camp Geiger were not among the Marine Corps facilities that the GAO investigators visited. Air conditioning and HVAC systems generally are important for preventing mold problems, especially in warmer climates such as those in the South.

Pena, the spokesperson, said that the shower facility is currently on the list for refurbishment next year and that it has been closed pending testing and repairs. He also said that the health treatment of the building is ongoing to make sure "that anything that was going in there wasn't dangerous."

"The School of Infantry, the command itself, is inspecting every single building, checking all of the AC units," Pena said. "There are buildings that are going to be getting full refurbishment this next year and that facility in the video is one of them."

The commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps visited Camp Lejeune, which includes Camp Geiger, in October to see the installation's barracks and facilities themselves.

That same week, Gen. Eric Smith, the commandant, said that fixing the barracks is a "10-year problem."

"The fact that we're still living in these barracks, we're not helping our cause," Smith said to Marines during the trip, which was later posted in a video on social media. "So, Sgt. Maj. [Carlos Ruiz] and I [are] working with members of Congress you see here and [the secretary of the Navy] to double the amount of money."

Smith and his senior enlisted counterpart were accompanied by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., a Marine Corps veteran, and Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C.

"The inspecting of the buildings has been ongoing for a while," Pena said of Camp Geiger. "They have been going through checking -- with the whole initiative on the refurbishment of housing facilities for Marines, the whole barracks initiative across the DoD. So, that has not stopped."

Editor's note: This story was updated with new information from the Marine Corps to clarify that the service was aware of the mold before the video was posted online.

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