Why didn't you tell me that some of our military housing would be a bit ... sub-par? I mean, I don't want to gripe too much because it is, after all, a roof over my family. But our current housing leaves a lot to be desired.
My husband is in the Air Force. I met him in Great Falls, Montana where he was stationed at Malmstrom AFB. The first couple of houses we lived in on-base were okay. Nothing swanky, but nothing below what I thought someone in our armed services deserves. We never had a problem with maintenance. They were always friendly and fixed whatever it was we needed to be fixed in a timely manner.
At one point the base started a new housing project. They slowly tore down all the old housing and replaced it with shiny new houses. They were unbelievable! The last house I lived in had vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and dining room. A sitting room and a living room, a downstairs bathroom, a huge laundry room connected to a huge garage, three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Had this been a house off base, I would have bought it!
Then we got orders to Patrick AFB in Cocoa Beach, Fla. I am appalled at the housing here! They knowingly have rat problems in the homes, cockroach problems (I guess in the south they call them Palmetto Bugs, ants, ticks and spider problems.
And I don't mean just the occasional sighting. No matter what you do you can never get control over these things. Every person I have talked to who resides in these homes hates it. If we felt it was safer to live off base we all would. It is not exactly a great area.
The problem that I am seeing is that since military housing became privatized, no one seems to care. It seems like the Housing Office does not care about its tenants and all we are to them is a paycheck. We feel as though the Air Force has washed its hands of the housing situations and no longer care that its men and women are living in conditions no better than low-income housing.
From what I have heard from friends at other bases I am not alone here. I know that there are budget considerations, but I feel as though our men and women in the United States military need to be treated well and that goes for their housing conditions. I am not asking that they give them giant mansions, or even homes equally as large as the commander's home.
I'm just asking not to be living on a crumbling foundation and to deal with a Housing Office that cares that our men and women in uniform can come back to a nice home with ample room, take their boots off and relax. And if they could do that without rats and bugs, so much the better.
Amber Baxter is an Air Force wife currently stationed in Florida.
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