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Enhancing Quality of Life at Fort Liberty: Multiple Fixes Underway

Leaders at one of the Army’s largest installations are actively addressing both short- and long-term challenges plaguing the post. These issues include overflowing trash, outdated roads, barracks in need of updates, and shortages in school and child care facilities.

In the short term, reports of trash overflow at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, surfaced recently, prompting swift action from the garrison leadership in response to media coverage. Accumulations of garbage, including furniture, trash bags, cardboard, and food containers near living quarters, were observed across the post.

Expressing his dissatisfaction, Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, emphasized the unacceptability of the situation during a phone call with reporters on Thursday.

Immediate measures involved deploying extra trash containers to manage the overflow, as explained by Col. John Wilcox, the garrison commander at Fort Liberty. The contracted waste disposal company faced operational challenges due to equipment issues, resulting in 40% of dumpsters remaining full by Friday. Efforts were underway to address the backlog in trash collection.

While details of the contractor’s circumstances were not disclosed, Donahue assured reporters that a more permanent solution would be announced in the coming week to prevent a recurrence of the issue.

The broader infrastructure issues at Fort Liberty are reflective of challenges seen throughout the Army and other military branches. The Pentagon unveiled a new Strategy for Resilient and Healthy Defense Communities aimed at addressing quality of life enhancements, including infrastructure repairs and upgrades at installations.

Priority areas for improvement encompass barracks renovations, enhancements to child development centers, and compliance with health and safety codes. Notably, the focus is on upgrading facilities to enhance functionality, as highlighted by officials.

For instance, at Fort Liberty, attention was drawn to soldier housing concerns in 2022 when inadequate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning standards led to the relocation of 1,200 soldiers due to safety issues. Subsequent inspections revealed conditions conducive to mold growth, prompting corrective actions.

Efforts are underway to address the shortage of barracks rooms on the installation, with plans for constructing three new barracks buildings over the next decade to add 476 bed spaces. In the interim, some soldiers will be accommodated off-post, while utilizing junior enlisted family houses within the Saint Mere Eglise neighborhood.

To cater to families with children, plans are in progress for a new child development center and additional facilities to accommodate more children. The installation is also collaborating with Cumberland County to establish a new high school offering a specialized Science Technology Engineering Math curriculum in partnership with North Carolina colleges and universities.

Furthermore, discussions are ongoing regarding the construction of a new XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters, consolidating multiple operational units into a joint deployment warfighting complex. This initiative aims to streamline planning, coordination, and execution functions within a centralized location.

Efforts to enhance transportation infrastructure are also underway, with a significant portion of federal funds allocated towards improving major road networks over the next five to ten years. This initiative is crucial for ensuring smooth access for soldiers, families, and civilian personnel on and off the post.

In conclusion, leaders at Fort Liberty are actively engaged in addressing the immediate challenges while laying the groundwork for long-term improvements to enhance the overall quality of life and operational efficiency at the installation.