5 Army Installations With Terrible Base Housing

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The U.S. military has bases all over the world boasting nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries. The Army alone has more than 50 in the continental United States.


While some of these places boast good housing with exciting landmarks, fun social atmospheres, and close proximity to all of life’s necessities, the same can’t be said for all installations. Task & Purpose polled its readers to determine which installations are least liked across the service.

Here are the Army’s five worst stations for base housing.

1. Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Considered by our readers to be the worst of the worst, Fort Bragg is spread across Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett, and Moore counties in North Carolina. The nearest city is Fayetteville. Managed by Corvias Military Living, Fort Bragg has nine neighborhoods with an overabundance of houses and schools. However, according to the Automated Housing Referral Network, not all the neighborhoods are equal in quality, nor are the schools. Traffic both in and around the post is reportedly terrible. Since the drawdown, many houses have remained unfilled. Crime has also been an ongoing concern for families living on post. If that weren’t enough, between 2007 and 2011, 12 infants died of mysterious causes.

2. Fort Sill, Oklahoma

None

Fort Sill is home to the Army’s artillery training base. Crime is reportedly an issue off post, but on post the scene is quiet — apparently too quiet. The nearest metropolitan areas are Tulsa and Oklahoma City, which are both more than an hour away by car. Many residents complain about the lack of things to do in the area both for younger service members and for families with children. Additionally, people living both on and off post have reported gang activity in the surrounding area of Lawton. The real problem with Fort Sill, it seems, is Lawton.

3. Fort Bliss, Texas

None

Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, is the third worst base for housing, according to Task & Purpose readers. Many people complained about the actual housing on base, saying that the buildings are old and run down. Since the base is growing, however, the military is renovating, albeit very slowly. Because of how vast Texas is, many residents and former residents say it’s like living on an island in the desert. As a result, some service members and their families have taken to calling the base “Fort Piss” and the surrounding area “Hell Paso.”

4. Fort Campbell, Kentucky

None

Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division. This is one base that people either really love or really hate. Though the cost of living is generally low, families report that basic allowance for housing is just enough to survive. Post traffic can also be very bad. Additionally, many residents are not fans of the lack of amenities save for a Walmart or two. Many families complain about the medical treatment system there as well.

5. Fort Drum, New York

None

Nestled in Watertown, New York, Fort Drum is ranked among the worst Army bases to be stationed. Many residents complain about the weather and its incredibly harsh winters. The base was home to a number of unfortunate drinking-related incidents in the 90s, which earned it the nickname “Fort Drunk.” Service members and families who have been stationed there said that the civilian divide here is very apparent, and can be tricky to navigate.

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Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.

On April 11, 1966, Airman 1st Class William H. Pitsenbarger (played by Jeremy Irvine) responded to a call to evacuate casualties belonging to a company with the Army's 1st Infantry Division near Cam My during a deadly ambush, the result of a search and destroy mission dubbed Operation Abilene.

In the ensuing battle, the unit suffered more than 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached. Despite the dangers on the ground, Pitsenbarger refused to leave the soldiers trapped in the jungle and waved off the medevac chopper, choosing to fight, and ultimately die, alongside men he'd never met before that day.

Decades later, those men fought to see Pitsenbarger's Air Force Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On Dec. 8, 2000, they won, when Pitsenbarger was posthumously awarded the nation's highest decoration for valor.

The Last Full Measure painstakingly chronicles that long desperate struggle, and the details of the battle are told in flashbacks by the soldiers who survived the ambush, played by a star-studded cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, and William Hurt.

After Operation Abilene, some of the men involved moved on with their lives, or tried to, and the film touches on the many ways they struggled with their grief, trauma, and in the case of some, feelings of guilt. For the characters in The Last Full Measure, seeing Pitsenbarger awarded the Medal of Honor might be the one decent thing they pull out of that war, remarks Jackson's character, Lt. Billy Takoda, one of the soldier's whose life Pitsenbarger saved.

There are a lot of threads to follow in The Last Full Measure, individual strands of a larger story that feel misplaced, redacted, or cut short — at times, violently. But this is not a criticism, quite the opposite in fact. This tangled web is part of the larger narrative at play as Scott Huffman, a fictitious modern-day Pentagon bureaucrat played by Sebastian Stan, tries to piece together what actually happened that fateful day so many years ago.

At the start, Huffman — the person who ultimately becomes Pitsenbarger's champion in Washington — wants nothing to do with the airman's story, the medal, or the Vietnam veterans who want to see his sacrifice recognized. For Huffman, it's a burdensome assignment, just one more box to check before he can move on to brighter and better career prospects. Not surprising then that Pentagon bureaucrats and Washington political operators are regarded with skepticism throughout the movie.

When Takoda first meets Huffman, the Army vet grills the overdressed and out-of-his-depth government flack about his intentions, calls him an FNG (fucking new guy) and tosses Huffman's recorder into the nearby river where he's fishing with his grandkids.

Sebastian Stan stars as Scott Huffman alongside Samuel Jackson as Billy Takoda in "The Last Full Measure."(IMDB)

As Huffman spends more time with the grunts who fought alongside Pitsenbarger, and the Air Force PJs who flew with him that day, he, and the audience, come to see their campaign, and their frustration over the lack of progress, in a different light.

In one of the movie's later moments, The Last Full Measure offers an explanation for why Pitsenbarger's award languished for so long. The theory? Pitsenbarger's Medal of Honor citation was downgraded to a service cross, not because his actions didn't meet the standard associated with the nation's highest award for valor, but because his rank didn't.

"The conjecture among the Mud Soldiers and Bien Hoa Eagles is that Pitsenbarger was passed over because he was enlisted," Robinson, who wrote and directed The Last Full Measure, told Task & Purpose.

"As for the events in the film, Pitsenbarger's upgrade was clearly ignored for decades and items had been lost — whether that was deliberate is up for discussion but we feel we captured the spirit of the issues at hand either way," he said. "Some of these questions are simply impossible to answer with 100% certainty as no one really knows."

The cynicism in The Last Full Measure is overt, but to be entirely honest, it feels warranted. While watching the film, I couldn't help but think back to recent stories of battlefield bravery, like that of Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, who ran into a burning Bradley three times in Iraq to pull out his wounded men — a feat of heroism that cost him his life, and inspired an ongoing campaign to see Cashe awarded the Medal of Honor.

There's no shortage of op-eds by current and former service members who see the military's awards process as slow and cumbersome at best, and biased or broken at worst, and it's refreshing to see that criticism reflected in a major war movie. And sure, like plenty of military dramas, The Last Full Measure has some sappy moments, but on the whole, it's a damn good film.

The Last Full Measure hits theaters on Jan. 24.

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