American military members around the world have been showing off the inside of their barracks rooms for months in a crowdsourced version of MTV Cribs.
“If you’re in the military and you live in the barracks, use this sound to show off your barracks room,” a soldier named Chandler Flood said in a video posted to TikTok in November as he panned around his room at Fort Benning in Georgia. “Make sure to mention what base you’re at so people can compare.”
The trend has taken off since it debuted last year, perhaps due to Flood having more than 84,000 followers on the platform. Flood’s first video — like the many that have been uploaded since — offers a rare glimpse of life in the junior ranks of the military that goes beyond a shaky-cam panorama of a cramped room shared by two soldiers.
Similar to college dorms in size and appearance, barracks rooms typically house single junior enlisted service members. But what’s notable about the barracks? Frequent shenanigans, as one soldier put it on Rallypoint, a military social network.
“I’ll put it this way. I went to a few frat parties when I came home during my time in service and not once did I feel like I was in over my head when it came to the party life,” another soldier added.
Anyone that has spent any period of time in the barracks knows this, of course. When you have hundreds of young service members all in one place, the military version of a house party is bound to happen and spur everything from drunken fights to spontaneous concerts on the catwalk.
Despite the obvious fact that you’re paying tuition to live in one and you’re being paid to live in the other, there is another major difference between living in a college dorm and living in a barracks. You don’t get to choose which barracks you live in. You can have a good barracks room or a bad one depending on several factors like your duty station, unit assignment, and rank.
So room layouts can be as different as night and day across branches and bases, as the TikTok videos show, with airmen often living alone in large rooms while Marines endure snoring roommates. Indeed, several Marines showed off their rooms at Camp Pendleton in southern California, where having a roommate is common. Though of course, there are always exceptions.
Things look quite different at Fort Polk in Louisiana, where one soldier used a keycard to open a door to reveal a small living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and a walk-in closet. The space left many in awe. “Polk living large compared to [Fort] Hood,” one person commented, mentioning the Central Texas base home to around 40,000 soldiers of the III Armored Corps.
So what’s it like at Fort Hood? Well, that too seems to vary wildly: Standard government-built housing for two people simply looking for a place to sleep (one video bore the hashtag #getmeout) seems to be one option; while others showed off large walk-in closets and roomy single bedrooms that look “like a hotel room,” as one person put it.
Meanwhile, several soldiers showed off spacious digs at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, from a gamer’s paradise to what seems more like a hotel suite than an Army barracks. About 2,000 miles away at Fort Drum in New York, others displayed large rooms with small kitchen areas and walk-in closets, though one soldier — who probably never stepped foot inside a Marine infantry barracks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was not impressed with his digs: “Welcome to my jail cell,” he wrote.
“Fucking shit rooms,” another soldier said of his barracks at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
And at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, a 21-year-old soldier showed off a room that mirrors a small apartment, including a bedroom, bathroom with a tub, and a kitchen with a full-size stove and refrigerator. Many were stunned by the room’s size, though the soldier acknowledged he was likely living “in the top 3” barracks buildings on the Army post, which is home to the 101st Airborne Division and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
The barracks tour traveled much further than that, with hundreds of video tours coming in from as far afield as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, and even Afghanistan. “Wish the Property Brothers were around back then,” one soldier wrote in jest, showing photos from the Afghan city of Kandahar and the spartan living conditions she faced while on deployment. “I bet they could have updated our space.”
And yet, it was a four-person room at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms, California that one person dubbed “the most depressing place on earth.”
But perhaps no one can beat a room shown off by an airman in the dorms — the Air Force doesn’t call them barracks — which is massive compared to other services’ rooms. In fact, this makes us rethink the whole ‘college dorms are different from the barracks’ explanation from earlier.
“And this is why no one [likes the] Air Force,” one person wrote in the comments, to which the airman replied: “Y’all hate [us] cause ya’ll ain’t us.”