Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I wrote base command today.

To Whom It May Concern in Base Command for WRNMMC-Bethesda:
     As I am sure you are well aware (I hope), the residents of Building 62 currently do not have latrine use. We all received a slip of paper under our doors on May 21 informing us of an outrage to last from 1800-2000. I returned home at approximately 2200, and used the facilities in my room. The toilet did not work. I called down to the front desk and had a very constructive conversation with an Army personnel there about the importance of informing residences of the extended latrine outage. I was quite upset, due to the fact that there is human waste in my toilet that I now could not dispose of properly. Thankfully, I do not have children in the room so I did not have to watch out for young hands and curious minds wandering into the bathroom. I was told at that point, 2200, the toilets should be
working again around midnight. This of course did not happen, and sometime between midnight and this morning another slip of paper was deposited under my door to inform me of an extended outage. I called the front desk again to ask, but they did not have any information. As it is policy any sailor or soldier here to perform their 24 hour duty at the front desk in this building, they often don't know anything useful and many residents have had problems with information distribution due to this policy.

     Sir or Madame, I don't think you understand how neglected the residences of this building can feel at times. We are forced to live here and tolerate any conditions thrown at us. I know that my wounded warrior and I hold up our end by keeping the place clean, not being destructive (I have yet to so much as crack a coffee mug), and attend all appointments. It seems that those who manage this building don't have any ends to keep up. We tolerate showers that don't drain, an excessively dark parking lot that is not handicap accessible in any real way, cell phone reception that is spotty at best, elevators that don't work (two were out at one time in the East Wing not too long ago), unreliable internet connection, random room inspections that occur at any time, and now we must have solid human waste in our toilets for an extended and unknown amount of time. When is enough, enough? When should the residents do what they have to do to make sure we are at least heard? What measures do we need to consider to make sure the right people know about this building, its year- long growing pains, and complete lack of useful information from the people who work our front desk area? What would you do, exactly? It isn't one issue or the other. It's everything, and now these “little hiccups” have reached unsanitary heights. If we weren't forced to live here perhaps these matters wouldn't seem so important. But at the moment, I feel unheard and completely neglected. I have often wondered if base command knows about the things that go on in this building. How could you and your co-workers know and not contact us, ask us what we need, or make necessary changes? We are not entitled, we just simply want things that everyone else has. Not only do our soldiers give up their limbs, they and their families also give up their freedom for as long as they need treatment, and now we can't even be forced to live in a sanitary building. Please listen to me. I am personally at my wits' end with this place, and I can assure you I am not the only one. This has got to be the end of the road for the insanity. Changes are always coming but they are so rarely actually ever made. I hope, finally, someone of importance here at the hospital takes the residents and complaints of Building 62 seriously. We are reaching our limits.


** It took 24 hours, but the bathrooms work. The hospital has responded to my letter- several departments, actually. I am still reserved about the ability of those in charge to properly address these issues (many of which shouldn't be issues at all). I am terrified of what I did today and the people who now know my name. But I still stand by my actions and my willingness to be so honest and open about these issues. So much of this could have been prevented. I hope real change is in the process, because I know I'm not done yet. 


  1. Good for you. It was elegant, on point, and far kinder than I could have been.
    Hopefully this will create the changes you seek.

  2. You did completely the right thing. Had things not gotten fixed, if problems continue, or you have other concerns, contact your Congressperson...they should have one person in the District office devoted to constituent affairs (which this qualifies) and one in their DC office for military affairs (which this also qualifies).

  3. i think you were great! I wish there was something I could do....hmmmmm....I wonder if Public Affairs would be interested in this.

    I'm in DC! we just moved here. If you ever wanna get together that would be awesome!

    missrhe81 at yahoo dot com

  4. You did absolutely the right thing, and I am very envious of your courage. I have been hearing more and more lately about the horrendous living conditions of military members--active duty and wounded warriors alike. My cousin's husband was at Walter Reed before it shut down, and I've heard some of the stories.

    We're currently living in Base housing in Kansas, and dealing with a recurring flooding base and subsequent mold problem. After jumping through hoops for the past four months, we were finally told they would let us move if one of our family members were allergic to mold. My husband tested positive for mold allergy, and now they are backpedaling. We finally filed a formal IG complaint, but we aren't sure that is going to be enough since the CE Commander seems very adept at finding loop holes. I wish I had the guts to write to the Base Commander or a Congressperson so that those in power may step up and finally do something to ensure healthy living conditions for all military members & their families! But as the wife of an A1C, I worry about the impact pushing the issue could have on my husband's career.

  5. You are awesome for doing this. I had to raise a fuss about a pay issue a year ago, and everyone in my husband's unit hated me for it. It's not the Army thing to do to speak up apparently, but sometimes it needs to be done!