This is the type of temporary lodging awaiting some soldiers of the 29th Brigade Combat Team when they return from Iraq.
Housing woes await returning troops
Tight quarters at Schofield Barracks may force undesirable accommodations
Some 29th Brigade Combat Team soldiers fear they may be forced to live in tents while waiting for discharge in January after spending nearly a year living in modified shipping containers in Iraq.
That's because of the tight housing situation at Schofield Barracks.
"After all that these soldiers have endured in Iraq for almost a year now, do we not have room in hotels or even barracks to put our soldiers in?" asked Melinda Butler, who has a friend serving in the 100th Battalion.
"That's what they have been told. ... The 100th Battalion has been said to be second to none operationally and thus deserves some reward or attention and better treatment when they return."
But both Army officials and Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, who heads the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, said the fears of the soldiers and family members are groundless.
"It's coming from the older soldiers who remember having to live in canvas tents at Area X," said Lee, who shared that experience. While serving in the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion, Lee and other Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers had to live in green Army Vietnam War-era tents erected on concrete slabs at Schofield Barracks while performing their two weeks of summer training.
"That's not going to be the case," said Lee, "no one is going to have to live in tents."
Well, that depends on what one calls a tent.
Stefanie Gardin, 25th Division spokeswoman, yesterday acknowledged that space at the Wahiawa military post is tight, especially since all of Schofield's 6,000 soldiers are back from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 25th Division's 2nd Brigade also is growing and getting nearly 1,000 additional soldiers as part of the Army's program to remold it into one of its newest Stryker combat teams.
Both Lee and Gardin acknowledged that some of the 1,500 soldiers of the 29th Brigade Combat Team who live on the neighbor islands, Guam, American Samoa, or Saipan, will be housed in barracks, family housing units that are being remodeled, and structures called "sprungs."
Gardin described a sprung as a 16-foot by 13-foot fabric structure, insulated with fiberglass, cooled by air conditioning and built on a concrete slab. "Each will house 10 soldiers," Gardin said.
Lee said every attempt will be made to minimize the number of soldiers who will have to live in sprungs.
"But these are not tents like my older soldiers remember," Lee said.
Lee said the 700 29th Brigade Combat Team soldiers who live on Oahu will be able to go home each day.