Army responds to report of mold in soldiers' rooms

Monday, August 18th 2008, 1:08 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

FORT SILL, Okla. - Army officials at Fort Sill denied a report Monday that they ignored complaints about mold in wounded soldiers' rooms.

"The implication that we don't care about our soldiers or that their concerns for their billets go unheeded for months is simply not true," Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjil said.

USA TODAY published a front-page story about how mold was growing in the Warrior Transition Unit. The unit was created in January for soldiers after poor conditions forced their removal from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Fort Sill's unit currently houses 74 soldiers.

The newspaper reported that 20 soldiers said they had complained about the mold and were told not to talk about it.

Army officials said they became aware of the problem during a routine inspection in April, and quickly moved to fix the problem.

Cracks in outside walls allowed water to seep in behind the bricks and mold formed on the dorm room's walls, officers said.

"We are working and all of our staff is working to make things better," Sgt. Angel Santiago said.

Officials said the order to soldiers not to talk about the mold problems came from an inspector and it was a mistake.

"He should have been more concerned about what those soldiers perceived, because they didn't know," Vangjil said.