Wicker Questions Air Force Chief on Keesler Housing Issues
Miss. Senator Probes Ongoing Mold Problems in Base Housing
March 7, 2019
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today attended a hearing to consider issues with military housing. Wicker asked military leaders about ongoing mold problems at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and their efforts to remediate the underlying moisture.
“This has been an ongoing problem for quite some time, dating back as far as 2011 at Keesler,” Wicker said. “Some of the information we have gotten from the military members there is that this has been a surface attempt to go in and clean the affected area with soap and water.”
Wicker asked General David L. Goldfein, who is chief of staff of the Air Force, to comment on his experience visiting Keesler to view the problems firsthand.
Gen. Goldfein said that his experience with military housing as a child and parent was very different from the experiences he now sees military families facing in Mississippi.
Gen. Goldfein told Wicker that airmen are worried about the health of their children, safety of their neighborhoods, and the fear of reprisal for speaking up about health conditions on base.
“So as we look to the long term fixes… we have to get at those three issues,” Gen. Goldfein said.
He emphasized the importance of holding accountable underperforming contractors and the military command chain.
“Where we have failed is to ensure that we have command chain involvement, oversight, leadership, quality control, and follow up,” Gen. Goldfein said.
Wicker also asked Gen. Goldfein to address allegations that the contractors at Keesler have not been adequately managing the Moisture Remediation Project (“MRP”), which is intended to repair ongoing mold issues in base housing. In the summer of 2018, 11 families filed a lawsuit alleging the private contractor that manages Keesler Housing was conspiring to conceal dangerous conditions by only providing surface level treatments to abate the mold.