Garamendi was joined by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee, and Major General Vincent Coglianese, Commander of Marine Corps Installations Command. The delegation surveyed the damage Hurricane Florence caused to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and observed housing units as well as the largest depot in the Air Force Materiel Command at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
“The situation at Camp Lejeune was worse than I could have imagined. The base sustained significant damage from Hurricane Florence and has a long way to go to fully recover. I spoke with numerous military families and leadership at the base who lived through this horrible storm, and whose lives continue to be severely impacted by the slow recovery efforts,” Garamendi said. “The base requires nearly $4 billion in additional support to fully recover from the disaster. Sadly, the Trump administration decided to raid over $1 billion from the military’s budget to fund the President’s ill-advised border wall rather than providing relief and stability for our military installations and servicemembers.”
“That’s money that could have helped servicemembers and their families recover from this disaster, but instead will support the President’s vanity wall,” Garamendi continued. “The men and women of Camp Lejeune have gone over six months without the support they need to care for our nation’s security—we need to act immediately. I urge the Trump administration to work with Congress to provide the relief and support our servicemembers require rather than wasting additional money on an ineffective border wall.”
“At Tinker Air Force Base, our delegation was joined by Congresswoman Kendra Horn (D-OK) where we toured the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center,” Garamendi continued.
“We studied the issue of privatized military housing firsthand after I convened a hearing on the matter in the Readiness Subcommittee,” Garamendi continued. “Military families across the nation have reported serious health and safety issues with military housing managed by private contractors. We’ve reviewed reports about lead paint and mold causing serious health issues for servicemembers and their families, and concerns about the oversight and management of housing units.”
“This treatment of our servicemembers is an outrage. Our men and women in uniform and their families who serve our country should have access to safe and quality housing. Additionally, they should receive the appropriate response and support from the private contractor and their chain of command when issues arise at their home. As Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, I’ll continue working to ensure that Congress and the Department of Defense address this issue and provide the best possible living conditions for our servicemembers and their families,” Garamendi concluded.
Additionally, the congressional delegation attended the following meetings at Tinker Air Force Base:
- Met with the Commanding General of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Lt Gen Gene Kirkland to discuss issues related to Air Force maintenance missions. Discussions focused on predictive maintenance, conditions-based maintenance and the use of analytics to help the Air Force make better strategic decisions on maintenance schedules and spare parts management to improve air craft availability.
- Toured the KC-135 depot maintenance division of the Oklahoma Air Logistics Complex to better understand the maintenance schedule of the platform and the benefits of additive manufacturing being used to refurbish the platform.
- Met directly with the directors of the additive manufacturing division of the depot to discuss their research and spare parts designs.
- Met with the Directors of Software Enterprise who work to integrate and update software on Air Force platforms.
- Lastly, the delegation toured the Oklahoma Air Logistics Complex with the base commander to discuss upcoming military construction projects, specifically the maintenance hangers coming online for the KC-46A.