Fort Bragg in the Seventies


A description of on-post housing in the 1970s; rundown housing and drug use; financial problems of enlisted personnel and families




I lived in enlisted housing at Fort Bragg while my husband was stationed there. Back then, the housing was really awful. Everything was really old, and the kitchen sink used to back up all the time. When we finally called housing because we could not unstop it, they sent over a plumber who said that the pipes had gotten tangled up and clogged with tree roots over the years. Everything needed a coat of paint, but even before that, the plaster on the walls was peeling off and falling down.
Also, there were a lot of shady characters living there. Some of the families were a real mess, fighting all the time, late at night, drinking and making a ton of noise. People used to use drugs a lot back then, too. Sometimes you could smell marijuana smoke as you were walking down the street.
We were supposed to keep our yards tidy and neat, but not everyone did. You could get a ticket for having your yard a mess, or even for having an oil spill on the driveway. But inside people’s houses could be really nasty. There was one lady who really young but had a bunch of kids, and I think she was overwhelmed. They always had to go to Army Emergency Relief for food at the end of the month because they ran out of money. It turned out that her husband had bought a lot of stuff on layaway, and all their money was going to the payments. They didn’t have anything to eat but baloney sandwiches. I heard that he refused to return all the stuff that he had bought, and eventually he got kicked out of the military.

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