8th Fighter Wing Inspects Kunsan Dorms after Mold Photos Circulate

The 8th Fighter Wing is performing health and welfare checks at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, to help it identify and remedy mold and other moisture-related issues in its on-base housing, after a popular Facebook page published photos and video of affected dorms, wing spokesperson Maj. Emily C. Grabowski told Air Force Magazine in an Aug. 24 email.

The “Air Force amn/nco/snco” Facebook page published anonymous photos and footage on Aug. 13 purporting to show moisture issues in two dormitory buildings—including in an Airman’s individual living quarters.

In response to an inquiry about the posts, Grabowsi previously told Air Force Magazine that moisture issues can spring up as a result of the base’s humid climate—which “record rainfall” so far in 2020 has intensified—and that it was actively taking steps to combat them. 

But news of the housing inspections, which kicked off on Aug. 22, only went public after the Facebook page shared a screenshot of an email announcement submitted by an unidentified Airman.

Inbox via Kunsan Air Base mold: {Can you please stop posting stuff about kunsan dorms so they stop f*cking with us.}

Posted by Air Force amn/nco/snco on Friday, August 21, 2020

Grabowski confirmed the authenticity of the email, which she said “was sent by one of our maintenance squadron first sergeants on Thursday, August 20.”

These checks are common occurrences at the base, and “regularly” involve 8th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Chris B. “Wolf” Hammond and Chief Master Sgt. Ronnie J. Woods, the Wolf Pack’s command chief. During the visits, the leaders “inspect dorm rooms, common areas, laundry facilities, stairwells, and discuss any problem areas they see or hear about with Airman Dorm Leaders.”

“After seeing the troubling images that were circulating last week, wing leadership and our civil engineer squadron were concerned that issues in the dorms were not identified during previous inspections or were not being reported,” she wrote. “As such, our CE squadron recommended the following list for review during welfare checks: room temperature, humidity, dehumidifier status, mold or mildew build-up, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment issues.”

According to Grabowski, the inspections began on Aug. 22 with the base’s three most populous dorms—buildings 535, 504, and 617—though the screenshotted email noted the remaining dorms would be checked “at a later date.” The wing’s command team inspected two more dorms on Aug. 24, Grabowski added.

The 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s chief during an Aug. 14 all-call broached the issue of Airmen sharing quality-of-life related grievances with the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page, Grabowski also acknowledged.

However, she said, the intent of the chief’s comments was to let Airmen know the wing can’t solve problems unless it’s made aware of them.

“If an Airman chooses to share photos of their dorm room in disrepair on Facebook or any other social media platform, although they have every right to do so, wing leadership doesn’t have a chance to address the concern and likely doesn’t even know there is one,” she wrote. “Instead, the chief recommended submitting a work order via the installation app, through an Airman Dorm Leader or through a unit first sergeant. That way, leadership is aware of the issue, our civil engineers know where the issue is, and the wing can fix it.”

She also said 8th Fighter Wing leaders have “in no way advised Airmen” against venting their concerns with the popular Facebook page, and added that the Wolf Pack’s command team have hosted all-calls with each of its squadrons “in recent weeks.” 

These all-calls outlined ways to report issues to the service directly. According to Grabowski, these direct channels include:

  • Reaching out to Airman Dorm Leaders or First Sergeants
  • Utilizing the “AF Connect” app, which can be found in the iOS and Google Play app stores.
  • Sending a direct message to the 8th Fighter Wing command chief via the “8th FW Wolf Chief” Facebook page.
  • Submitting concerns to the Commander’s Hotline, which Airmen can access by visiting this page, selecting “8th Fighter Wing Commander” from the “Recipient” drop-down menu, and sending a message.