Sgt. Maj. Jason Collins, a member of the elite Green Berets, has been deployed 18 times over the course of his career in the Air Force. He was in combat in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for valor. As he nears the end of his career, Sgt. Maj. Collins is serving as an instructor at US Special Operations Command’s Joint Special Operations University.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Blaine Jones is the first Marine every selected to be the Joint Operations senior enlisted advisor for the US Central Command. He has been deployed 9 times and served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has earned a Bronze Star for valor.
The pair are senior enlisted leaders at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, but that’s not all they have in common: both servicemen also filed complaints with the Inspector General’s office at MacDill regarding mold and other issues with their on-base, privately owned and managed housing at Harbor Bay at MacDill. They also filed complaints concerning the lack of adequate response by the owners and managers of the on-base housing, which owns and operates 527 residential units.
Both service men are amongst around a handful of others who have come forward to share their stores about mold issues at MacDill Air Force Base; an issue that has received a great deal of attention and has ushered tremendous shock from the general public.
Complaints from these service members and their families include severe health problems that they believe are directly associated with the mold they were exposed to in their on-base housing. They say that maintenance either ignored their complaints about the mold or took too long to respond. In some cases, service members had to continue paying Harbor Bay, even after they moved out of the houses they felt were unsafe.
Massiel Villanueva’s husband is an officer stationed at Special Operations Command Central. She said that after living in the housing at MacDill, the couple’s son developed so many medical issues that he had to be hospitalized multiple times, including one stay at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Complaints came after the grievances of at least 10 other families who had spoken out about mold problems in their military housing units. In many cases, those families also experienced health issues.
In reference to the mold issues, Sgt. Jones said, “This is the worst place I have ever been for base housing.” He was forced to move his wife and their four children into a camper at MacDill’s family campground because the issues were so bad at Harbor Bay.
Mold Inspection & Testing Tampa has performed numerous mold assessments in residential and commercial buildings in the city and the surrounding areas. We strongly urge the owners and operators of Harbor Bay to schedule routine mold assessments to protect the health and safety of the service members and the families who live there. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 813.358.4768.