BLACKSTONE, Va. (WSET) — A Congressman representing Central Virginia is asking questions about the quality of life for soldiers at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Nottoway County.
Thousands of Afghan refugees poured into Virginia over the summer as a result of the United States Military pulling out of Afghanistan. Gov. Ralph Northam said in late August that the Commonwealth had received 6000 refugees and more were expected. The refugees were sent to either Fort Lee near Petersburg or Fort Pickett in Blackstone after being processed and receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.
About 10% of those refugees, Gov. Northam said, would end up staying in Virginia.
Fast forward a few months, and Afghan refugees are still at Fort Pickett. Republican Congressman Bob Good said Tuesday that "Virginians deserve to know the truth about the conditions" there, and that he was "demanding answers" from fort leaders.
In a letter to Brigadier General Richard A. Harrison, dated Tuesday, Rep. Good starts, "I am writing to inquire regarding the conditions facing our soldiers as they await deployment from Fort Pickett."
Good continues, stating his office has received "concerning reports, photos and videos" from his constituents that show soldiers at Fort Pickett sleeping outside in tents, claiming the barracks are occupied by Afghan refugees.
"These reports indicate that our soldiers are sleeping in temperatures below 40 degrees, have been denied hot meals, and have limited opportunities to shower as they prepare for deployment," Good writes.
His letter requests answers to the following questions by no later than Thursday:
"Virginians deserve transparency regarding matters that impact the men and women who serve in our National Guard," Rep. Good closed.
Previous reports have noted several issues stateside with the Afghan resettlement program. Unvaccinated refugees in Virginia tested positive for measles, potentially exposing Americans at Fort Pickett, the Army National Guard base southeast of Farmville.
More than 700 Afghan evacuees were said to have departed military bases prematurely, before receiving proper resettlement services.
In another incident last month in Montana, an Afghan teen who is part of the federal resettlement program was charged in the rape of an 18-year-old.