Florida’s Senators, Matt Gaetz Want Army to Address Lack of Childcare Facilities for 7th Special Forces Group

On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., urged U.S. Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy to address the lack of childcare facilities for members of the 7th Special Forces Group (7th SFG) based in Crestview.

Currently, the operators, soldiers, and families at the 7th SFG currently must travel to the main Eglin Air Force Base for childcare. This drive can take up to four hours from Crestview when done twice a day, greatly impacting the readiness of service members.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary McCarthy:

We write to raise an urgent issue affecting operators, soldiers, and families at the 7th Special Forces Group (7th SFG) based in Crestview, Florida. These brave Americans, who fight for our country daily, are at a disadvantage when it comes to child care services. Members of the 7th SFG community have highlighted to us that the lack of childcare facilities has greatly impacted readiness.

Unfortunately, our operators and their families must currently take their children to main Eglin Air Force Base for childcare. This drive can take as long as an hour in each direction during rush hour. This means that a soldier or a soldier’s family could spend up to four hours a day driving to and from Eglin Air Force Base. Such a lengthy time commitment places a heavy burden on service members and their families.

Members of the 7th SFG regularly deploy and engage in combat operations, and the serious nature of kinetic conflict requires the complete attention of participants. When our operators are thinking about the strain on their families at home, rushing to and from childcare, or sitting in traffic, they are not focused on the mission to engage and destroy the enemy. Furthermore, traveling to and from Eglin AFB can cause delays, late arrivals, accidents and other unforeseen events, none of which is conducive to military readiness and discipline.

Our offices will be exploring congressional authorization and appropriation options to confront this problem, and welcome your thoughts and suggestions. This nation’s elite warriors risk their lives in the name of freedom and democracy; we must ensure their families are taken care of. We look forward to working with you to ensure that this deficiency is addressed quickly and effectively.

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