Unable to Get Approved for Lejeune Contamination

The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to [email protected]


My father was stationed at Camp Lejeune – Tarawa Terrace. I was conceived and my mother carried me full term while drinking, cooking and bathing in the toxic water.  I lived the first year of my life on Camp Lejeune living in Tarawa Terrace.

I was diagnosed at Camp Pendleton with multiple medical conditions – seizure disorder and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was treated but struggled most of my life with illnesses, including severe migraines/seizures.

In 2014, my condition became so bad that I was unable to work or function.  I am medically disabled but have not been approved by the VA as a family member.  Even though I still have copies of all my medical records from the early 1970’s from Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, my conditions are not exact matches to what is listed.  I was one of six children – one born before me and four born after me.  I am the only one suffering poor health, severe migraines, joint pain, etc.

In addition to my migraines I have suffered confusion, disorientation and in ability to function.  I have seen so many doctors and have seizures that last up to 6 weeks were I am non functioning.  I have recently hired someone to organize my house because of my illness I have been unable to pay bills and organize mail that my house is so full of stuff that never got put away and not a hoarder but my house was beginning to look really cluttered and full of stuff not organized or put away.

This past week I have filled 4 pick-up trucks with trash.  I have a far way to go before I will feel comfortable again – all of this stuff has created severe anxiety and stress in my life.  This is all a result of me being too sick to clean and organize things over a 3 year period that clutter just accumulated and I was in too much pain to cope.

I am in the process of mass elimination and hope to live a minimalist life after this.

I am frustrated and angry at the military for allowing me to suffer over 50 years of my life and, to date, they refuse me the small amount of benefits that I would be provided as a family member!


Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in North Carolina. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.



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Civilian Exposure is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization/public charity working to Build Awareness, Accountability and Assistance for Civilians Exposed to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination and all citizens exposed to any toxic contamination aboard all U.S. military installations. The effort continues to inform civilian employees and others affected by contamination to receive both the guidance and the justice they deserve.

About the Founder
A 20-year veteran of media, marketing, non-profits and entrepreneurship, Gavin P. Smith leads Civilian Exposure, a non-profit assisting civilians and veterans exposed to U.S. military contamination; the Keta Foundation, a collaborative foundation dedicated to mitigating modern slavery through economic improvement projects in Africa; and Gavin Consulting, a network of virtual experts serving global clients; He is also a former member of the CDC/ATSDR Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel. Mr. Smith holds a Master of Global Management with distinction (Beta Gamma Sigma) from Thunderbird School of Global Management, an MBA from The College of William & Mary Mason School of Business and a BA in History from Wake Forest University.

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