We Always Drank the Water on Base

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 share-@-civilianexposure.org.


I served in the United States Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from May, 1967 to sometime in late 1968. In 1967, I was part of a group of Marines who were the aggressors for the Reservists that came there for two weeks of training.

We lived in the field and made their lives miserable. We always drank the water on base, showered with it, and washed our mess kits and clothing in it. While in the field training we had so many tick bites we had lumps on our necks from the bites which were infected and they gave us an antibiotic to treat it and kept us from doing these training exercises for a short time. I will be 67 years of age soon and I still have sores on my scalp like I did back then.

I went back into the Marine Corps Reserves and we trained at 29 Palms, California for three two-week training missions from 1982/1983 to 1985/1986 when I left the reserves.  I drank the water and showered in the water there as well and I heard was contaminated. We were also at Parris Island and Camp Geiger.

In 1973 my first daughter was born. She now suffers from migraines like me. Her daughter was born with juvenile diabetes. I have two sons from a second marriage. My son was born in June, 1995 and has a slight form of Asperger’s.  His brother was born in 1997 and has ADHD. I have PTSD along with concentration issues which they claim is either ADD or ADHD.

I wonder if Asperger’s, ADD or ADHD has been reported by some victims of this contamination.


Note from the Editor: 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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