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’m subject to disabling autonomic nervous system disorders, diseases & problems. Exposed to toxins in base housing. Both in utero on El Toro, and age 5-10 for exposures on Lejeune (as it turns out a volatile time for neurological development).
I was a very outdoorsy kid, beholden to lots of rashes at the time, plus a few flu like moments of memory. My late mother insists that the water had an effect on me that she witnessed at the time. Disabled from related conditions, however, I have grown dissatisfied with the response by the Marine Corps and our representatives.
Just through the morbid tables of actuarial stats, enough people have died (related to issues or not). By sheer act of will, the surviving people who are disabled from this disaster are in a position to ask the VA or Dept of the Navy for some kind of monetary settlement. In the private sector this would have been handled years ago. I fear that the government is watching those same actuarial tables to determine when the cost/benefit is to “dealing” with the disabled dependents.
I was recently told by the SSA that my neurological condidtion no longer existed or effected me, which of course, is news to me. I still have to live with it every minute. I’m appealing their decision, which seemed to be based on the non-clinical opinion of an evaluator in Nashville. They may be the most rude government employee I’ve ever had to interact with.
As I tumble through the piles of paperwork to appeal to the SSDA that, after 12 years, an autonomic nervous system disease didn’t just get better, I grow more frustrated. I feel as though I may be a part of a group from the Cold War era that supported our fathers as they flew missions off the North Atlantic while they were assured of our own safety on base. Our safety is and has been in serious question for some time now. Congress did a little in 2012 regarding this matter, but I want more out of them in 2019.
I’ve prepared the requisite forms with the evaluation of a physician to the VA for consideration. My ability is hindered to be as much of an activist regarding this matter as I would like. However, I am also drafting letters to Reps. Duncan and Black, plus Senator Alexander, as they are my representatives. I would like to pursue this to the benefit of others effected as well as my own predicament.
The safety of base housing has a direct effect on troop readiness and capability. Our Marines can’t function if they’re concerned with matters from home where the base/government had assured them it would be fine. This was not the case 30+ years ago and it is not the case now.
Feel free to comment with a note to me directly if you would like to help me get representative attention and legislative action on this matter. I will be conducting this effort with a good dose of retrospective resentment & disappointment.
Thank you for what you have been doing. This is a horrible situation for many people that must be resolved.
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Maryville, Tennessee. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.