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 am subject to disabling autonomic nervous system disorders, diseases & problems due to exposure to toxins in base housing from 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, and 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 Corps and our representatives. Just look through the morbid tables of actuarial stats to see that enough people have died (related to issues or not). By sheer act of will, the surviving people who are disabled from this disaster are able to be 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 see when the cost-benefit to “dealing” with the disabled dependents tilts in their favor.
After 12 years, my autonomic nervous system disease didn’t just get better. As I tumble through the piles of paperwork to appeal to the SSDA, 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 safety on base. Our safety is and now has been in serious question for some time now. Congress did a little in 2012 regarding this matter.
I want more out of them in 2019.
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 the home that the base/government had assured them would be fine. This was not the case 30+ years ago and it is not the case now.
Follow-up with a comment 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
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.