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Exposures at Mare Island and Pendleton

by Civilian Exposure

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.


It was 1956-1957 when I enlisted. While entering the service, I had the usual medical check up. At this time, nothing showed up on my medical paperwork. I spent time at Mare Island, where A LOT of toxins / poisons filled the air back then. Much came from sand blasting the ships, painting the ships, being in the plating plant, and more. It was also the worst dumping hole there was! I was there when the first nuclear ship was built. There was the exposure from that, too.

Then I went on to Camp Pendleton and was exposed to the chemicals there as well! In all, I got out after a years time. I was only 17 then. The treatment I had to endure is something that I would not wish on my enemy. I was shoved down a flight of stairs, with a metal locker on my back, went to medical, but did no good. That Sergeant had it out for me. Some of the men back then, I tell you. Unreal the games played on me. Just some real nasty and harsh men.

In boot camp, I had a butt of a gun rammed into my face. A short while later, my teeth were so loose that I soon got a gum disease and teeth had to be pulled. I did report these incidents, but some records were not to be found. Later in life, when my wife helped me get my benefits, my records showed that I had a collagen disease. But I never had this when I entered. It was NEVER on my record.

Today, I have diabetes, vascular disease, acute skin issues, and have had a few amputations. I tried going back over what my records said first when I entered, and tried to show what was reported when I left too. My claim for this was not proven.  But I tried with the help of my wife and only got 100% disability, finally, after the amputations.

Where is the justice?!


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

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