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I Wish My Mother Never Joined The Marine Corps

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.

Both of my parents were stationed at Camp Lejeune. My mother enlisted in 1969 and was honorably discharged in 1970 due to being pregnant with me. She was four months pregnant when she was discharged. I was born in 1971. My mother was diagnosed with full blown liver cancer in 1972 and was pregnant with my brother whom was born in March, 1973. My mother died of liver cancer in January 1975.

As a small child around 5 years old, I was in and out of the hospital with really bad nose bleeds. At 13 I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, heart disease. I was in and out of the hospital getting blood and iron transfusions due to chronic anemia. At age 39, I was diagnosed with sickle cell trait, alpha thallassemia and aplastic anemia (which is one of the major 8 diseases that was caused due to the benzene poisoning at Camp LeJeune).

I have also had a miscarriage in the past, also a result of the benzene poisoning. My diseases are non-curable. I was born with them and will die with them. My brother also has a trait of sickle cell and heart disease. I also researched benzene poisoning and it causes nosebleeds as well.

My mother lived to be only 23 years of age. Me and my brother have never had the opportunity to have a mother. I was 3 years old and my brother was 1 year old when she died. We have hired an attorney to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of our mother as well as personal injury claims on us. My mother had cancer the entire time she was pregnant with my brother. Although I wasn’t born while she was living on base, I was in her womb. Therefore, I was affected and I would like to be compensated.


That goes to show you that they could care less about the well being of their members. They were only interested in the fight within us to serve this country.

Me and my brother are outraged with the military because had it not been for the water contamination, our mother would still be alive! She has 9 other siblings and they are all over the age of 56. Our mother died at age 23. We deserve compensation and everything they have to offer us. We are not going to stop until they give us what we deserve. 

Our mother went in to fight for this country and to serve her duties and she did just that.  If she respected the United States of America enough to lay down her life if she had to, then they need to respect her and her family enough to supply us with our needs. We suffered without having a mother and that’s not fair.  We are truly pissed!

I wish that my mother NEVER would have joined the Marine Corps. She would still be here with me and my brother now. My heart goes out to all of the veterans and their children whom have suffered and whom are still suffering.

May God be with you.

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

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