Growing up, a “Marine Brat” during the early 1960’s, days were carefree and happy. Being the oldest of five children and apart of a military service family, life was lived with a combination of discipline instilled into a spirit of pride and honor, as my father taught us it was a privilege to serve our great nation, as he served for eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
I remember our first base housing, Camp Pendleton, located in San Diego California and how we would drive to the beach on weekends. A few years later, my father was transferred to Naval Air Station Grosse Ile Wyandotte Michigan, where we lived off base in a beautiful brick home, the community filled with tons of children, great schools, churches and playgrounds. This became our Disneyland.
I never heard my parents or anyone ever discussing the connotation of devalued living standards among our active military or veterans. The circumstances didn’t exist or they were well hidden because my Marine father was a no nonsense man, defender of our country, his family, as well a voice for injustice. Today, ramifications of horrendous biological, chemical, environmental and other are being waged against our active military, veterans and their families, while they coexist on contaminated military bases, both in the US and abroad. Fighting back the tears after researching these numerous contaminated military bases, I couldn’t help but wonder how our less than 1% of Americans who serve our great nation, standing tall against adversity, are submitted to living in squaller?
I pray you will raise your voice and set it into action for those who make it possible to exercise your voice in the first place.
How long was this crime to be kept secret? Why did we stop protecting the very people that protect All Americans?
Military Bases contamination will affect water for generations
After WWII and the wars that followed, the quality of land, air, water, and base housing, was being contaminated with molds, poisons and the use of toxic chemicals has contaminated or is suspected of contaminating water on bases and nearby communities with chemicals ranging from cleaning solvents and paints to explosives and firefighting foam, that would grow through the decades, contributing to the ill health such as various forms of cancers, asthma, colon and digestive disorders, stillbirths, miscarriages, headaches, nose bleeds, and many other maladies of the men and women in uniform. Complaints and health records flooded the desks of those in Congress and others serving in Government, yet falling upon deaf ears and blind eyes, as those in uniform and their families were placed upon the human alter. Their battlefield is their environment and the enemy from within.
This once secret war, now exposed, and yet to date, many outside of the military, have no knowledge regarding this grim issue with very little being done to remedy this tragic health violation. Congress created the federal Superfund program in 1980, just 10 years after President Richard Nixon established the EPA by executive order. Then as now, there was a debate over who was better to deal with polluters.
If Veterans, made up of Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Soldiers ran these particular alphabet groups of the government, these egregious atrocities would be squared away ASAP, because that is what warriors do, they walk the walk and make things happen.
Where are the Laws & Regulations against these multi-million dollar corporations doing business with the government?
Superfund Site Exposures
130 Military bases on the EPA National Priority List (EPA Superfund) Veterans are at risk of exposure to environmental hazards.
What is Superfund? Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview). This law was enacted in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups.
EPA lists 130 military installations as Superfund sites. There are no legal requirements to notify the veterans of the remaining 129 military installations of the COCs they may have been exposed to and their health effects. This is not a mission impossible. It can be done. EPA lists the COCs and the ATSDR has identified the health effects of many of them.
Though the efforts of Superfund and the EPA were to target the growing complaints of toxic military bases and the victims it claimed on a daily bases, the physical and emotional pain by military families grew in their voice, reaching out to Environmental Advocate, Erin Brockovich, as she was contacted by thousands of families, from many military bases, yet first and foremost, Camp Lejeune Marine Training Facility, located in North Carolina.
The Few, the Proud, the Forgotten
Camp Lejeune North Carolina, this base is home to hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families, it’s also the site of what may be the largest water contamination in American history.
“It’s been called one of the worst toxic contaminations in the country. It’s also possibly one of the U.S. military’s most shameful acts of deception and betrayal. Between 1957 and 1987, as many as one million Marines and their family members at Camp Lejeune drank, bathed in, and cooked with water contaminated by various volatile organic compounds–some at levels as high as 280 times what is considered safe under law. For years, the Marine Corps kept this secret, blocking many attempts to uncover the truth–even after the first news of water contamination broke in 1987.”
“Many Marines who ingested contaminated water at Camp Lejuene, the largest Marine base on the East Coast, have died or lost family members, especially children with extreme birth defects or leukemia–and many more still are sick and dying with rare cancers and other ailments believed to be linked to the water contamination. Civilian employees who worked on the base and people who live in the communities around the base near Jacksonville, NC, are also reporting a high incidence of cancers. And yet the plight of these victims and the lack of accountability by the Marine Corps are not well known.”
Among the worst domestic cases highlighted in the 249-page report: Camp LeJeune, N.C., the largest Marine Corps installation on the East Coast and home to about 170,000 active duty and civilian employees and retirees. The drinking water on the 240-square mile base has been poisoned for decades by “a toxic cocktail of industrial solvents, dry-cleaning chemicals and gasoline.”
The Pentagon is Trying to Cover Up the Toxic Effects of its Deadly Burn Pits by the Institute for Policy Studies
“Burn pits, NPR reports, are “acres-wide mounds of waste near bases” containing “everything from batteries to vehicle scraps to amputated body parts.” These refuse piles, once set aflame with jet fuel, can burn for 24 hours a day. They expose our troops and other personnel to deadly toxic fumes.”
Reports of Burn Pits exposing a link between military service near burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and serious maladies, including respiratory illnesses to rare brain cancers. An attorney has filed a class action suit against KBR on behalf of veterans who believe they were sickened by the burn pits. Hundreds have come forward. And nearly 60,000 people may have been affected.
By the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have on its hands a growing stockpile of munitions nearing 1.1 million tons that are no longer considered useful to the military. As a means of disposal, these munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, artillery shells, tactical missiles and other wastes, have for decades been burned or detonated on large trays out in the open at military bases across the country. These pollutants include an array of highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans, PCBs, chromium, dinitrotoluene (DNT), and perchlorate. Many of these toxic chemicals are known carcinogens, while all of them can cause chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife.
U.S. military conspired to hide extreme PCB contamination on military bases
“(NaturalNews) A report in Japanese media suggests that the U.S. military discovered toxic levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at its Kadena Air Base on Okinawa that dramatically exceeded acceptable safety levels but failed to alert Japanese authorities and then subsequently hid information about the contamination for decades.”
Asbestos found at 32 Army Installations
Asbestos was among the contaminants at 32 Army installations before they were closed or realigned during the late 1990s. Unfortunately, that was typical because the U.S. armed forces used large amounts of asbestos throughout much of the 20th century. Consequently, Army veterans were exposed to asbestos — the primary cause of mesothelioma.
Veterans comprise more than 30 percent of all mesothelioma cases in the United States. Because all branches of the military relied on asbestos in the past, and builders overseas still do, veterans are more likely than others to develop asbestos-related diseases.
- Branch of military at highest risk: U.S. Navy
- Around 10,000 veterans die from asbestos-related diseases every year.
- Peak years for military asbestos use: 1935 to 1975
- U.S. Navy sailors and shipyard workers bore the highest risk of asbestos exposure
- More than 300 different types of asbestos products were used on Navy ships
“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice, nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”. Lord Action