Contaminated drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
There was a public meeting on January 21st at the Marriott Inn in Jacksonville N.C., there were men and women from Ohio to Florida . The meeting was businesslike, but the hearts and fears of the men and women in the conference room were apparent.
There were representatives from the VA, ATSDR,USMC,CAP and other Federal agencies that I am not familiar with. (it should be noted that no Congressionalleaders where there). There were many questions and much discussion, but at the end of the day one thing was clear, the DOD, the USMC and the VA had done what they had been ordered to do. They were there to report the facts, provide the Federal agencies with a legaldefense for their action and nothing else.
Several of the victims spoke to the panel, the stories were heartbreaking and all the same. They were at Camp Lejeune and are now sick, their doctors confirm that exposure to contaminated drinking water could likely be a contributing factor to their diease. But because of the government’s narrow view of the rule (The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finalized a new rule on 13 January 2017 to consider eight diseases as presumptive for service connection. This presumptive service connection provides VA disability benefits to veterans who have one of eight diseases and served for no less than 30 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) on permanent or temporary duty at Camp Lejeune between 1 August 1953 and 31 December 1987.) Take a closer look that rule and I am sure that you will begin to see what is wrong with this picture. Look good to you? How about this:
1. Eight diseases: Several women and men said that their diseases where not on the list, but with basic research I was able to find many more than eight diseases that can be attributed to lead, benzine, or Microbial Contaminants.
2. Veterans: The family members of the Marines or Sailors are not VETERANS but in some cases spent more time on the base that the service member or veteran,
who any times were on deployments for months or years at a time, while the family’s whole life was that base.
3. Have one of eight diseases: That means that the VA, USMC, DOD and Congress is saying to us “Call us when you are dying”. There is no preventive care recommended or screening any where on any of the government websites, except the VA websites mention general good health habits. Where is the annual cancer screening, the mammograms or research regarding the healthy Marines and family members who may have a disease and not be aware of it? Where is the counseling for veterans and families? I am sure that their mental health has been effected.
The VA stated that 1,731 dependents applied for the dependent health program, and only 234 are currently in the program and 511 have been denied.
If you are at all familiar with the government you know that there is a lot of “Not my responsibility”, and “I will look into that” or “We were not tasked to address that issue”. So we know as much now as we did the day the new rule was published.
I hope that everyone that reads this will send a letter or call the their representatives in Congress and ask that free screening of veterans and dependents be made available, the dependents be included in the program and the rule be expanded to include any disease that could have been contracted from water contamination at Camp LeJeune and provide some mental health and administrative counseling