Vets from Camp Lejeune advised to start locally


By Meladi Brewer

DARKE COUNTY – Camp Lejeune, NC has issued a cancer warning for those who lived on base between 1953 and 1987.

It is believed those who lived on base during the timeframe may have suffered cancer, serious injury, or even death due to water contamination. Camp Lejeune is the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast, and it is located in Jacksonville, NC.

Camp Lejeune was established in 1941, and is one of the worst water contamination cases known in U.S. history. During 1953 through 1987, approximately one million people lived on the base where the contaminated water was located – unknowingly drinking and bathing in its contaminants daily.

Allegedly oil, petrol, industrial wastewater, and toxic chemicals were knowingly dumped into local storm drains by the U.S. government. Not only was this an issue, but buried fuel tanks leaked into the drinking water supply.

Commissioner Matt Aultman advised the veteran’s department had come into the Board of Commissioners’ office and shared about this situation.

“The fact of the matter is, you are better off contacting the Veteran’s Services Office and talking to the folks out there before you contact a lawyer,” Aultman said.

He advised that before someone can be an actual complainant or claimant, they have to pay back everything the government had provided for them through the VA, etc.

“So you may pay back $160,000 for a 200,000 recovery and end up with a $35,000 lawyer fee, so you only walk away with five, but the lawyer makes 35,” Aultman said.

Some of the types of injuries from the water contamination include but are not limited to: Anemia, birth defects, bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, parkinson’s disease, scleroderma, etc.

Anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for at least 30 days, was exposed to contaminated water, and harmed by such exposure may take legal action including veterans, civilians, and families – even those who were exposed in the womb.

If you qualify, Aultman advised it would be better to work through the Veterans’ Services Offices to help walk through the process.

“It is better to work through this side than have a financial issue on the other side with a lawyer, and you don’t want the lawyer to make out with you not receiving any of your benefits as you should,” Aultman said.

To contact the Darke County Veterans’ Service Office is located at 611 Wagner Ave, and to contact them, call 937-548-5305.

To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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