Camp Lejeune: A Famous Landmark With Infamous Water
Camp Lejeune in North Carolina began its mark on history in 1941 when the 1st Marine Division was set up there in the middle of a sandy pine forest. The installation was named after Major General John A. Lejeune, who was the 13th Commandant and Commanding General of the 2nd Army Division in World War I. Over the years, Camp Lejeune has grown to be a pivotal installation in the operation of the United States Marine Corps.
Then it happened! In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride, were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985.
Since then, there has been a firestorm of debate. After much deliberation, research, changes to rules and laws, there is now a VA Rule establishing a Presumption of Service Connection for Diseases Associated with Exposure to Contamination in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune.
The Veterans Administration (VA) has established eight diseases associated with exposure to the water supply at Camp Lejeune.
The listed diseases are as follows:
(1) Adult leukemia (2) Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes (3) Bladder cancer
(4) Kidney cancer (5) Liver cancer (6) Multiple myeloma (7) Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (8) Parkinson’s disease
It is critical to note that to pursue a claim for one of the above conditions, the active duty, reserve and National Guard member must have served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
If you choose to submit a disability claim, it is paramount that you collect the necessary information to support the disability application. A definitive diagnosis from a medical care provider of one or more of the conditions listed above and validation that the military member was “on-station” for the necessary amount of time and during the affected periods.
To assist with this process, there are County Veteran Service Officers ready and able to help you through this process. We also have a State Veteran Service Officer who is also available to provide the same assistance. They are listed in the pages of this magazine.
To get more information on this subject, the VA has posted some helpful information and also provides information on additional resources and benefits due to the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination. That information can be obtained by visiting the following internet link.
by Scott A. Thorsness, Director, Kootenai County Veteran Services
Scott served in the Unites States Air Force as a 2P071 Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory Craftsman from 1988 to 2012. His duty assignments include Hickam AFB, HI,15th Component Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Bitburg AB, Germany, 36th Maintenance Squadron; Ramstein AB, Germany, 86th Maintenance Squadron; Mountain Home AFB, ID, 366th Maintenance Squadron; Osan AB, Republic of Korea, 51st Maintenance Squadron; McChord AFB, WA, 62nd Maintenance Squadron; and Aviano AB, Italy, 31st Maintenance Squadron. Scott was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, graduating from CDA High School in 1988. He has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electronic Systems Technology. After completing his military service, he returned to his home town in April of 2012. He has been working with Kootenai County since June of 2012.