Thursday, October 30, 2008

Military Searching for Camp Lejeune Marines Due to Health Risk

Military Searching for Camp Lejeune Marines Due to Health Risk

(Bolivar, MO) -- Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is one of the largest Marine bases in the country.

That's usually a point of pride, but an internal investigation has the Marine Corps worried for all the people who visited the base over the years.

The Marine Corps tells KOLR10 News at least 500,000 could be at risk for health problems -- all because they drank the water.

Robert Stawarz says it was his duty to keep Camp Lejeune spotless during his two years there in the 1970s.

"Very, very clean. The U.S. Marine Corps, you know," he says. "Everything's immaculate."

The Vietnam-era veteran now lives in Bolivar, Missouri and thought his Marine days were over, until he checked the mail.

"I Received the letter from the IRS. I thought I was getting the letter from the IRS," he says.

Turns out the Marine Corps got his address from the IRS because he'd moved around so much.

"They had said that the IRS wasn't giving them any information about my taxes or anything like that and at first I thought it was kind of strange," Stawarz says.

The letter says that anyone who may have been on base at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 could be affected because of chemicals found in the drinking water.

"When I got to the part about the bad water my jaw kind of hit the floor," Stawarz (right) says.

The Marine Corps tells him the chemicals originated from a building used to wash clothes.

"It was used in dry-cleaning and for de-greasing and somehow it got in the water," Stawarz says. "I guess they didn't really discover what was going on until the early 1980s."

The Marine Corps is now conducting a water study to pinpoint who exactly is at risk, and for what.

"I don't know what it does, if it causes cancer or it makes your fingers fall off," Stawarz says.

Stawarz was directed to a website to upload his contact information.

"I registered and they said they would let me know and in two months they would contact me," he says.

The Marine Corps tells KOLR10 more than 88,000 people have registered.

Stawarz says that's only a fraction of the veterans who could be affected, so he's getting the word out to his fellow marines.

"We're Marines until we die," he says.

The Marine Corps shut down the contaminated wells in 1985 and notified people who lived on base at that time.

But their records back to the 1950s are incomplete so we're told the Marines are working to build that registry to include former residents who have moved around or people who may have had friends on base and been exposed to the water.

If you or someone you know could be part of the group at risk, the Marine Corps is asking you register their information. You can call (877) 261 - 9782 or visit


I will believe the government is going to help these people when pigs learn to fly....

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