(SOMERDALE, NJ) – BETRAYAL, written by two former MCAS El Toro veterans, Robert O’Dowd, investigative reporter and disabled veteran, and Tim King, photo/journalist and war correspondent, is a nonfiction account at two MarineCorps bases of injuries and deaths from exposures to toxic chemicals, murder, narcotrafficing and government cover-up.
BETRAYAL tells the story of the thousands of veterans and their families, once stationed at MCAS El Toro, CA, and Camp Lejeune, NC. Both Marine Corps bases are among the 130 military installations listed as EPA Superfunds, a group of the most environmentally hazardous sites in the U.S.
Like most of the 130 military installations on the EPA Superfund database, El Toro Marines and dependents continue to be ignored by the U.S. government. No government agency is interested in the health effects of toxic chemical exposure at the once premier Marine Corps jet fighter base. Veterans’ requests for occupational risk assessments by the Navywere denied.
The 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing was moved to Miramar with the closure of El Toro in July 1999. The Navy sold most of the former base to a real estate joint venture in 2005 and walked away with $640 million.
Millions were spent on environmental remediation but not one dime for medical care monitoring of Marine veterans and their dependents. Marines with cancers and out of work are left to their own resources to file VA disability compensation claims
BETRAYAL reports on the Navy’s transfer of almost 1,000 acres of the former base to the FAA and the FBI. The FAA dropped out of the picture and passed ownership over to the FBI. There is no access to this acreage in the Southeast quadrant of the former base to Orange County residents. The base’s ammunition bunkers (now empty) were housed in this area. Several contaminated sites are in this property. No maps or tallies were kept of the buried 55 gallon drums of TCE waste. The Navy has no interest in looking for the buried drums. One of the few areas on the base devoid of vegetation, concrete and asphalt, this acreage controlled by the FBI would be a logical place to quickly bury 55 gallons drums.
BETRAYAL reports on recent legislation to provide health care benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans and their dependents. President Obama signed H.R. 1627, “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (Janey Ensminger Act),” into law in August 6, 2012. This legislation provides VA health care benefits for Lejeune veterans and their dependents with one of the 15 medical conditions identified by the government as linked to organic solvent exposure. To be eligible, Lejeune veterans and dependents had to serve at least 30 days on the base during the period 1957 to 1987. The VA will provide health benefits to dependents only as a payer of last resort.
No veteran compensation was included in the Janey Ensminger Act. Camp Lejeune veterans sick with cancers and unemployed must get into a ‘long line’ of claimants, file a VA disability and compensation claim to be considered for compensation. Veterans claims without evidence of medical conditions in military medical records or medical nexus opinions from medical care providers will be denied by the VA.