Almost 600,000 Marines served in World War II. There were 200,000 plus in the ranks for Korea, and before it was over, 30,000 casualties. The Marine Corps also played an important role in Vietnam and continues to provide the premier combat troops for the ten years of conflict that have followed 9/11. It has always been important to the Marine Corps to be a self-sufficient organization; they handle their own logistics, provide their own air support, and also supply their own artillery and armored units. Marine Corps troops also keep all of that equipment in good repair.
Asbestos in the Marine Corps
Marine veterans had the same rate of asbestos exposure as did the Army troops that served in World War II and the Cold War conflicts. Millions of American veterans were exposed to asbestos on the bases used for training in the United States and in facilities used to house active units and to service their equipment. Asbestos was a common feature in the insulation and many of the mechanical components used for military vehicles, armored equipment, and dozens of other types of gear such as generators, pumps, filtration systems and any sort of motorized device.
The barracks and buildings where Marine units trained were constructed with asbestos flooring, roofing, insulation, and with heating systems that were insulated with asbestos sheets and coverings. The equipment used to transport Marines such as trucks and amphibious ships had engines equipped with asbestos fittings, gaskets, seals, mounted in compartments insulated with asbestos. The brakes on every military vehicle built up through the 1990s had asbestos brakes. The men assigned to maintain this equipment were exposed to worn asbestos components that gave off dangerous asbestos fibers. Those fibers were, and are the cause of asbestos related diseases.
Mesothelioma and Marine Veterans
The number of Marine veterans who have developed mesothelioma is not as high as the Army and Navy veterans who have had that experience but their numbers are roughly proportionate. Marines suffered the same degree of exposure to asbestos as Army veterans certainly, and perhaps more so because of their use of amphibious craft. Navy and Marine vessels were loaded with asbestos insulation and fire retardant.
Marine veteran mesothelioma cases can be found in VA treatment centers all over the nation. Mesothelioma generally takes about forty years to develop after the asbestos exposure has occurred, so many of the World War II Marine veterans who developed the disease began to get sick in the late 1980s. The veterans from Vietnam are showing signs of asbestos disease today.
While the Marine Corps has attempted to clean up its facilities, removing old asbestos flooring and roof tiles, asbestos shingles and wallboard and cement, there are many buildings that were used for decades after World War II before remediation was finally begun. Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune were training grounds for several generations of Marines using facilities that were constructed during the heyday of asbestos building products. Those places and other facilities including the Marine Corps Air Stations were the locations where Marine veterans developed mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Compensation for Marine Veterans
Marines who were exposed to asbestos on active duty and have developed asbestosis or mesothelioma can obtain medical treatment from the VA today. They can also file legal actions against the companies that manufactured the asbestos products that caused them to become ill. Thousands of veterans have sued asbestos manufacturers and won. If you are a Marine veteran who suffered asbestos exposure while in the service you may be eligible for compensation. Contact one of our attorneys today for a review of your potential asbestos lawsuit case. There is a history of Marine veterans winning damages for mesothelioma; our attorneys are familiar with the cases and the courts.