This slogan means a lot to me in these days. Not only is it the banner of Q, but I liken it to my beloved Corps, Recently I found out that one of my duty stations, MCAS El Toro was listed as a Superfund in the 90’s. I found this out because a V.A. tech ‘tipped’ me off to research if I had ever been exposed to Agent Orange. This came to me as a surprise as did the fact that I had Hep C and PTSD, both of which the V.A. was aware.
I have been trying to come to terms with the V.A. It seems as if they try, on an occasion, to help this vet out but more often than not; their lack of concern seems too obvious. To some it is simply a job but, to be fair, I have to state that there are others in the V.A. that are good people and there for the right reason. When one becomes a Marine, they become something more than just ‘self’ they become part of one, hence ‘Where we go one, We go all’. This Marine believes that the V.A., if they are to co-exist, should have the very same attitude. If there is one bad apple, it spoils the barrel.
My V.A. ‘Problem List’ reads like a Merck manual of Agent Orange symptom list and I am afraid it is not going to get any better, I was recently informed, that AO exposure has the potential to end up as Parkinson Disease. Why would the V.A. not disclose this information so I could prepare the best I could? This is my only complaint, as I knew exactly what I was getting into when I took that Oath to God and Country, and I was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for that Oath … that was of course when I was 19 and full of ideals of what the world should be and way before I read Smedley Butler “War is a Racket”….
In my AO research I have learned many things, as will my readers. I proffer this information:
I had no clue that MCAS El Toro was used in gun and drug trafficking! Think Ollie North and the Iran/Contras. Working or trying to stay from being homeless kept my nose to the grindstone. I had several ‘memorial occasions @MCAS El Toro. One of which was when Nixon had his last flight on Air Force One. MCAS El Toro was used to bring our boys home. I guess this is why I tear up when I see the Vietnam Memorial, as it breaks my heart to actually see the sacrifice of war.
I was stationed at MCAS El Toro shortly after boot, I had a slight visit to Naval Air Station Glynco where I was to attend Air Traffic Control school, my chosen MOS; but upon arriving they found that I wore glasses … they were hard to miss, those big black frames! So I arrive at MCAS El Toro with no MOS … they did not know what to do with me, so they gave me the title of ‘Flight Crew Captain’ (a glorified mechanic aid) a pair of men’s coveralls and combat boots. I was the sloppiest Marine on base! I was the first woman Flight Crew Captain, but the problem was, there was no MOS for women in those days. My duty was inside two of the base hangers. They assigned me a little yellow electric cart, as the hangers were HUGE! I do remember maintenance spraying the flight deck on regular occasions to rid it of vegetation; little did we know they were using Agent Orange! But more concerning was working with solvents without any proper gear. I remember there being no concern. Just like the Marines at my next duty station, MCRD San Diego, Motor Transport.
In my research I ran across this article by ROBERT O’DOWD, who I have now friended on FB
We’re the veterans of contaminated land,
No mama, no poppa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces.
No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces.
And nobody gives a damn.
Stay tuned …