How To Establish You Were at Camp Lejeune Between 1953 and 1987

If you or a loved one was stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and subsequently developed a serious health condition such as cancer, there may be grounds to take legal action and obtain financial restitution. The reason former military service members and their loved ones may be able to file a legal claim is the discovery that, as early as 1953, the water supply at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. Reports indicate the toxic chemicals remained in the water supply for over three decades, which means potentially thousands of people were potentially impacted, and may suffer serious health ailments, due to their exposure to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water. 


You may be wondering, “what chemicals were actually in the water supply at Camp Lejeune?” Well, the Department of Veterans Affairs tested the water within two on-base water wells and found trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other extremely harmful and toxic chemical compounds. These substances are known to cause debilitating and life-threatening illnesses, including different forms of cancer. For example, exposure to these substance have been linked to: 


  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia 
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Kidney cancer 
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

New Federal Law Provides Legal Recourse to Impacted Service Members and Their Loved Ones 


After multiple reports came to light revealing the extent of the contamination within Camp Lejeune’s water supply and the likelihood that tens of thousands of people may be affected, the federal government took action to respond. Congress passed, and the President signed, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This federal law enables military service members and their loved ones exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 to file a legal action in federal court in an effort to recover a financial restitution for their harms and losses. 


In order to have a viable claim, you need to obtain official records confirming you, or a loved one, was stationed or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987. This leads to an important question – “how do I obtain records showing I was at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987?” Read on for the answer. 

How to Obtain Service Records

If you were discharged from the military, especially if your discharge was years ago, then you should contact the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) since they are the federal agency tasked with maintaining military personnel records. In fact, NARA is the official repository for discharge records related to individuals who served in the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Army. Learn more about the process of requesting your discharge records here


According to NARA, the types of records they maintain, and are available upon request, include the following: 


  • Records reflecting your enlistment/appointment
  • Records reflecting your duty stations and assignments
  • Records reflecting training, qualifications, and performance
  • Records reflecting any awards and medals you received during your military career

Importance of Housing Records


Unfortunately, simply providing a copy of your DD Form 214 will likely be insufficient to establish the housing requirement for a viable Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. This is because information related to where you were housed is typically not contained within the standard DD Form 214.


Instead, you should try to locate records reflecting the fact that you lived in Camp Lejeune’s enlisted-family housing or the barracks for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987. An example of a relevant document would be a prior lease agreement showing you or your loved one lived on base during the aforementioned time period. If you do not have a copy of the prior lease agreement, consider contacting the leasing agency directly to see if they can supply a copy of the record.


If you are unable to locate lease records and the leasing agency does not have a copy, consider reviewing your records to see if you can locate any official documentation listing your home address as being on Camp Lejeune. This review process can be aided and streamlined with the assistance of an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney. Your attorney might also recommend trying to locate the following types of records to establish your housing history:


  • Insurance information
  • School enrollment form for your children
  • Utility bills
  • Change of address forms


The Role Records Play When Filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit


Once you’ve obtained relevant housing and medical records, make sure to provide a copy to your Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney. Why? Because they possess the expertise and knowledge necessary to analyze those documents and advise which ones should be included with your legal claim. Your lawyer will likely assess the information contained within the supporting records to identify key elements to help substantiate your legal claim. For example, the supporting records submitted with your claim will help detail the extent of your harms and losses, while also confirming you or a loved one was stationed or working at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. Below are harms and losses that are typically eligible for compensatory damages:


  • Lost income
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Medical expenses (e.g., surgeries, therapies, medications, etc.)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish

Take Action Today

If you or a family member were stationed or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and subsequently developed a serious health condition (e.g., cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.), then now is the time to take action. Your health issues may have been caused by exposure to toxic chemicals contained within the water supply at Camp Lejeune and you could have grounds to obtain financial restitution for your harms and losses. There are experienced lawyers ready and able to assist you through the claims process. Do not wait any longer. Take action now to determine if you qualify for compensation. You can begin by researching to determine the best lawyers and law firms specializing in Camp Lejeune lawsuits and contact them right away. In most instances, lawyers handling these types of cases offer free, confidential consultations.