D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A Mississippi veteran is in the midst of a battle. However, he's not fighting the enemy - he's fighting the Veteran's Administration.
A.J. Jackson is trying to get help for a neurological condition, but says can't see the doctors who can help him. Like hundreds of thousands veterans and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, 76-year-old Jackson was exposed to contaminated water for 34 years.
Jackson says he didn't know anything about the water issue until 2003, when he received a letter from the VA. The letter stated that Marines, their families and people working at the Camp Lejeune Base from 1953 until 1987 may be suffering from various ailments caused by water contamination from two on-base water supply systems.
Jackson said, "I have three or four of the symptoms already in my medical record from other doctors, and I have copies of those statements."
Some of the diseases and conditions that have been identified include breast cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, bladder cancer, skin disease, liver problems and neurological problems.
Jackson served at Camp Lejeune from 1958 until 1960. He pent much of his time in the training pools as an instructor. According to a report recently released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the pool water was toxic.
Jackson says VA doctors have not treated him for his liver, skin and neurological issues.
"All I would like done is to recognize the fact that some of us have these symptoms already, and to get us a higher percentage of benefits from the VA," said Jackson. "Give us free use to use our Choice Cards towards going to the doctor that are required to help us with these symptoms."
Jackson says he's never gotten the help he needs, and at 76 years old, time is running out.
WLOX News Now contacted Congressman Steven Palazzo's office and was told that they are doing what they can in helping Mr. Jackson. The VA is writing new rules to make it easier for Marines and their families to receive compensation, but those rules aren't complete yet
"I'll never say anything bad about my country. I served it and I love America, but I think there's more that they could be doing because we're spending money on foreigners. Why not spend it on locals," added Jackson.
Anyone affected by the Camp Lejeune contaminated water issue can apply online using eBenefits or go to a regional VA office.