mare_island by liamei12345


									To whom it may concern:

My name is Curtis Jasa. I live in the town I was born in, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It has come to my
knowledge that there is a large problem with contamination on Mare Island in Vallejo,
California. I was stationed on Mare Island from 1990-1992 and have a personal account and
evidence that one might find interesting. I know as a fact there were tons of rounds of
ammunition buried on the south side of the island because I helped dig them up and hide them.

I was stationed at US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 9 in Bldg. 751 on the NW
tip of the island. We will call it EODMU9 for short here forward. EOD work is the bomb squad
for the military. That means rendering safe and disposing of bombs, mines and other munitions
on land and in the water. My exact NEC Code (Naval Enlistment Code) was 5331. It doesn’t
apply to my old job now days but then it was EOD Assistant. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s
to try and boost the success rate in initial EOD training they had an assistants program that put
guys through dive school and basic EOD school. It would send guys out to the field, or unit, and
after two years they could apply to the EOD technician program. In other words, I was an
educated athlete that both supported secret service missions as well was considered a mule with
swim fins by the technicians at our command. Every guy that came to the command was put
through the same indoctrination regimen and that meant simply getting in the Zodiac or Boston
Whaler boat and piloting the boat in the middle of the river and let guys get used to swimming
and diving in a heavy current. As the tides go in and out the water in the channel the tide
direction changes. Good lesson to learn about quick currents in murky water as a young diver but
it appears we were swimming, diving and working in air and water contaminated with
hexavalent chrome from Building 225, the Mare Island metal plating shop. The best reference for
this is the

I returned from Desert Storm in the late summer of 1991. I was subsequently injured in a diving
accident a few months later in November of the same year. I was diving a Mk 16 rebreather on a
mine counter measure inspection dive in Alameda, CA. This is in the San Francisco Bay near the
Oakland Bay Bridge. I suffered an arterial gas embolism and was luckily rushed to a hyperbaric
chamber for immediate treatment. I recovered but never dove for the navy again. For my final 4
months in the navy I was working in the dive locker at mobile unit 9. My job was filling tanks,
checking gages, loading trucks, standing watch, duty driver and a lot of the other heavy lifting
projects that went on around the unit. Most of the grunt work was delegated to the assistants by
everyone higher ranking and since I planned on getting out of the navy when my time was up I
did a lot of humping those last few months.

EOD has several detachments that are assigned to different projects. Some are mine counter
measures, some are IED experts, some ride ships in support of the fleet. EODMU9 had
responsibility for any ordnance issues on the island. One of those such projects was responding
to a call for EOD to come out to the south side of the island and pick up ordnance while I was on
duty. Gunner Thompson, Rob Powers, Max Green and I were the duty response team for the
island for that day. The responsibility changed on a daily basis as each individual team attached
to the command would have a turn pulling watch. If it was something during the week usually
we got the call at the quarter deck, then to the operations office, then usually to a responding 4
man team. Senior Chief Max Green was the ordnance officer at our command. This means if we
had dynamite or C4 we needed to store we stored it in a magazine on the island. I am not sure of
the exact date but it had to be my last 4months so December of 1991- March of 1992. We got a
call from the quarterdeck that some fisherman had given some small rounds they found to a
couple contractors. Powers, Sr. Chief Green, Gunner Thompson and I took the duty Jeep
Cherokee down to the end of the island and met the contractors. They said some fisherman had
found some small arms rounds near the water and some by a sandy rocky area near the road. We
went over to see the small area that they pointed to. We moved around some dirt with a couple
shovels initially and kept finding more and more rounds. It was deemed insignificant by Gunner
Thompson or Sr. Chief Green and a couple hours of digging around should have had it taken care
of. I don’t remember what happened to Senior Chief Green on the mission but Powers and I did
the digging I remember clearly and Gunner Thompson was in charge.

Initially, the rounds we were finding were .50 caliber old machine gun rounds. None of us
thought much of it other than we would be humping some retrograde ammo out of a hole that got
dumped decades ago. We were soon realizing the job was going to take awhile as we kept
finding larger rounds, projectiles, fuses, bomb fins, base plates and more. It was hard to identify
each round as they were covered in mud, rusted and had been there for quite some time. The
rounds were not taken back to EODMU9 because Gunner Thompson and Powers both concurred
the ammo would have to be disposed of with C4 and we couldn’t do it on the island. We stored it
in the warehouses on the southwest side of the island behind the golf course. This circular road is
approximately two miles long. I remember it well as this is where we had to take our timed two
mile runs for physical fitness tests. There used to be a small horse stable on there with a few
horses and riders on the inside of the massive track. The buildings are quite large in structure and
can easily be seen when using Google Earth to view from satellite. There was lots of other
ammunition already in the warehouse where we were storing our findings from the dig. There
was literally tons of old ammunition in crates, containers and boxes. We didn’t dig around in the
other boxes. Instead, our routine was simply to open up the door, unload the found ammo, close
the door and go back to our normal routine on the base.

This went on for quite some time. It was a matter of months not weeks. One of my memories
from that time was Gunner Thompson yelling at Powers and I to get off our asses from atop a
back hoe when we were taking a break. He said it jokingly as we were sweating our asses off
humping all the ammo. I was on the job until my end of obligated service was up in March of
1992. There are several of the barn-like warehouses on this end of the island. They were quite
large and we only used one. The warehouse was almost full as I remember last seeing it. I
remember in the truck ride back to EODMU9 we were talking about using hundreds of pounds of
C4 to get rid of all of what we ourselves had found. I do not know what all was eventually found
and whatever happened to all of the rounds. I do know there was a strict ban using C4 on the
island so it was taken somewhere and disposed of or it remains. What was in the other buildings
I do not know. The buildings are still there and can be seen from Google Earth.

1. EODMU9 failed a final radiologic test in 1996. There were tests and storage of radiological
and nuclear components in building 751 the report says. I was never told about that for sure. I
also find that part odd because with 20 EOD teams housed in building 751, all of which have
nuclear detection devices issued to them, we never found anything? Yet, to the west of the
building is the area that was used to dump the dredging from the Mare Island Straits. For decades
the navy threw everything possible over the side of the ships from ammunition to various other
contaminated items. These items that were dredged up and then sent via a 16 in pipe to the
western dredge ponds and deposited for decades. While we were out doing our base security
drills we literally out there doing military drills in the contaminated dredge ponds. There were
several tests that were taken in a variety of different places by California State Environmental
Protection Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) as the main regulatory
agency for ensuring that environmental restoration standards are met by the Navy and developers
performing cleanup work. The remediation plan was to chip away 3 inches of concrete across the
deck? All tests were certified to have passed by April 1, 1996? Even more odd, is the fact that
building 751 is was purchased by Diaz and Sons Construction in 2004. I wonder what these guys

2. Mare Island closed in 1996 with many other US military bases in the 90’s. Mare Island is a
chemical wasteland portraying as a quaint old navy town. The navy, the investors and Vallejo are
desperate to find a solution for the future of Mare Island. Their own website says they have
already removed 48,000 tons of contaminated soil. Most of this was from the western and
southern area where I was digging and where EODMU9 was located. This is a stones throw from
our unit. How many sailors, marines and civilians were exposed to this?

3. Lennar Mare Island LLC is contracted through the government to clean up the mess and turn
the island into 10,000 residences the city of Vallejo can generate property tax on. In a decade this
has turned into only a few hundred, because of the contamination. Lennar pushed the navy for
more availability of commercial and residential area but it was too contaminated to turn over,
even for profit…large profits. To this day the navy controls and restricts the access to the most
contaminated parts of the island the south and west sides of Mare Island is now restricted without
military escort as of recent. The navy does not want independent testers or media surrounding the

4. Weston, another clean up partner, and Lennar Mare Island LLC determined the clean up and
housing project was doomed and liability became an issue. The city of Vallejo, which is one of
the poorest cities in the San Francisco Bay area disputes the liability but has no funds to clean the
island up. Lennar files bankruptcy June of 2008. A couple neighborhoods were created and then
more and more contamination keeps getting discovered. Millions of real estate investment
dollars are squandered. Several of these home have been on the market for months with no
buyers. No one wants to live on a contaminated island, simple.

5. May 2008 the City of Vallejo, CA files for bankruptcy protection in part to the debacle
surrounding Mare Island contractors, the housing bust and contamination clean up.
6. March 2011 The Registry of National Park Sites rejects Mare Island’s request to become a
protected historic and protected park because of the staggering costs of the clean up without
identifying exactly what is so incredibly expensive and contaminated.

7. May 2011 the Navy restricts public access to the South area of Mare Island. This means no
more soil samples, bird samples, water samples, etc…San Francisco is full of environmentalist
and Mare Island is on their radar. The navy sealed off the south side of the island recently
because they want less tests instead of more, simple.

8. Hexavalent Chrome is one of the worst chemicals you can pollute with. It is on par with
Dioxin. Remember the Move Erin Brokovich? This is the exact same contamination that was the
subject of the movie. Also, and interesting quote from the website
says “There is a startling recent development concerning the extreme genetic toxicity of
Hexavalent Chromium that is very important. It has only very recently been discovered that
vitamin C that is within a living cell promotes increased genetic damage caused by Hexavalent
chromium tenfold. This is a big surprise because previous studies had shown the vitamin C
contained in the stomach acted to neutralize hexavalent chrome and decrease its toxicity.
Researchers had concluded from this that vitamin C in the cell would act in the same way, but
they were wrong. Now that mercury and vaccinations have been thoroughly proven to not be a
cause of autism scientists are looking for other wide spread environmental contaminants that
can be the likely cause of the recent epidemic of autism. An ever increasing number of scientists
are listing hexavalent chrome as a possible cause that needs to be studied. Because the epidemic
of autism is a recent development the feeling is that something that has recently (within the past
20 years) been released into the environment will likely be found to be the cause. But this might
not actually be the case. Autism could possibly be the first final stage result of the massive trans
generational cumulative genetic poisoning of mankind with hexavalent chromium that has been
in progress for the past 100 years.”

9. Building 225 metal plating shop blasted an ungodly amount of chromic acid poison into the air
over Mare Island and Vallejo for over 50 years. Building 225 was destroyed and still in the
process of clean up…. Today. From The Mare Island Navy Yard Association news letter from
September 2010.

What’s Happening with regard to the Mare Island Plating Shop? Plating operations were
conducted in Building 225 (located near the Mare Island waterfront) for more than 50 years,
resulting in
leakage of toxics from the floor drains to the underground soil. The plume from this leakage
encompassed the soil beneath Buildings 101 and 273, along with the soil beneath the Plating
Shop, Building 225 (IR Site 15). To characterize the area, over 600 soil samples, 50 soil vapor
samples and more than 800 groundwater samples were collected from approximately 200
locations in the area. Sample results showed contamination present at concentrations exceeding
state mandated acceptance levels for planned commercial and
industrial land use.

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has considered 7 different
cleanup alternatives for the site. At the
present time, it appears that Alternative 6 will be recommended for accomplishment. This
alternative includes:

1. Excavating selected soil areas in and around
Building 225, disposing of excavated soil
offsite and capping the remaining area in
and around the building with concrete or

2. Treating contaminated groundwater by a combination of methods, including Monitored
Natural Attenuation (for
chromium, carbon tetrachloride and chlorinated ethanes), Enhanced In-Situ Bioremediation (for
chlorinated ethanes), and installing a permeable reactive barrier(PRB) in the plume area.

3. Recording and implementing a Land Use

A. Covenant for IR Site 15.

10. There are already three known cases of autism linked to EODMU9 divers. We have not even
begun to speak with anyone from the Bldg. 225 metal plating shop. This autism statistic is
already much higher than the national average in a much smaller population. Unfortunately, we
haven’t even gotten in touch with 80% of the guys at the commands and shops yet. Because I am
respecting the privacy of my former shipmates/brothers, their names are not being disclosed. For
those whose names are on the list below, or know me from MU9, please contact us ASAP. If you
were connected to EODMU9 and you are having medical issues you need to contact us ASAP as
well. There is more than enough proof to warrant a government funded study on all military and
civilians that were attached to Mare Island, specifically those of us attached to EODMU 9,
building 225 and all property secured by the navy effective immediately. It is our suspicion, with
good reason; you were exposed to some pretty bad stuff.

11. I have asked the VA 3 different times for my records regarding the diving accident I was
involved in and have been told my records are exempt from the freedom of information act or
they don’t exist. I viewed the exact records regarding the accidents in the pension and
compensation clinic in Iowa City, Iowa last month. There are approximately 18 pages that are in
a separate folder than the rest of my military medical records. I asked for a copy and was denied.
I then had another female doctor in the same department tell me “I am sorry what has happened
to you, thank you for your service to America. You will know more in a couple months.” A few
months later I am given a 10% rating and the Dr. notes my symptoms are more severe than the
initial diagnosis? But of course, no records regarding the diving accident. Why? Is it that I am
linked to EODMU9, a unit that was potentially so contaminated it too needed to have the floor
needle gunned up to a depth of three inches? Building 225, that was demolished and paved over?

 The diving accident I was involved in has zero to do with Mare Island as it happened in
Alameda. What it does confirm is that a Disable American Veteran that served at EODMU9
doesn’t get the one thing I want, the medical records surrounding the diving accident. There have
been tons of Seals and EOD guys over the last two decades and several have been wounded in
the war. But don’t they have a right to their own medical records? Don’t my attending VA
psychologist and psychiatrist have permission to review my medical records as medical
professionals, especially when the VA has admitted it is that exact event they are paying my
claim on?

Let’s look at it from the point of what if for a minute? What if it turns out in the future that
hexavalent chrome is the cause for increased cancer and autism rates? No different than the
Tuskegee Airman scandal, no different than denying Agent Orange for years to Vietnam guys,
no different than denying Gulf War Illness. The navy was manufacturing it and blasting it into
the air over Mare Island and Vallejo’s population for decades. This is a huge liability for the
government. Most cleanups start with the source of the problem. In this case, the most
environmentally contaminated buildings get destroyed first. The Mare Island Naval Shipyard
closed in April 1996. A final Inspection report shows a failed test for radiological detection in
one of the bays in EODMU9/Bldg 751. It says the problem was remediated. Did the navy want
to keep a secret about what was actually in building 751 since it was built in the 1940’s until
1988? What was there before EODMU9 took over that part of the building? One thing is for
sure is we will probably never know?

C. Mare Island will be refitting the battleship USS Iowa as a tour site for thousand to come on to
enjoy the new waterfront? They will be towing the boat over from already the contaminated
moth ball fleet in Suisan Bay. Now tourists will be walking around on an island that may take 30
years to kill them or drastically increase their chances of having cancer or autistic children. The
USS Iowa already has a dark cloud over it with the explosion on April 19, 1989. The subsequent
cover up attempt by the navy was pathetic. Tour boat? You gotta be kidding me?

US Navy Mare Island EODMU9 from 1990-1992

Tom Bernit Captain
Roland Lippert CMDR Executive Officer promoted to Captain after Bernit’s departure
Sue Fitzgerald LCDR Executive officer
Max Green Senior Chief (Deceased)
Lee Morrison
Pat McNally
John Halliday
Scott Keough
George Jablonsky (Killed in Vallejo, CA jail cell)
Kurt Shannon
Brian Lawrence
Lisa Lewis
John Soltys
John Coughlin
Ed Ebbinger
Kevin McCarthy
George Torres
Drew Koban
Doug Kearns
Rob Powers ( Deceased in suspicious drowning)
Dennis Artman
Chief Bonner
Lenny Starbeck
Gary Lindsey
Jim Winkle
Ron Molway
Dana Segal
Scott Keough
Fred Flichbaugh (Deceased….suicide)
Gunner Thompson
Master Chief Crozier (Command Master Chief)
Lt. Jack Holly (Seal)
Wayne Stoner (Seal)
Lt. Doug Halpin (Operations Officer)
Lt. Doc Martin (Diving Medical Officer)
Phil Knoble (Medic)
Lt. Davis
SK2 George (supply)
Sk2 Frank (supply)
Shawn Duff
Rick Sikora
Mike Winningham
Don McCollum
Master Chief Clifton
(and many more)

Please feel free to do your own research. My story is one of many. If you are, or know, an old
EODMU9 guy or anyone stationed on Mare Island they need to know this! Please forward. All
references, interviews, statements, emails and comments will be kept in confidence.

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