Combat veterans of the U.S. military are entitled to the respect they receive. They demonstrated their selflessness in missions and deployments throughout the world. And today, some continue to possess that same attitude. When it comes to a disease like mesothelioma, they resist claiming the compensation they are owed for the devastating consequence of asbestos and illnesses like mesothelioma.
One example is that of a U.S. Navy veteran, who was reluctant to submit a claim, thinking it "unpatriotic." He had developed mesothelioma, apparently after his Vietnam War service. He had been a Gunner's Mate, and his job was loading shells into the guns of the ship and with cruel irony, his "safety equipment" included a vest and gloves made of asbestos.
As many Navy sailors, he would also have been exposed to the significant quantities of asbestos that was used throughout the ship. Any major overhaul of the ship could have disturbed much of the asbestos insulation that would have wrapped the steam pipes within the boiler and engine room of the ship.
A small tear or abrasion in any of that material could have made the asbestos fibers airborne and allowed them to be inhale by the unwitting victim. Decades later, they develop a cough that does not go away. When the doctor makes the diagnosis, it is already too late.
Many cases of mesothelioma can be traced back to work in California shipyards and the workers and sailors who were exposed to asbestos during their work on those ships.
The families of those who die from latent causes, like asbestos inhaled during their tour of duty, are owed something more than an "I'm sorry" from the Navy.
Source: Newsday.com, "Mesothelioma Victims Center Reports: Recent Discussions Indicate Some US Navy Veterans Avoid Seeking Mesothelioma Compensation out of Patriotic Concerns," September 3, 2013