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| Michael P. Ehline

History of El Toro Radiation Exposure to Marines and Vets

Although El Toro Marines have been of great help to our country, sometimes, they don’t receive the treatment they deserve. The same happens to Veterans and anyone who ever worked at a Marine Corps air station. Radiation exposure is the perfect example of something we can’t allow Veterans to keep going through.

Many people don’t know that, but people on active duty when the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station was working were exposed to toxic chemicals that could have caused severe medical conditions in the future. We are talking about diseases such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and other health issues.

Unfortunately, those who did military service suffering from those issues don’t receive enough resources to heal from the injuries they got from exposure to toxic substances when serving our country. Some don’t even know they are suffering because of something that happened while in the Marine Corps.

Do you or a loved one need help to address this situation? Contact us to know how we can help you! We are the Paul Ehline Memorial Ride, and our goal is to raise awareness of this problem to help veterans get justice for what happened and keeps happening to them.

Read this page to know more about the matter!

What Happened at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station?

The truth is that this is not an issue exclusive to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station but rather something that happened in other air stations, too. Nonetheless, the El Toro air station is one of the most affected by this problem, and even the Environmental Protection Agency has spoken about it.

What we know as the former Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro was stopped in 1999 by the Marine Corps, but before that, at least 300 marines were working there. Whether it was the Marine Wing Services Group or any other team made of Marines, almost all of them worked there since 1969.

Although many Marine Veterans didn’t know that until now, they were all exposed to several chemicals harmful to the human body. The radioactive contamination based in El Toro air station was not mild, and the place was full of Ra 226.

A navy contractor found out that a Ra 226 had been contaminating the area for years. The reason for this is marines and people undergoing military service often used Ra 226 to make radio luminescent paint by mixing it with zinc sulfide. Naturally, they didn’t know how dangerous this was.

Ra 226 is one of the most radioactive components you can find out there, and being exposed to it for years can cause several types of cancer. However, effects may come several years later, so it was difficult for a Marine Veteran to know that at the time.

Many Camp Lejeune Marines didn’t know they were in danger until it was too late for them. Other Navy reports such that the north mezzanine area of hangar 296 was classified as radioactive for having toxic components above the established release limits.

How Dangerous Is Toxic Exposure?

Environmental contamination is one of the most dangerous things people can go through, and known contamination is not something you can detect right away, so not knowing it was there meant letting it damage your body from the inside. Regardless of that, the risk of occupational exposure hasn’t been properly addressed by any government department.

Nevertheless, people working for health care organizations, environmental agencies, and even experts coming from institutions, such as Temple University, are doing their best to help people get more resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other government department able to help victims.

Health care is not inexpensive, and healing from the diseases left in your body after having exposure to organic solvents is not simple, either. Many marines who worked at Camp Lejeune in the past have already died from the diseases radiation caused them.

Common Diseases

These are some of the most common diseases among Veterans after serving at the Marines Air Station El Toro:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Reproductive issues
  • Aplastic anemia

Most of those diseases are deadly to people, and marine vets aren’t getting any compensation for them.

What Are the Toxic Chemicals at the MCAS El Toro?

As we mentioned before, toxic exposure to Ra 226 can be deadly for some people, and the problem with that is that Ra 226 wasn’t the only toxic chemical dangerous for marines there. Safety environmental measures were not that good for marine air stations on the West Coast, so it’s no surprise to see this happening.

Here are some of the most deadly contaminants that could have caused the killing diseases marines are suffering from:

  • Ra 226
  • Dioxin
  • Battery Acids
  • Leaded Fuels
  • TCE

While those things are dangerous by themselves, imagine how detrimental they can be to your health if you are exposed to all of them at the same time. Even the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has made reports about the matter.

It’s already too big of an issue to make a government cover-up, so the best people can do is keep making awareness of this issue.

How Can Paul Ehline Memorial Ride Help Me?

Paul Ehline Ride focuses on supporting veterans suffering from exposure to any toxic chemicals while serving or PTSD. This memorial ride started in memory of Sergeant Paul Ehline, and it’s there to help anyone willing to join the ride. As we mentioned before, getting compensation for what happened while serving is not easy at all.

The reason for that is marines are not allowed to sue the government, so they can’t file a lawsuit or claim accusing the government of negligence towards veterans. Thus, the best marine corps can do is file a VA disability claim to get VA health care.

Filing a Claim Is Complex

However, doing so is not that simple and takes a lot of time to be processed. The reason for that is marines who served at Camp Lejeune or any other air station need to prove there is a link between the disease they are suffering from and the military base they worked at.

Not many healthcare professionals are willing to testify against the government or get involved with it in any way, so many VA claims don’t get vets a good settlement. Fortunately, the Paul Ehline Memorial Ride is here to fight for your rights with the help of the Leatherneck community and even law offices such as the Ehline Law Firm.

The only thing you have to do to join our ride is to call us and see how we can help you! We also host several events to support veterans and raise road awareness for bike riders.


We understand it can be overwhelming to suffer from a terminal disease without even knowing what caused it in the first place. Things get even worse when you don’t have the funds to pay for medical expenses. No one deserves that, so we are here to support Marine veterans and their family members while they suffer and grieve.

Paul Ehline Ride also works with the Motorcycle Rider and Motorcycle Club Community, so we also sponsor motorcycle clubs. Contact us now to know how we can help you or what you can do to help others!

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Donations submitted through donation forms on PaulEhlineRide.Org are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by U.S. and state laws. These will be in U.S. Federal Reserve Notes. Paul Ehline Memorial Ride™ is a U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable Section 501(c)(19) organization that benefits US Armed Forces veterans under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. (Tax identification number 85-4040563.)