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Mar-13-2012 03:49printcommentsVideo

MCAS Tustin... California's Other Closed and Contaminated Marine Base

Orange County may be in real trouble- contamination cases keep showing up.

MCAS Tustin(LTA)
Photos of MCAS Tustin (LTA) by Bonnie King,

(TUSTIN, CA) - We've written at length about the contamination of MCAS El Toro in Southern California, the now-closed Marine Corps air base that was a center of military defense for both Orange County and Los Angeles for half a century, however we haven't devoted very much space to a second nearby base, MCAS Tustin.

Both bases closed permanently in 1999 and the Third Air Wing Marines were shipped to Miramar, the Navy's 'Fighter Town, USA' made famous by the movie Top Gun. The Navy in turn, along with the fighter weapons school, was sent to train for naval missions in Fallon, Nevada - in the middle of the desert.

Strange story I know; it is bizarre that Marines were able to upseat the Navy and take over their prominent base that way, but there was not enough room and it was a very expensive operation as it turned out.

Just before El Toro closed, the helicopters that had traditionally been based at MCAS Tustin LTA (Lighter Than Air) - the WWII blimp base a few miles from El Toro, were moved to El Toro.

Those who already know that El Toro is a Superfund site, will not be surprised to learn that Tustin has similar problems and while there is no real support from the government at this point, it will do former Tustin Marines good to understand that their health may have been compromised just like the Marines from El Toro.

There are those like myself, who served at both bases. Please pass this story to all Marines who may have served at any of the 3rd Marine Air Wing bases and let's continue to bring people onto the same page.

Based on extensive investigation of the El Toro base that was carried out by Navy contractors, the place is best described as 'Toxic Soup' as our writer Roger Butow in Laguna Beach has reasoned.

As an EPA Superfund site, El Toro's MWG-37 area is so toxic, that the asphalt in a warm summer day becomes sticky and actually will adhere to your car tires after being parked for only fifteen or so minutes, as I learned in 2008.

The main contaminant is TCE - trichloroethylene, a chemical degreaser that was used to clean jet fighters. It was used to clean many other items also and Marines were never warned of its severe health-compromising effects.

Marines disposed of it improperly, simply pouring it into the ground, they were not trained in the radical impact their lack of environmental stewardship would ultimately have.

The TCE is far from the only contaminant prominent at El Toro, another is PCE - perchloroethylene, another chemical degreaser, and another is Benzene, a fuel ingredient that is extremely dangerous.

The list goes on and on, the various chemicals are cancer-causing, the types of cancer vary.

Lower stomach issues are commonly related including intestinal colitis which one of my sons suffers from. Another one of my sons born at El Toro, had a collapsed bowel at the age of four-months and narrowly survived. I had terrible lower stomach problems during my time at El Toro which was more than two years of service.

Some of my Marine Corps friends have died, some have lost children, many simply can not be located. My generation is only one; writer Bob O'Dowd was at the base a few years before Roger Butow, and John Uldrich was there a few years before Robert, in the 50's.

Among the living are many cancer survivors. We have written about this extensively and again, there is no reason to suspect that Tustin Marines should be much better off than the rest of us.

According to the City of Tustin's, 'Tustin Legacy' Website, MCAS Tustin-(LTA) has an environmental history of contamination that includes but is not limited to, solvents and jet fuel supporting the base operations, and pesticides associated with the agricultural uses.'s John Uldrich, Bob O'Dowd
and Tim King at MCAS Tustin in 2009.

    Former MCAS Tustin was extensively used for agriculture prior to being commissioned in 1942 for a lighter-than-air patrol base and re-commissioned in 1951 to support helicopter operations. Physical improvements installed over the years to support the mission of MCAS Tustin included: approximately 200 buildings and structures; a 3,000-foot runway, aircraft parking aprons; and aircraft maintenance shops. Support facilities, including military housing, occupied approximately 1,100 acres of the approximately 1,500 acres of the former MCAS Tustin. The remaining approximately 400 acres of the former MCAS Tustin was undeveloped and leased for commercial agricultural use.

    During the operation of former MCAS Tustin, certain contaminants were released into the soil and groundwater primarily resulting from, but not limited to, solvents and jet fuel supporting the base operations, and from pesticides associated with the agricultural uses. Since the initiation of the “Navy Assessment and Control of Installation Pollutants Program” in 1980 (which later became the current Installation Restoration Program (IRP)), the Navy has successfully completed numerous site investigations and remedial actions; however, contaminated groundwater plumes (VIEW MAP) remain. The chemicals of concern (COC) remaining in the groundwater are generally a result of fuel and solvents previously used in the operation of former MCAS Tustin.

    Remediation continues to be undertaken by the Department of the Navy under oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California EPA (Department of Substances Control (DTSC) and Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB)). Information pertaining to the past and present remediation efforts can be found at the following locations:

From the article, Irvine Great Park CEO Michael
D. Ellzey: Is This Man An Imposter?
by Roger Butow

Navy contractors performed much of this work also, and all of the results are filed on the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) “EnviroStor” Website. The good news is that Tustin's Website includes the relevant Web links and the first few paragraphs about the base disclose the environmental problems.

This is in stark contrast to Irvine's handling of MCAS El Toro, which they have billed as a future park and housing community, for which it is vastly unfit as a dangerously toxic, EPA Superfund site.

Irvine will not even admit that the toxic ground and the heavily contaminated water plumes beneath the base are problematic. Irvine Mayor Larry Agran has been accused of any number of improprieties relating to El Toro's missing millions of dollars in development funds. The 'Great Park Corporation'- overseeing the 'park' project, and the city of Irvine are in quite a fix.

They do not have funds to continue, they spent them and then at the last minute, announced that they would not be tearing up the flightline after all, to extend the highly touted project.

As Roger Butow pointed out at the time, Agron knew damned well that the ground under the flightline was more toxic than anything we already knew about, they had no choice.

City Council Members Dr. Steven Choi and Christina Shea, worked with our reporters and tried to expose elements of the Irvine mayor's empty plans, however their efforts fell short and Shea is no longer in office.

Tustin, it seems, particularly because of what I gleaned during phone conversations I have held with city officials over the years, is far more responsible in its view and approach than the majority of Irvine councilors, and I applaud this.

Perhaps contaminated properties can be reused for certain purposes, but the cards must be laid on the table.

My Role at Tustin was to help reestablish a fuel farm that was needed to keep Tustin's aircraft flying. A few friends and I who normally performed 'tactical refueling' of Marine jets at El Toro, were sent to Tustin to revive the use of a large above-ground jet fuel tank.

The underground pipes that fed the fuel from the tank to the flightline had gone south. I can't say exactly what happened, I recall being told the lines had rusted out and I'm sure that probably is exactly what happened. If so, can anyone imagine how much jet fuel might have seeped into the ground?

We brought our above-ground fuel pumps and set up a tactical aircraft fueling system that tapped into the large above-ground tank and allowed us to refuel the Marine Corps CH-46, CH-53 Alpha and CH-53 Echo helicopters.

We normally used large fuel bags or fuel pods for these tactical operations as they were portable, so this was a hybrid or bastardized version of our normal operation, but it worked.

State documents confirm that problems at MCAS Tustin include hazardous waste, 'degreasing facility' (which obviously means TCE/PCE), aircraft storage/refueling, fuel-vehicle storage, refueling, fuel terminals, jet fuel storage/refueling, oil/water separators, transfer station, tanks/containers, underground storage tanks, above ground storage tanks.

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Problems in Orange

Orange County residents were shocked by the 28 February 2012 Los Angeles Times article by Nicole Santa Cruz, titled: 'Toxic chemical found under O.C. building', that cited levels of tetrachloroethylene exceeding safety standards - discovered beneath offices used by Orange County government agencies, including the Sheriff's Department and Social Services. The building has already led to two lawsuits.

    A toxic chemical used in dry cleaning and for degreasing equipment has been found underneath an Orange County building that is already the subject of two lawsuits, officials said Monday.

    Over the weekend, soil testing was conducted at the two-story office building that houses more than 550 county workers, including employees of the Orange County Social Services Agency and the Sheriff's Department. The testing, paid for by the county, was seen as a step forward in a years-long legal fight that includes former workers who say their time in the building caused birth defects, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

    Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or perc for short, was detected in an area of soil at 5 feet and 10 feet underground. At 10 feet, the level of the chemical's presence exceeded the California Human Health Screening Levels, said TerryLynn Fisher, public information officer for the Social Services Agency.

Dr. Phil Leveque of, is a Forensic Scientist and Professor of Pharmacology, he says perchloroethylene (Which we have always cited as PCE rather than the LA Times' 'perc') is a degreasing chemical that used four types of chlorine, whereas trichloroethylene (TCE) is comprised of three types of chlorine.

We know they were both used extensively at MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin. Dr. Leveque says it is a chemical frequently associated with dry cleaning operations, but we know the military used it, and we know that plumes of toxic chemicals flow from beneath El Toro and they are well-documented and significant.

In the Voice of OC article, Tests Reveal Likely Carcinogen Under County Building, Norberto Santana Jr. wrote on 5 March 2012, that "County officials, who have resisted calls for toxic testing at the site for years, are now moving to expand soils testing and will likely have the building evacuated."

In our article, TCE-Related Toxic Waste in Irvine Much Worse Than Previously Revealed from 8 February 2009, it was revealed that a toxic TCE plume from El Toro actually covered considerably more distance than previously believed.

    A 2001 document received this week that originated from Don Zweifel, MCAS, El Toro charter RAB member & pro bono consultant to El Toro Local Redevelopment, indicates that the underground "plume" of TCE moving underground westward away from the old base, had traveled six miles, rather than three as previously indicated. Research underway today indicates that the plume has traveled a significant distance since the six mile mark was noted in 2001.

I am not a scientist, but I can look at the associated map and see that the plume from El Toro reaching Irvine, is stretching at least in the general direction of the contaminated government building in Orange. What is even more interesting, is that the Tustin base splits the distance between the two points.

Roger Butow has pointed to the fact that the system at MCAS El Toro to remove the TCE contamination from the groundwater, captures the toxic liquid and discharges it raw and untreated into the Pacific Ocean through an outfall pile a short distance off the coast of South Laguna.

So this means TCE from El Toro makes its way several miles to Irvine without a problem; what they can pull out is shipped due west to the ocean as sewage, and now Orange has a suspiciously similar problem.

Is there a connection? Has Orange County been utterly devastated by TCE and PCE? It appears increasingly to be the case.


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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IMA Avionics February 11, 2021 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

There are a number of Marines who served 1980 to 1985 that work in 610 & 620 shops in the vans at the 3rd hanger that have severe medical problems and also passed away from ultimately using cleaners that were know to be dangerous and the OIC's didn't warn the young Marines, but the Officers kept away from the hazards.

Anonymous May 14, 2019 3:50 pm (Pacific time)

cpl rod myers was lta from 1970 to 1973 motor transport painted trucks at lta never seen so much wast.

Don E Edmondson April 8, 2019 3:32 pm (Pacific time)

My dad was a 30 year Marine he loved his job, but he got Parkinson's and died 2 years ago. Now my Mother has it and I am showing beginning signs. We lived at El Toro base housing and in the fifty's MCAS Tustin hosing and I worked at both stations at the gas station. Nobody in both sides of family has any of these problems. I am a vet. asnd when I brought it up to the person in charge at the vet center she gaffed me off. Who should I contact about this.

Jeff February 22, 2019 February 22, 2019 7:47 am (Pacific time)

I was Stationed on MCAS (H) Tustin 1981-1984 as well as a few months on El Toro. TCE also causes cardic arrhythmias, I was diagnosed with Afib and PVC's in 2009. Since then I've had multiple Electro Cardioversions (shock the heart) as well as a Heart Ablation. I have filed a claim, well see what happens. If you have health issues please file a claim. Semper Fi!

billr January 30, 2019 9:19 am (Pacific time)

I was at Lejeune in 66. el toro and Tustin 66 to68. I was diagnosed in 2000 with a liver problem. this was before all the problems were out in the open. Jan 2018, liver cancer. I still love the corps, semper fi.

Ray Carrillo March 3, 2018 3:06 pm (Pacific time)

Stationed MCAS Tustin 1974-1979 cleaning solentts Fuel, turbine exhaust enteral bladders in CH- 46 I have had respiratory issues since I was discharged

Bill October 6, 2017 12:25 am (Pacific time)

MCAS Tustin 1988-91, CH-46 Crewchief. I'm healthy, but I stayed away from the Trike. Inhaled an awful lot of turbine exhaust and MIL-L-23699 oil mist, though. Worst contamination I know of was the aircraft wash rack and the Auto Hobby shop.

Marvin October 3, 2017 3:55 pm (Pacific time)

I was stationed at MCAS Tustin Twice and El Toro once. I was an MP, I closed MCAS Tustin down in 1999. Since then I have been diagnosed with hypertension. Last year (2015) I had some medical complications. Some days, while urinating I would pass blood and large blood clots. The VA has done very little to assist me in finding out what is going in. As a VET I'm starting to feel some type of way about the Country we served for.. And you got the nerves to tell me that I make to much money to get medical from the VA...

Ken Prater August 8, 2017 7:52 pm (Pacific time)

I was stationed at LTA 1963-1964. I traveled between LTA and ElToro frequently. I now suffer non-reversible Lung disease COPD level 4. I cannot support surgery of any type for my lungs as I would no survive the surgery. I started smoking in boot camp in San Diego and camp Pendleton Second ITR training and was on leave when Join F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1964 and was ordered back to base canceling boot camp leave. Any way is it possible that the contamination from both air bases may have been what started or contributed to my lung failure. We ha massive orange groves all around the base art LTA and they were watered with ground water from the immediate area and of course all ate the heck out of the fruit. I worked primality as a motor mech. but also was responsible for the ground support equipment for HMM-362 3dMaw MCAF. Thank you for your response and comments to this

Scott June 2, 2017 11:51 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at Tustin with H&MS-16 Aviation Ordnance from 1984-1988. The building I worked out of is still standing across the street from the armory. We used gallons of TCE to clean .50 cal machine guns every day. We had a machine that held about 20 gallons that you put your parts into and it would agitate and clean the parts. We would have to fish parts out of it and scrub other parts while it was cleaning. We did not wear any protective gear and would have symptoms of exposure to the TCE everyday. We would dump gallons upon gallons in our compound behind the building. We also would dump hydraulic and brake fluid in the corner of our compound. When I was there most of the fields to the northwest were strawberry fields. I later met an owner of a pesticide spraying company that the farmers on Tustin used to spray their fields. He told me that the chemicals they sprayed would eat the bottom of their boots. He does not eat strawberries anymore. I now have several medical issues that I believe are related to prolonged exposure to TCE and other chemicals. I live near Tustin and have commented to my wife that I cannot believe they let homes be built around the base.

Kevin January 17, 2017 5:00 pm (Pacific time)

What seems to be overlooked here is that we did things VERY differently back in the day. HAZMAT did not exist until the early 90s and has only recently become an other than collateral duty. We used MEK, PD-680, JP 5, and tons of other chemical compounds freely, In full compliance with maintenance manuals and directives. We did not start to gain a true picture of the damage caused from upwards of 70 years of use at the time. We, and I am just as guilty as all aircraft maintainers back in the day, just did not know. Today I shudder to think what is out in the ground around any airfield, civilian or military. I spent time at both El Toro and Tustin along with Cherry Point, New River, and Cecil Field. As for help from the VA one can only hope. Even with documentation of paperwork 3 feet high I am constantly in battle to keep my disability.

Patricia January 17, 2017 12:49 am (Pacific time)

I was at Tustin with HMT-301 and HMM-164 and TME from Nov 1979-Sep 1981...I remember jet fuel and the cleaning racks...and the fields all around us. I have a number of medical issues that the VA is trying to tell me I was born with, but, why were they not found while I was in service? I would like to know more about the effects of these exposures and the medical conditions they may lead to. Thanks, (I am in Portland).

Floyd December 5, 2016 10:33 pm (Pacific time)

Since my last post I have been notified by my primary care physician that I have chronic liver disease.

Floyd November 25, 2016 2:55 pm (Pacific time)

I was stationed at MCAS Tustin from 1989-1992. I work, ate, drink and lived on base. I agree with the post by Phillip, the common practices, dumping and spills, no protection, ect. Since my discharge I have had 4 right and 2 left knee surgeries for desecration of bone and soft tissue damage. I have to take medication in order to just swallow including liquids due to me esophagus not working properly. I have chronic headaches that started with in the first year I was discharger. In 2013 I had a 3cm golf ball size tumor/mass removed from my brain stem. I have four children with two different mothers, all four having the same complications at birth (shallow breathing and heart rates dropping off). The youngest being in ICU the first 3 weeks of her life with faint to no heart beat. All C-section to save their lives. I currently have been diagnosed with an accessory spleen on the tail of my pancreas. Unknown at this time of whether it is cancer at this time. I currently receive 50%, but what about my children and the other Marines and families. We need to get this information and message out to all of our fellow Marine brothers and sisters and their families.

Cindy September 17, 2016 5:30 pm (Pacific time)

My husband was stationed at el toro 1981-1986. Now has early parkinson his va physician feels is from tce use. Trying to find documentation about use of this solvent by f-18 mechanics during this time. Thanks

Ralph February 11, 2016 6:32 am (Pacific time)

I wanted to post some information about benefits for those of you that have military service, have a disability, are having financial hardships and don’t know where to turn. Depending on your disabilities and military service you may be entitled to a pension whether your disability is service connected or not. VA Services in your area is a good place to start. In my case, I have a 30% non-service connected pension which is 1,072.00 a month. It can’t hurt to check it out.

Ralph February 9, 2016 7:31 am (Pacific time)

I wanted to post some information about benefits for those of you that have military service, have a disability, are having financial hardships and don’t know where to turn. Depending on your disabilities and military service you may be entitled to a pension whether your disability is service connected or not. is a good place to start. In my case, I have a 30% non-service connected pension which is 1,072.00 a month. It can’t hurt to check it out.

Ralph February 6, 2016 2:55 pm (Pacific time)

I am going to file a compensation claim this week for my time at MCAS Tustin and El Toro. (See my post below.) The government doesn’t have to acknowledge responsibility in order for everyone that was at these two bases to file a claim. You just need to claim your condition was caused by the water or even connected to your military service. I am going to site Camp Lejeune as possible proof that MCAS Tustin and El Toro caused these conditions. I suggest everyone file a claim. Keep in mind that once the government assumes responsibility, they must retroactively apply everything back to the date you filed.

Philip February 2, 2016 10:12 pm (Pacific time)

I was based at MCAS Tustin 85-89. It was common practice back then to use Tric, perc, PD-680 dry cleaning solvent, jet engine oil, and many other toxins, on a daily basis without any personal protective equipment (PPE was issued as part of new hire orientation at my first civilian job)whatsoever. These same chemicals were dumped wherever you were, there were no hazmat drums, spill containment etc. we did have kitty litter sometimes. Often times when a de-fuel truck could not be acquired from El Toro, the birds would be towed around the base, especially the civilian produce fields, with the drains left open, until the aircraft was empty! Since then, bladder and colon cancer, kidneys are shot and full of unknown cysts. Digestive issues, every piece of cartridge and joint in my body is ravaged! The extremely quick and secretive cleanup or coverup I should say was driven by greed of developers wanting the property, coupled with the Dept. Of Navy wanting to get out from under it. It is time for the USMC/USN/DOD and the VA to acknowledge the fact that they knowingly exposed all of us to these carcinogens and take responsibility much the way they did LeJeune. The list of presumptive illness needs to be expanded and the VA needs to start recruiting people in for testing. It pains me that our government spends tens of millions all throughout South America to encourage illegal immigrants to come here for free benefits, but not one penny making veterans aware of what is available to them. I have lost so many fellow Marines to various cancers and illness and know of several that are currently battling various cancers. So out of maybe a couple hundred, I would guess at least 25-30% battling diseases. That is much much higher than the general public. As far as tracking like LeJeune, nothing! Start contacting your elected officials today and demand an investigation!

Adam January 29, 2016 6:04 pm (Pacific time)

Stationed there at PWP 440 MALS-16 from 1994-1996 plus school in 1992. Since being out I've had diverticulitis, 2 colonoscopies with polyps removed both times and in 2012 Acute Myeloid Leukemia for which I needed a bone marrow transplant. I feel confident that exposure to chemicals on base led to my AML. Is there any data being tracked like at LeJeune?

Ralph January 18, 2016 5:57 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at MCAS Tustin for approximately 7 years. I also spent a few months in MCAS El Toro and Camp Lejeune. I was discharged in July 1980. In 1984 I was diagnosed with an ulcer after several years of unknown stomach problems. In 1992 I had to have surgery for a perforated ulcer. In 2004 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had a large bladder tumor removed. At this point I continue to have polyps removed from my bladder. I also have an autoimmune disease called Myasthenia Gravis. It is important to note that there is no family history of cancer, ulcers or other diseases.

gary hutchinsom January 7, 2016 1:27 pm (Pacific time)

its interesting to hear all of you havi.g these colon problems and digestive priblems and cancers. i have had abdominal problems since a year after being discharged. now im having severe pain and the va cant seem to find out whats causing these issues....coincidence i think not. what is our government doing to help us???

Terry Dvorak January 6, 2016 11:38 am (Pacific time)

I served with WTS-37 from 1978 to 1985 and lived on Longstaff Way on Tustin for five years from 1980 to 1985 with my family. Currently dealing with Parkinson's disease with no confirmed link yet to Agent Orange.

J. Pearson January 5, 2016 1:01 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed on Tustin and El Toro from 1992 to 1999 and a year later I was diagnosed with leukemia. Lucky I was still active duty and was medically retired a year later. It sucks to still be fighting CML but watching this really pisses me off.

H T Nance January 4, 2016 11:55 am (Pacific time)

Like so many others I served at MCAS Tustin, starting as CO of HMM-164 and later serving as MAG-16 XO, Ca.1980-1983. Will never forget the late night phone call I received informing me that there was a very strong smell of fuel around the HMM-164 Flight Line. The source was not known and there was concern that we could have a major explosion unless the source was determined and fixed. Immediately, I left my home in Oceanside and drove to Tustin. Upon arrival I sent 2-3 hours with the MCAS Commander trying to locate the source accompanied by several other Base personnel. As I recall, it was finally determined that there was a major underground leak and it was stopped in the next few days. Also, the Base/Gov. did lease land to a local agricultural concern that seemed to have a year round program growing vegetables as close to the base roads and flight line areas as possible. I do recall thinking that there was a lot of chemicals being used to fertilize and control insects while growing several crops a year. I do not, however, recall any events dealing with the chemical issue while XO of Mag-16. That issue would have been under responsibility of the Air Station and MCAS El Toro. Like any Marine, I am saddened to hear of the tragic impact this issue has imposed on our brothers and their families as well as local non-military personnel. Hope they are given the best care that can be provided! Thanks to Tim King for his informative research and reporting! Semper Fi.

John January 3, 2016 9:27 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at El Toro from '83-'87 (MAG-11) while living in Tustin Base Housing.

Anonymous January 3, 2016 8:07 am (Pacific time)

Having served there for 5 years until the shutdown and our relocation to San Diego, I began experiencing major digestion issues 2 years after being stationed on El Toro. I have been hospitalized annually for colitis issues and am currently on infusions at 10k dollars per session (every 8 weeks)to control the problem. I have two other friends who have similar issues and another with Lymph Node cancer....all of which served in the same unit at the same time on El Toro. Coincidence...I think not.

David Foland January 3, 2016 8:02 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at Tustin from 1978-1990. Lived on base housing at both bases. Had two children during those years. Both which have respitory problems as I do. I'd like to know more about all this. Strange that I've never been contacted about it. In fact my ex wife whom was there 10 yrs. Died at less than 60 yrs of age.

Joe Anaya January 3, 2016 1:30 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at El Toro from 93-95. I was a mechanic and used solvents daily. I also lost a daughter to leukemia in 2008. We (me and my wife and drs.) never found a link as to my daughters leukemia. My email is:, please add me to your page and send info! !! Thanks

Jeff Ferschweiler January 2, 2016 4:52 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for the update. I got this through a friend on Facebook. I live here in Salem and I was Stationed at MCAS Tustin from 1996 until they shut it down in 1999, and was then transferred to Camp Pendleton. Don't know if I've got any ailments yet from there, but I just Retired from MCAS Miramar in 2012. I'm currently 70% disabled through the VA and I'm still awaiting my Navy Medical Records. Thanks again for the article and I'll do more research on my own. If not for me, for my fellow Marines.

Becky January 2, 2016 3:12 pm (Pacific time)

I too have a child with autism. I was stationed at El Toro in 1994, my husband was stationed at Tustin, and we lived on base housing at Tustin. My daughter was born while we lived there. I am curious to know if there is a link there.

Steve January 2, 2016 2:37 pm (Pacific time)

We also used the TCE at the airfield at Pendleton

gary January 2, 2016 11:25 am (Pacific time)

just found out about thos through a friend and would like to get more info if possible. i was stationes in both places between 1993-1998

Leslie January 1, 2016 6:19 pm (Pacific time)

Has anything been linked to autism from these findings? I was stationed at El Toro 93-97 and had a child will I was there that has autism. Just wondering if there's any other reports of this?

Anonymous December 31, 2015 4:51 pm (Pacific time)

What about MCAS TUSTIN?

Anonymous December 31, 2015 3:17 pm (Pacific time)

Any reported kidney problems related to Tustin or these toxins?

Bernie December 31, 2015 8:27 am (Pacific time)

I spent several years at both bases in the 1990s. I found it odd that a large amount of land at the end of Tustin's runway 24 was leased to a company to grow vegetables, with a similar arrangement in place at El Toro. I'm guessing that they both were irrigating the crops with groundwater.

Rick Ritter July 23, 2015 7:46 pm (Pacific time)

is their any new info concerning this base? If so could I please be informed? I was stationed from 1973-75. I had prostate cancer and had my prostate removed 3 years ago. My email is: Thanks in advance.

Iris June 20, 2012 2:16 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks, I currently live in the new homes by tustin fields. I was just tested for heavy metals and was found to have arsenic and lead, mercury and 2 others whose name i can't remember. I have a baby and this is caused to move out asap!! How sad and gets me and how the city of Irvine know and they are just money hungry and dont care about the residents!!

Editor: Iris, needless to say we are very concerned to hear of this, I have heard from many people who are impacted but this might be the most severe case I have heard of and it sounds like you have it backed up.  I would like to know more, if you don't mind, please drop an email to me,  I appreciate your contact very much and we protect the privacy of those we work with, thank you.

Tim King 

Alex March 20, 2012 7:23 pm (Pacific time)


Thank you for reporting this. As a long time resident of Orange County, it's been hard to find out why this land hasn't been put to use sooner (besides the economy being what it is). Thanks for shedding light, especially being as far away as you are.

Tim King: Thank you Alex, it is very important to me also, a population well worth saving.

Susan King March 14, 2012 11:58 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks Tim, great article. Did you know your niece, her husband and your great niece live in Santa Ana right beside Tustin. And prior to that lived in Laguna Hills. Will try to send this article to them.

Tim King: Hey Susan, I knew they were in that area but not specifically where; I am not trying to set off alarms but I do receive quite a bit of contact over these reports and it compels me to continue investigating, and I am only one of many in this mix.  Tustin is a really nice place, let's hope for the best, thanks so much.

Eric White March 13, 2012 2:10 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for covering Tustin, many people are not aware as MCAS Tustin is not a large bleep on anyone's radar anymore.  It does seem like the city is being somewhat transparent in dealing with the toxic matter and while that is the least they can do, it is still noticeably better in spirit than Irvine as noted in this article.  

Ray U Urban March 13, 2012 2:09 pm (Pacific time)

Was in the first group of 50 to open ElToro- Ran into a volunteer at the WWII Museum NEw Orleans, La., he raised the flag at the opening ceremonies, left El Toro with VMF 212 first stop Hawaii then Midway, more islands after that -- ElToro holds many memories

Tim King: Ray, that is so amazing to read, it must be tough to see it as it is today, if you can share any details about the earliest days I would be extremely interested,

Rod Bray March 13, 2012 9:00 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for the recent articles regarding MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin (LTA). When I was growing up my father was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot and spent many years stationed at the MCAS Tustin facility. Prior to his retirement in 1973 he had held positions as the commander of HMH-363, base Operations Officer and base Executive Commander. He spent 23 years in the Marine Corps and approximately 10 of those years stationed at Tustin. He past away in 2003 in Salem as a result of many medical complications.

As a teenager I worked for the Post Exchange (PX) at El Toro and Camp Pendleton. All of these bases have great historical significance to the country and So. Cal., not to mention the great memories for families like mine. It is a tragedy that the legacy of the sites will be this environmental disaster. I hope that the federal government will do the right thing and not allow these contaminated sites to be passed off on unsuspecting local governments which would only make the exposure to the public worse.

Keep up the good work!

Tim King: Thanks very much Rod for pointing out these important facts, your dad's service was valuable to this country and I am sorry you lost him.  I remember the base exchange at El Toro well, there is a great deal to keep up on, thanks for writing.  

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