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Asbestos Exposure in the Marine Corps

Military veterans were exposed to asbestos in the Marine Corps and other branches of service aboard ships, on land, and in their vehicles. The health hazards of their exposure took decades to discover. For more than 25 years, our experienced asbestos legal team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little has helped veterans and their families get compensation for asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma Marines and other veterans have developed.

Asbestos products are pliable, strong, fire- and heat-resistant, and inexpensive to manufacture. Between the 1930s and early 1980s, the U.S. military, including the Marine Corps, used asbestos in equipment, bases, shipyards, and vehicles. It ramped up use before wars when building ships, bases, and barracks and expanding shipyards, including those in the Pacific Northwest. 

The military stopped using asbestos products around the 1980s, but Marines and other veterans exposed decades earlier had already received diagnoses of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. 

Marine Corps veterans fighting asbestos-related diseases have several ways to pursue compensation. The experienced asbestos litigation team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little can help.

Why Choose Bergman Oslund Udo Little Mesothelioma Lawyers for Marine Corps Veterans?

Fighting asbestos-related diseases is expensive and takes a mental toll, so pursuing compensation and getting some level of justice is important. Our asbestos lawyers have decades of combined experience fighting asbestos manufacturers and suppliers, and our dogged work on behalf of our clients has resulted in recovering over $1 billion on their behalf. Our case results include: 

Our award-winning attorneys are recognized by Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100. We are proud that our client testimonials note our skill as a legal team, compassion, and ability to change people’s lives. 

Our proprietary database of asbestos sites and history of helping hundreds of mesothelioma victims, including veterans, allows us to go into settlement negotiations and court fully prepared to fight on your behalf.

Asbestos Exposure in the Marine Corps

As with other military branches, the Marine Corps did not know about asbestos dangers and used it extensively. It was present around pipes, floors and ceilings, vehicle brakes and clutches, protective gear, and fire suppression blankets. Marines also had extensive asbestos exposure when traveling on Navy ships. 

As asbestos products wear down or are moved, cut, or disturbed, the material’s microscopic fibers are released into the air. Those exposed can inhale or ingest the fibers, which can accumulate in the organs and tissue over time.  

Marine Corps veterans, especially those in close contact with asbestos materials, unknowingly breathed in those fibers and are now at risk of developing illnesses decades later. Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer.

How Were Marines Exposed to Asbestos?

Marine Corps veterans were exposed to asbestos in their barracks and other buildings, in the vehicles they drove, aircraft they flew, and in the field. Ships and shipyards had very high exposure rates, and some Marines had increased exposure due to high levels of asbestos at job sites. Virtually everywhere Marines went, they faced the danger of asbestos exposure.


Asbestos was used as heat-shielding insulation in military planes in cockpits, valves, brakes, gaskets, and electrical wiring. Planes carrying troops were coated with asbestos, and aircraft mechanics had close exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers.  

Mechanics and other members of the Marine Corps also faced exposure to asbestos in hangars with asbestos floors, ceilings, and insulation. A crowded hangar with multiple mechanics disturbing asbestos and releasing it into the air heightened the risk.

Bases & Buildings

Marine Corps barracks and other structures built between the 1930s and early 1980s often had asbestos insulation and ceiling and floor tiles. The military also used it to coat pipes, doors, and roofs. Marines were exposed when building and living in the barracks, particularly if tasked with making repairs.  

Asbestos becomes dangerous when disturbed, so ripping up a floor or replacing asbestos ceiling tiles releases hazardous levels of fibers. Virtually every building on bases built from 1930 to 1980 contained some asbestos products. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has a widely known water contamination problem but is still undergoing asbestos abatement.

Ships & Shipyards

Marine Corps veterans traveled on Navy ships and worked in military shipyards. Naval vessels had extremely high levels of asbestos due to its use as a heat-shielding insulator. Shipbuilders used it around pipes, boilers, engines, ceiling tiles, and deck flooring. A study reviewing ships and asbestos-related diseases found that sailors worldwide have an increased risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. 

Shipyards were particularly dangerous because asbestos materials were stored there and were the site of ship repairs. Some of the military’s biggest shipyards were and are in Washington and Oregon, so Marine Corps veterans in the Pacific Northwest faced high levels of exposure. 

Our Bergman Oslund Udo Little asbestos lawyers in Washington and Oregon have a history of helping veterans exposed to asbestos on ships and in shipyards. Contact us today for a free case review.


Before 1980 and new asbestos regulations, Marines used the M60 Patton tank, which contained asbestos-filled insulation. Transport vehicles, assault vehicles, and all-terrain vehicles also had asbestos insulation as a heat shield for engines and weapons. 

Military vehicles also had asbestos in brakes, clutches, and gaskets, called friction parts. Marine mechanics who worked on these vehicles faced a high risk of exposure as their work disturbed the asbestos and released it into the air.

Asbestos Exposure in Combat Zones

The military and the private construction sector worldwide used asbestos products, so Marine Corps veterans also faced exposure abroad. Veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan spent time around crumbling buildings containing large amounts of disturbed asbestos. 

Asbestos is also released in combat zones when equipment made with asbestos materials is damaged. Vehicles, weapons, some protective gear, and other asbestos products released additional asbestos fibers that threatened the health of Marine Corps veterans.

What Compensation Can Marine Corps Veterans Claim?

Marines exposed to asbestos who later develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer have several ways to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Veterans Administration Claims

Marine Corps veterans with an other than dishonorable discharge can file a disability claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for their asbestos-related illnesses. If the VA determines your illness was service-connected, you are eligible for VA benefits, including monthly compensation, health care, and access to other VA programs. 

Family members of Marine Corps veterans who died from asbestos-related illnesses connected to their service may be eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. These VA benefits are available to Marine Corps veterans’ spouses, children, and—in some cases—parents. 

If you receive compensation from the VA, you can still pursue additional compensation through legal action and asbestos trust funds. You do not need an attorney to file a VA claim, but Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s mesothelioma attorneys have the experience needed to help the process go smoothly and to fight on your behalf if the VA denies your claim.

Mesothelioma Claims

Marine Corps veterans with asbestos-related illnesses can file personal injury lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and suppliers. These cases can be complex, as exposure occurred decades ago, and you may have had more than one exposure point. 

Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little have a history of successfully securing compensation for veterans decades after their high risk of asbestos exposure in the military led to their illnesses. We know how to determine which manufacturer is responsible for your illness, collect the evidence you need, and fight tenaciously on your behalf in settlement negotiations or court.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Despite earlier warnings from researchers, asbestos manufacturers continued making products until more research became widely disseminated in the 1970s and early 1980s. The government began regulating asbestos, and people started filing lawsuits against the companies that ignored its dangers. Many of those companies declared bankruptcy.  

Bankruptcy court forced many of these companies to contribute to asbestos trust funds to compensate victims who had not yet become ill. Some trust funds are defunct, but others still have compensation available. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s asbestos lawyers in Oregon and Washington can help determine if you qualify for asbestos trust fund compensation.

Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a Free Mesothelioma Case Review

You and your family deserve a chance at compensation for the asbestos-related illness you contracted as a result of your military service. Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free mesothelioma case review and discuss the best next steps. 

We understand the toll your diagnosis has taken on your family, and we are firmly committed to fighting corporations that put profits over people.

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520 Pike St. #1125
Seattle, WA 98101
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1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204
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Representing Asbestos and Mesothelioma Clients Throughout the Northwest.
Seattle Office

520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

Portland Office

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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