My name is Rosanna Kieru. My husband, Staff Sargent Vincent Kieru, and our two children lived on George Air Force Base from 1988 until it closed. My husband was assigned to the 37th component repair squadron as a jet engine mechanic working on the Wild Weasels. My husband used Tryke [TCE] on daily as a cleaner, had an asbestos exposure daily as it was part of the clamping on the engine.
While living in base housing we used the water to drink, brush our teeth and feed and bathe our two young children. We had a vegetable garden and ate the crops from the ground. We watered our lawn on a daily basis as it was required to be green while you lived on the base. Our children played in the sprinklers to escape the desert heat and made mud pies in the yard. We were never told not to drink the water.
My husband and I are only 55, however, our family has a myriad of health issues. My husband suffers from severe Osteoarthritis, has had a knee replacement and tendonitis in both legs and arms. He has bulging disks in his back and suffers from depression. More pointedly my husband suffers from an undiagnosed skin condition which first appeared on the base. His hand will begin to get small water blisters on them which cause his hands and wrist to swell. When they swell his skin splits, peels, and bleeds. He loses the use of his hands because it becomes so severe. The only way to control it is through an oral dose of steroids along with steroid cream. It comes back without notice and puts him out of work as a letter carrier for minimally a week at a time. He is in severe pain when this occurs and no one has been able to tell him the cause or even diagnose his condition.
My son was born on the base essentially emaciated. We were told that his body was consuming itself as he had no reserve body fat. His skin hung from his body. He had APAGARS of 2 to 3. He was put into an incubator because his body could not hold on to the heat. He was fed with an eyedropper. His rectum was not attached and at the age 3 he had eye surgery and was diagnosed with Ketotic Hypoglycemia.
His body would not respond to the shots so we were told that it was our responsibility to ensure that he ate every two hours. He failed to thrive and ended up on growth hormones. He and my daughter we both severely asthmatic. We had a nebulizer at home so they can have treatments as needed. We even had one that plugged into the cigarette lighter so we could have some semblance of a normal life.
Both of my children were diagnosed with ADHD. My daughter was diagnosed at five years old with Bipolar disorder. Bipolar is rarely diagnosed at such a young age. Additionally, she has severe memory issues which prevented her from learning to read and obtain a high school diploma.
In 1989 while living on base I suffered a miscarriage during my fifth month. That same year I had endometrial cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy at the age of 30. At 55 I suffer from IBS, degenerative disc disease in my back, and depression.
Our pet, Prince, died while on the base his body was riddled with tumors.
I have not asked for my family members complete medical records as I received a copy before we left the base. With all my children’s medical issues I would not relocate without the records. I have them to this day.