Home News Marine family says child and 7 others have cancer from Laurel Bay...

Marine family says child and 7 others have cancer from Laurel Bay Military Housing



A Marine wife created a video in efforts to warn and educate other military families who have been stationed in South Carolina’s Laurel Bay Housing with the potential for cancer and other health problems.

The Whatley family lived in Beaufort, South Carolina from July 2007 to November 2010. Her spouse was a Drill Instructor at Parris Island and the family lived Beaufort’s Laurel Bay Housing.

In the video, Amanda Watley talks about her daughter’s cancer. She says that Katie is one of 8 children that she knows has been diagnosed, all who lived in Laurel Bay Housing.

A depiction of how underground tanks can get into the water supply. https://toxics.usgs.gov/

Amanda’s friend Melanie was the first to discover the horrific news in the fall of 2012. Amanda’s daughter was later diagnosed with Leukemia in January, 2015.

It was during an appointment that Amanda told one of Katie’s ICU doctors that her friend’s child had cancer too. She mentioned that they had both been pregnant at the same time while living in military housing together. The doctor told Amanda this was significant and asked her to follow up with others who lived in housing and report it to authorities.

Amanda believes the problem stems from Laurel Bay’s buried oil tanks — they were used to heat the old houses. In fact, she says the government is aware of the leaking oil tanks and has told residents that there’s benzene in the soil.

The Whatley family reported the incident to the government and she says there is an ongoing investigation where they’re actively taking soil samples.

In that meeting with military authorities, the Whatley family requested that they notify families who lived in the housing, but it appears that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Amanda felt compelled to make the video in order to inform others because the signs and diagnosis of cancer wasn’t obvious for their family; she’s hoping that the information shared will allow people who’ve lived there make the connection quicker if their children are having health issues.

The Whatley family is asking you to contact them if you lived in Laurel Bay and if you or your child has been diagnosed with cancer, saying:

This video is meant to serve as a public service announcement to all families that have been stationed at MCRD Parris Island or MCAS Beaufort and lived in the Laurel Bay military housing community. In the last several years, 8 children (that we know of so far) that lived at Laurel Bay have been diagnosed with cancer. Please share this video with the Marine Corps and Navy families you know that have lived there.

If your child has been diagnosed with cancer and you were stationed in Beaufort, please contact me at courage4katie@gmail.com

Finally, please check out Military Family united by Pediatric Cancer for more help and support.

1/9/16 Update: It appears the majority of oil tanks were removed; a user uploaded a document that appears to be from 2012 describing the process the workers should follow; the source of the presentation is unknown.


From that source it appears that not all tanks were drained and many were filled with oil and the soil toxic. There are also public health notices of a leaking chemical plant in Beaufort.

The following document shows a contract for removal of the oil tanks including soil-testing for various carcinogens.


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  1. How far back was this oil leaking?
    My step son passed from colon cancer Oct 2015. 37 yrs young. Way to young.
    The family lived in Laurel bay in the early 80’s.

    • I recently read a separate article that said the oil tanks were used up until the 1980s but were then filled with sand or water which became a “water fuel” mixture. It’s sad these things are allowed to happen in the military communities and overseas housing. There’s no consequences and zero accountability.

  2. Wow! I just finished chemo 6 months ago for Lymphoma and I’m 26! I all started in 2011 when I was diagnosed and had to go through radiation in 2012. My mom was stationed at MCAS Beaufort from 96-01. We didn’t live in Laurel Bay but I went to home daycares there for years. I was told to email a doctor at NMC Portsmouth! Anything else I can do?

  3. We were stationed on MCAS Beaufort. My husband worked in supply and as an MP augment, and I worked for the SMP program.

    I have two kids with eosinophilic disorders. One uses a feeding tube and will probably need it for life. She also has an alphabet soup of related disorders.

    Most of the people we knew on base who had babies while we were there all ended up with chronic disorders of some sort. I don’t believe in blind hysteria, but it is absolutely something that should be delved into.

  4. Believe me when I tell you that the last thing you need is for the Department of the Navy to be allowed to investigate this issue. Experience has shown me that they can not and should not be trusted to be honest in issues such as this!

  5. I was on Acorn DR in the back of Laurel Bay for 4 1/2 years from late 06- mid 2011. Didn’t have any kids, but I had a dog that grew a big lump on his shoulder, had a stroke and I had to have him put to sleep after a few years of living there, I had just figured he was old and already had some health problems when we moved in, vet never mentioned anything, but again they weren’t doing cancer screenings on dogs. hope its not related. My heart really weighs heavy after reading this, nothing a family should have to go through. So sorry to hear that it’s affected so many. Now that I have kids I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like.

  6. There are over 133 Military bases that have been affected by Toxic chemicals and in the water. My daughter was born with Spina Bifida when we were stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1988 over 47 surgeries. These are all super fund sites. Hold them accountable and ask what kind of medical care and if it will cover them in adulthood. El Toro and 29 palms, Camp Pendleton. Parris Island is a super fund site.

  7. While I watch this video, the one thing I noticed is how strong you are. Your daughter is very lucky to have you by her side. As a Mom myself, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to do this, and express to others what my child was going through. I will pray for your daughter and your family. May God help those entrusted with her care.

  8. I worked at The Laurel Bay School (Galer) from 1983/84 t0 2007/8, I and about 8 0r 9 others during that time period came up with cancers. Some breast, some brain, some uterus. We asked for an investigation to check asbestos, piping, air quality. They used their own people and said it was neg. I heard the real investigation came up asbestos, but it was swept under the rug, Beaufort Gazette did a story, I was one of many interviewed but gov.t has a way to keep shoving things under rug.

  9. We lived on laurel bay twice throughout my husbands military career. The first time between 1999 and 2001 the second was our last duty station before PCSins TO Okinawa a year ago. About a year into our last tour there my sons health plummeted. None of my kids had ever had any medical issues, not even a broken bone up until that point. When I took my 13 yo boy to the doctor he ran some tests and the doctor called me back the next day and informed me that my son is being diagnosed with the most severe hypothyroidism that he’s ever seen, especially for a 13 yo. Obviously, I can’t know if it is related to the issues with the soil but it was SO sudden, I can’t help but wonder. He didn’t have hypothyroidism for 13 years, then the next thing we know he’s on a dosage of thyroid meds so high that he has to take two pills (because they don’t make one pill strong enough for him) every day, for the rest of his life.

  10. We lived in Laurel Bay from 79-83. I was diagnosed @ 9 years ago with an autoimmune disorder. I wonder if there is a connection.

  11. I lost my wife to brain cancer in 2015. No history of cancer anywhere in her family. We lived in Lauren Bay from 2005-2007. Scared for both of my daughters and their future since they both lived there and went to schools aboard Lauren Bay and surrounding areas.

  12. My heart and prayers go to all the families effected; past, present, and future. I am a Marine veteran. My last duty station was MCAS Beaufort from June 2012 to November 2014. My daughter and I moved to Laurel Bay in March 2014 after I returned from a six month deployment to Iwakuni, Japan. Prior to that, we lived off base near Parris Island, when she was in a home daycare that often spent time on Parris Island and Laurel Bay pools. We played at the park next to the gas station as you enter Laurel Bay all the time I was off of duty. She attended Bolden Elementary School and the Youth Center for before and after school care.
    Ma’am, you are strong! And this is painful! My prayers are with you and your family always! If anything ever happened to my daughter, it would destroy me! She is my world! God bless your Katy!

  13. Amanda-Melanie My daughter lived through childhood leukemia (age 5-10) I pray for success and healing for yours as well. As sexual predators are listed I think we should list addresses as childhood cancer addresses. I am recommending to my nieces and nephews to never live where a child comes down with Cancer. But there is no way to know except ask older neighbors currently.

  14. Trying to find info on the old 29 palms base housing “marine palms” area for e1-e3 off mineral street, it has since been torn down, we used to get fliers saying don’t let your kids or animals play or eat the dirt. It was rumored it was built on a chemical landfill?? but I can’t find any info on it, does anyone have any information??

  15. How long has this been going on i was born in beaufort in 1972 in the daughter of a marine. I was just diagnosed with leukemia, about 6 to see in years ago I received a letter from the marine corp asking if I have had cancer thinking nothing of it I threw it out. In just now putting two and two together.


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