TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — After years of struggling to find answers, Andrew Brewer says he finally knows toxic smoke from burn pits is to blame for his failing health.
“It was everywhere and we were breathing it in at night,” he said.
The military uses burn pits all over Iraq and Afghanistan to get rid of trash: everything from tires, to ammunition, to medical supplies.
Andrew served in the Army National Guard and thousands of veterans like him are dealing with a host of medical issues including lung problems.
But The Veterans Administration still hasn’t officially acknowledged the connection to burn pits.
“They told me they can’t guarantee how long a time frame of how long I can live,” he said.
Now Congressman Gus Bilirakis is pushing legislation to change that.
“Just because it was a little more expensive or convenient they exposed these great people, DOD did, to these illnesses. You are darn right it makes me angry,” said Rep. Bilirakis, R-Florida.
Back at home, Andrews’ wife says her husband isn’t the same man she married.
“Everything. His will, his dreams, his future,” said Courtney Brewer.
Veterans are suing the company that operated the burn pits, as their use is supposed to be regulated.
But for Andrew and so many others, the damage is done.
“I learned quickly how the military operates. Basically, we are just pawns in their big game,” he said.