Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Jerry Ensminger, the Marine who watched his nine year old daughter die of leukemia in 1985, spoke in Raleigh, NC recently and introduced a heart wrenching documentary, Semper Fi, about toxic chemicals that were in the drinking water between 1957-1987 at the U.S Marine Corps Base in Camp LeJeune, NC, the largest military base on the East coast. Benzene, vinyl chloride and trichloroethylene (TCE), three known human carcinogens, in addition to perchloroethylene (PCE), a probable carcinogen, have been linked to the water that people on the base drank and bathed in. It is eatimated that between 750,000 and 1,000,000 people were exposed, with devasting consequences: birth defects, leukemia, liver damage, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer and many other illnesses. Male breast cancer has shown up in over 80 men who were on this base, and the odds against that happening are staggering.
This discovery was a shock to Jerry Ensminger, a career Marine who trained soldiers at Camp LeJeune. He started to connect the dots and went on a fifteen year non-stop effort to find the truth about what his daughter was exposed to, and he wanted to identify others who may have developed illnesses related to water contamination at this site. Unfortunately, the Marines and the Defense Department fought him every step of the way. Semper Fi is an award winning documentary about his struggle.
The good news is that Congress passed, and President Obama has now signed into law, a bill that establishes benefits under the Veterans Administration for any veteran and family members who were on this military base for 30 days or more between 1957-1987. For more information, go to www.semperfialwaysfaithful.com.
The theatrical trailer for the movie is below: