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April 1, 2012
Jerry Ensminger and Rachel Libert
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful" - Documentary Film
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Info: Our guests are Rachel Libert and Jerry Ensminger. Libert is the producer and co-director of a documentary which features retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger. The film chronicles Ensmingerís efforts on behalf of Marines and their families exposed to toxic drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. These efforts resulted in the introduction of the Janey Ensminger Act in the House and the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act in the Senate. Both bills are awaiting further legislative action. In 1985 Ensmingerís daughter, Janey, died of leukemia. The documentary details how he heard a local news story in 1997 about a proposed health study on adults and babies exposed to toxins in the water system on the base. After that, he began an investigative trail that took him to a government website which contained specific documents relating to the exposure. He and other former residents of the base filed over one thousand Freedom of Information Act requests to discover more. Ensminger was invited to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss his findings. Rachel Libert talks about her motivations for making the film, and introduces one of the participants, Mike Partain, who was diagnosed with male breast cancer at age 38. He is one of 78 confirmed cases of this type of cancer where each victim shared Camp Lejeune as a common trait. Other forms of cancer, early childhood deaths, and birth defects were investigated as well. Partain and Ensminger found documents revealing the extent of fuel depot leaks which exposed benzene, a known carcinogen, to the water.

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