Marine Veterans Express Their Displeasure With The Corps Handling Of The Water Contamination Crisis In its Earliest Stages
Environmental health and the quality of the drinking water were the last things on the minds of military leaders preparing for the next conflict
Sunday, March 5, 2023 - Marines relied heavily on drinking water to stay hydrated after physical training but were kept in the dark about the toxicity of the Camp Lejeune water supply for decades. In 1987, the government admitted the drinking water being supplied to thousands of people was contaminated with high levels of cancer-causing toxins. The government did not inform the public for years. Notices were sent out eventually to those on the base in 1987 but nothing was ever done to contact the millions of marines and civilians that passed through Camp Lejeune for the previous three decades. In hindsight, many marines suspected something might have been wrong with the drinking water because of its taste and smell but could not specifically identify the problem. All thought that the marine corps would take care of them and never allow their drinking water supply to be contaminated to the point that it could kill them. They were wrong. US marines are coming forward now and are filing Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims now that the laws surrounding being able to sue the military for drinking water cancer have changed. Marines are speaking out about what they thought was wrong with the water years before the government made it official.
Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine whose daughter died of leukemia linked to the contaminated water, told the local news: "I remember the water tasting different, but we were told it was safe. Now, I'm suffering from cancer and other health issues and I can't help but wonder if it was because of the water we drank." Mike Partain, a Marine who developed male breast cancer, an extremely rare form of men's cancer affecting less than 5% of males, after drinking the contaminated water is on record telling those in Town Hall meetings, "We were young and healthy and thought we were invincible. We didn't know that the water we were drinking could cause so much harm. We trusted the government and the military to take care of us, but they failed us by not addressing the contamination sooner" "It's frustrating to know that the government knew about the contamination for years and didn't do anything to warn us or protect us," were the sentiments expressed by Brian O'Leary, a Marine who developed testicular cancer after drinking the contaminated water. Mark Hainds, a Marine who alleges that drinking contaminated Camp Lejeune water gave him kidney said, "I remember the taste of the water being metallic, but we had no idea that it was toxic. Now, I have to live with the consequences of that ignorance." - cancer after drinking the contaminated water. These testimonials accurately reflect the thoughts and emotions of thousands of other people who are suffering from cancer and also the surviving spouses and children of the thousands of marines that have died as a result of the Marine Corp's negligence, incompetence, recklessness, and carelessness in failing to secure the water supply. The military looked the other way when reports started coming in that unlined toxic waste landfills on the base could be leaching volatile carcinogenic compounds and contaminating the local water treatment facilities.