Semper Fi: Always Faithful | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 75 minutes · 2011

According to this documentary by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, as many as a million people may have been poisoned by the Marine Corps' dumping of carcinogens into the water supply at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, between 1957 and 1987. Jerry Ensminger, a retired master sergeant whose nine-year-old daughter died of leukemia in 1985, has been attacking this issue since the late 90s, and the filmmakers follow him to Washington as he testifies before a Senate subcommittee and tries to force a recalcitrant U.S. military to notify people who were exposed and to compensate victims. Libert and Harmon also profile two more former Lejeune residents: Mike Partain, who was born there and later developed male breast cancer (a rare disease with a high incidence in the area), and Danita McCall, a middle-aged veteran who piteously goes over her dire lab results at her kitchen table, and died during filming. Her fate seems even more harrowing given Ensminger's claim that Lejeune is "just the tip of the iceberg" and the filmmakers' contention that there are more than 130 contaminated military sites in the United States.
Director: Tony Hardmon and Rachel Libert
Producer: Jedd Wider and Todd Wider

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