Camp Lejeune water contamination records released by DOD
By AMANDA WILCOX | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: July 20, 2012
The Department of Defense mass-released Thursday evening thousands of previously safe-guarded documents related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
However, the collection of released records is still incomplete, according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., a member of the bipartisan group of congressmen who urged the DOD to give the public uncensored access to the Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Consolidated Document Repository and other relevant records.
“This is a step in the right direction towards providing the public with transparency on the tragic events that occurred for several decades at Camp Lejeune,” Hagan said via the release. “The Marines and family members affected by this terrible incident deserve answers. I will continue to press the Navy and Marine Corps until Congress and the American people have access to the entire collection.”
Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine Corps drill instructor who has been a key proponent in the fight for health care for Camp Lejeune veterans, lost his daughter, Janey, at age 9 to childhood leukemia that he said is a result of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
“Why wasn’t this stuff released before,” a frustrated Ensminger asked during a phone interview late Thursday. “The Marine Corps has been hiding their documents, hiding important information for far too long. How much more of an example does anybody need about the deceptive practices of the people involved in these decisions?”
Ensminger’s petition on Change.org, “Health Care Now for Military Families Poisoned at Camp Lejeune” currently has more than 130,000 signatures; a bill that will give thousands of sick Marine veterans and their families health care for illnesses contracted from decades of water contamination on Camp Lejeune passed the Senate on Wednesday.
Ensminger was also the focal point of the documentary “Semper Fi: Always Faithful,” which chronicles his journey as he tries to bring justice to the veterans of Camp Lejeune.
Ensminger said he looks forward to reviewing the documents previously kept under lock and key.
“It’s going to take us awhile to get through all these documents, but we’re going to do it ... We’re going after them,” he said.