"From 1957 to 1987, hundreds of thousands of unprepared men, women and children who lived on or near Camp Lejeune, N.C., the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast, were the unwitting victims of a decades-long water contamination disaster that is still claiming lives. Although some former residents have filed disability claims and wrongful death lawsuits, money has faded into the background for many of the survivors as a reason to put their stories forward. Now what they want most is awareness of what they have gone through, how they were treated by the military they served, and the continuing damage inflicted on families who even now are sometimes denied health benefits by a government that has never admitted responsibility.
The story of Camp Lejeune and the people who were sickened there has been told in pieces over the years, only to disappear, flare up again and die down. Now, recently uncovered information -- much of it damning to the Marine Corps and federal health officials -- can be made available and the story told with fresh insights. The picture that emerges, after interviewing veterans who lost children to rare diseases and after extensively reviewing a variety of private and public documents, is of a site where up to a million people were potentially affected over the years and where the Marine Corps continually put people in harm’s way without warning."
Adam Sarvana reports in Washington Bureau for Natural Resources News Service in a multi-part investigative series June 29-July 1, 2009. The nonprofit NRNS' newly relaunched Web site offers content that can be used free and in full by other publications under what is essentially a Creative Commons license. SEJ members may also work in a unique collaborative relationship with NRNS on local or regional versions of a story.