Tomorrow night, MSNBC will air the television premiere of "Semper Fi: Always Faithful," a deeply moving personal story of one man's fight for truth and justice.
Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor in the Marine Corps, he was responsible for training thousands of new recruits. But when Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey passed away from a rare type of leukemia, his world began to collapse around him. As a grief-stricken father, he spent years struggling to make sense of what had happened—how could an otherwise healthy nine-year-old suddenly become so fatally ill? His search for answers led him to a shocking discovery: the Marine Corps base where his family had lived for years turned out to be the site of one of the largest incidents of water contamination in US history.
For thirty years, the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base was highly contaminated by toxic chemicals, with some chemical levels at nearly 280 times the legal amount. Years later, it is estimated that nearly one million Marines and their families may have been exposed to extremely high levels of carcinogens through the water. But even now, 25 years after the wells were finally closed, only a fraction of the former residents are even aware of their exposure to the toxic chemicals.
“When this film came to us, we immediately realized that it’s an important story that impacts a great number of people, who need to realize what’s going on,” said Scott Hooker, Senior Executive Producer, MSNBC. “For those not connected, it tells a really important story of courage and determination and a man’s relentless pursuit of the truth. It also happens to be a beautifully crafted documentary, well-reported and investigated.”