A TRUST BETRAYED                                        MIKE MAGNER
Posted:  June 20, 2014

A Trust Betrayed: The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune and the Poisoning of Generations of Marines and Their FamiliesWhile the big bad corporation has often been the offender in many of the world’s greatest environmental disasters, in the case of the mass poisoning at Camp Lejeune the culprit is a revered institution: the US Marine Corps. For two decades now, revelations have steadily emerged about pervasive contamination, associated clusters of illness and death among the Marine families stationed there, and military stonewalling and failure to act. Mike Magner’s chilling investigation creates a suspenseful narrative from the individual stories, scientific evidence, and smoldering sense of betrayal among those whose motto is undying fidelity. He also raises far-reaching and ominous questions about widespread contamination on US military bases worldwide.

This book begins with a history of the name of Camp Lejeune, and the man it is named after. Then it goes into the beginning of when it was activated and how it is set up. There are maps showing the housing for families, barracks, motor pools, other repair areas, and where the water storage tanks are and where the run off from the different repair areas are. Then the story begins and the story from my point of view does not have a happy ending. It begins in the 1930s when two cleaning solvents known as TCE & PCE. PCE, was used mainly in laundry operations, like dry cleaning. TCE, was a commonly used as a degreaser, cleaning solvent & paint thinner. The military was the major purchaser of both but mainly TCE. TCE, was used from removing grit and grime from planes, tanks, jeeps, other vehicles and weapons. For the longest time the belief was that these chemicals caused no harm to the environment or to humans, of course this was the 30s & 40s, the government thought DDT was safe also. This is where the story becomes for me almost criminal but you can’t sue the government. By the early 1960s women who became pregnant at Camp Lejeune, and remained on base throughout their pregnancy the babies were still born, and if they transferred to another base pass their second trimester their child was usually either born with a birth defect or still born. One of the mothers said that she did not notice the grave makers until she went back to put flowers on her babies grave that all of the makers were 1962 and all were babies. She also knew some of the names but no one talked to anyone. That was in Hawaii, and when they started to investigate there were other cemeteries with the thing sadly rose of makers of children all passed away because of the water at Camp Lejeune. The Dep OR THE NAVY, who actually is in charge of the operation of the regulations and how they are carried out said there are no problems with the water. This was in the 60s, they said they had their own water regulations and there for everything is fine. All of these deaths are a shame but are not because of the water. By the 70s the Federal government came out with water act and this required that all bases have their water tested. What ended up happening was Lejeune hired a chemist but they were not testing all of the dumping areas, and when some of the test that were required they could not do them on base because they did not have the equipment. The request for testing and for equipment sat in another box in Washington in the Dep of the Navy. You see where this is going. Now there law suites starting to be filled be service personal due to birth defects caused by the water at the camp when they were stationed there. Their evidence was that their other children were born without any problems and they were stationed at other Marine Camps. Some these atrocities were happening while the husbands were in Vietnam fighting. By 1982 when the government came in to start checking on the water they found 72 sites on the camp that was being used as form of waste deposal. A civilian equipment operator took camp officials to an area where he had buried at least 55 drums of mustard gas or nerve gas in 1953. He said, “That the Marine Corps officials’ who hired him for the job told him to wear extensive protective gear including a gas mask.” There was also another site where drums of chemicals were buried and a basketball court covered it. New test were ordered in 1984 when they realized they had a problem. Once they realized there was a problem a new commandant was put in place and basically told to write a cya memo. When asked in 1999 for documents from 1984 and for a water test called (cce) that was requested by the federal government, the response was that a ware house fire destroyed all of the records. As former marine personal and the spouses sued for the cost of care for their disabled child, the government attorneys used the Feres Doctrine, says that a military personnel could not sue the government fir injuries sustained while on active duty. “Gross “alleged injury occurred in his home on military property during – off duty hours. This is from a case from the 1940s when a soldier was killed during a fire in the barracks and the courts said the parents could not sue for damages. These attorneys were or are still using this same defense here in the 2000s. This book made me sick because it goes against everything that is the Corps, Semper Fidelis; Always, Faithful. In this case there not and this book goes into much more detail than I can give in a review. Very well written and a lot of reverences to go with the information he has put out. A very sad story of a proud Corps and they have done a disservice to Gen. Lejeune. I got this book from net galley.

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