Semper Fi: Always Faithful is a documentary chronicling the struggle to make the public aware, and the Marine Corps/Government admit to their gross negligence in dealing with contaminated water at a variety of Marine Corps, and other, military bases across the United States of America.
The main subject of the documentary is Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger who lost his daughter to a rare type of leukemia shortly after living at the North Carolina Camp Lejeune Base where she was born. Without a history of leukemia in his or his wife’s family, the cause of his daughter Janey’s cancer was never discovered. Years later while watching a news program covering contamination in the water supply at the marine base Jerry began his own investigation into the matter. This investigation would lead him deep into military/government cover-ups and reveal a shocking truth about the institution he served for nearly 25 years–they were aware of the contamination at Camp Lejeune and other bases around the country and did not make people aware of the harmful situation they were living in or take the necessary steps to solve the problem.
Semper Fi: Always Faithful weighs heavy on the heart and mind. As more people’s stories are revealed and the tragedy that befell them due to the water contamination the documentary becomes increasingly difficult to watch. To stop watching is the easy choice, the hard one continuing to watch because you know this is a topic, and part of history, you must be aware of as an informed citizen. Every day each person in America drinks a glass of water, takes a shower in it, bathes their children, waters the grass, or runs through the rain to get to their car or front door. Water is everywhere; in the heat it evaporates from the ground and fills the air, in the rain it soaks the ground, collecting anything that may be in the ground and then flushes it into the sewer system to be reclaimed. As the most essential part of the human body, and a needed element for existence, the most frightening reality would be to have your water contaminated with chemicals that will eventually kill you. What gives life becomes that which takes it away. Semper Fi: Always Faithful brings light to the shocking reality that those who serve our company have been hurt by it for years, and continue to be to this day.
The biggest shock comes near the end when a truth about the United States Department of Defense is revealed–they are the country’s largest polluter with over 130 contaminated military sites on the EPA’s priority clean-up list. Thanks to Jerry Ensminger’s tireless efforts the truth has been revealed and measures set in motion to bring awareness to the situation. Semper-Fi: Always Faithful is his story, and the story of all of the people who have been affected by the contamination. It may not be a perfect documentary, or the most exciting to watch, but it is important and informative–two things imperative to documentary filmmaking.
For more information and to find theatres currently showing the film visit its website here.
Semper Fi: Always Faithful Trailer from Rachel Libert on Vimeo.