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Sep-25-2009 08:53printcomments

The Few, The Proud, The Damaged

One Marine's struggle to expose the toxicity of the Camp Lejeune Marine base.

Jim Fontella
Photo from Jim Fontella
Courtesy: CNN

(SALEM, Ore.) - CNN and other media groups published a story yesterday about a Camp Lejeune Marine who survived breast cancer. The story shows progress in the mainstream media towards addressing this serious issue affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Jim Fontella of Michigan is one of 22 male breast cancer survivors from Lejeune, says fellow survivor Mike Partain , who was raised in a Marine Corps family.

As we have reported many times in the past, the Camp Lejeune Marine base in North Carolina is heavily contaminated with PCE (tetrachloroethylene) and TCE (trichloroethylene) as well as other cancer causing agents. Jerry Ensminger's was a Marine at Lejeune who lost his daughter to cancer. Once he connected her death to the base pollution, he became a one man force strictly and utterly determined to get to the bottom of the base's toxicity issues. (see: Male Breast Cancer: a Hard Bullet to Dodge for Marines at Camp LejeuneTim King

Letters went out to Marines and former Marines a couple of years ago, indicating the government's understanding of the magnitude of the issue.

Then in recent weeks, practically out of nowhere, the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy, the two agencies responsible for handling the cost of the pollution, gathered a group of scientists, the National Resource Council, and had them reevaluate the issue.

Their findings were that the contamination can't be linked to the health problems former residents have suffered. It was a convenient and cost effective move for the federal government, and one rooted in shame according to the Marines who are suffering as a result of the blatant environmental hazard.

Partain and Fontella cry foul. Fontella told CNN, "That's literally unheard of to have 20 men come from the same place, walking on the same dirt, drinking the same water." Fontella was based at Camp Lejeune between 1966 and 1967. "I mean, there has to be a link there somehow. And they're saying that it couldn't happen," he told CNN.

A native of Detroit, Fontella fought in Vietnam and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

After surgery, it returned and moved into his spine and back.

He explained, "Once you have metastasis in the bone, it's basically just a matter of time before you die, you know." He continued, "Luckily I have already passed my due date by five years. I outlived that death sentence I got."


Here is a link to the CNN article:


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change September 25, 2009 11:47 am (Pacific time)

Jimmy, VFC and a group of scientists are working on this hard and fast! And for anyone who is seriously interested we also have a petition going around to get a member of Congress to sign the TCE/PCE Reduction Act of 2009 and put on the floor for a vote that will help all veterans and active duty personnel and their families. Anyone interested, please send and e-mail to Thank you all for your service to our Country!

jimmy September 25, 2009 10:29 am (Pacific time)

"Their findings were that the contamination can't be linked to the health problems former residents have suffered" - Please tell my you are not suprised Tim.... our government lies to us at all levels, and this is just another reasone why I love my Country, but hate my government

Tim King: I know Jimmy, that report just came out of nowhere and it happened as so much progress was taking place.  I believe we have to have some degree of faith, and I keep telling myself that.

Semper fi brother

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