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Former Marine says he's a victim of nation's worst public water contamination

Former Marine says he's a victim of nation's worst public water contamination

April 24th, 2011 in News

A new documentary focuses on one Marine -- Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger -- who lost his daughter to a rare disease blamed on contaminated drinking water that has long plagued Camp Lejeune. Meanwhile, former Marine Wayne Brownfield of Jefferson City may have been exposed to the same contamination.

Jefferson City resident Wayne Brownfield was shocked when his doctor told him in December 2007 that cancer had spread through more than half of his prostate. It was an unlikely diagnosis.

"The probability of me at age 47 getting the type of cancer that I have is very rare," he said, noting that it's more common after age 60. "I have no family history of it."

Four months later, he received a letter in the mail from the military. Brownfield had served his country as a Marine for five years ending in 1982. He worked as a radio operator, stationed at Camp Lejeune, a military training base in North Carolina.

It had been about 20 years since he had been on active duty, so letters from the military weren't common. And although his first response was anger, it also gave him a likely answer to what he had been asking himself for the past four months: Why me?