A single U.S. Marine has tragically lost their life, while another is presently in custody following a presumed homicide at Camp Lejeune, located in North Carolina. The precise details surrounding this incident remain unclear, and there is uncertainty as to whether it will disrupt an upcoming significant military exercise.
Camp Lejeune, situated in North Carolina near Jacksonville, spans an impressive 246 square miles, boasting 14 miles of coastline. This sprawling base serves as the primary home for the U.S. Marine Corps’ II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC). Notably, it holds the distinction of being the largest Marine base on the East Coast. The combined area encompassing the camp and its environs accommodates approximately 38,778 active-duty military personnel, nearly 39,000 family members, and more than 3,000 civilian employees.
Lance Cpl. Austin B. Schwenk, 19, died in the shooting in a Camp Lejeune barracks late Wednesday in what service officials described as an “isolated incident between two Marines.”https://t.co/l5qurkxxqQ— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) October 20, 2023
On October 18th, an altercation unfolded within a Marine barracks, resulting in the tragic death of a Marine identified as Lance Cpl. Austin B. Schwenk due to a homicide. At approximately 10:15 p.m., military law enforcement apprehended another Marine, who the base has designated as a suspect in the homicide, and he is currently under investigation. According to a report by Military.com, Schwenk sustained a gunshot wound.
This marks not the initial occurrence of events at Camp Lejeune. In the year 2021, there was an incident where a Marine sustained injuries in a shooting that transpired within a barracks, although subsequent investigations determined it to be an unintentional event. This incident followed a prolonged period spanning decades during which the base’s drinking water supply faced chemical contamination due to the regular disposal or burial of solvents in proximity to wells. This led to Marines and their families being exposed to toxic chemicals at levels that exceeded the safe threshold by up to 3,400 times.
Potentially, two million individuals could have been affected, and residents living nearby attribute a concentration of uncommon cancer cases to the pollution. Many former residents have sought legal recourse against the Department of Defense due to this issue, but the courts have displayed a lack of sympathy for their grievances.
Nevertheless, in 2012, the Senate passed the Janey Ensminger Act, named after the daughter of a Marine NCO who sadly lost her life to cancer at the tender age of nine. This law provides government-funded medical treatment to those who were impacted by the contamination that transpired between 1957 and 1987.