Roughly 700 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell will deploy to West Africa as part of the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak.
The Pentagon says in a statement they will help establish Ebola treatment centers across Liberia and train health care workers. Roughly 700 other engineers from around the Army will join. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby says troops will leave in late October and stay for an undetermined amount of time.
“We’re looking at least six months,” Kirby said Tuesday. “But it could go longer than that depending on the needs of the mission.”
Coming off near constant rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, this will be a very different kind of assignment for the 101st Airborne.
Soldiers will receive training and use specialized equipment to prevent exposure to Ebola, according to an Army release. 101st Airborne commander Gary Volesky calls protecting the health of U.S. soldiers his “number one priority.”
In total, the Pentagon may deploy as many as 3,000 troops to Liberia. However, a Defense Department spokesman stresses that the military will only play a support role.