Some Fort Campbell Soldiers Fighting Ebola May Have To Stay In West Africa

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, right, greets a soldier in Liberia. No handshakes in an Ebola zone. Credit: Joint Forces Command United Assistance

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, right, greets a soldier in Liberia. No handshakes in an Ebola zone. Credit: Joint Forces Command United Assistance

More soldiers from the 101st airborne division will be coming home from Liberia in early February. But the rest are waiting to hear whether the mission to fight Ebola is over — or whether they’ll be sent to a different part of West Africa.

U.S. soldiers in Liberia will finish construction of Ebola treatment units by the end of the month — far ahead of the original schedule — but they may have to stay if the number of Ebola cases rises.

“What we’re worried about is — all the things that have been put into place, people get complacent, they start not taking the preventative measures, and it could spike again,” said Gary Volesky, who commands the troops in Liberia, in a video conference with soldiers’ families at Fort Campbell on Thursday night.

He said there’s also the possibility they’ll be sent to bolster Ebola efforts in Sierra Leone and Guinea. He expects a decision the last week of January.

Nearly 3,000 U.S. troops were sent to Liberia last year, including 700 from Fort Campbell. Some of them came back earlier this month and are being quarantined at a post in Virginia.

As of last week, nearly 2,000 soldiers remained in Liberia, according to the Defense Department.

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