WALLER, Texas — Joint Base San Antonio is hosting a variety of military units that are training to fight Ebola, both at home and in Africa. The effort involves units of both the Air Force, Navy, Marines and the Army.
This week a 30-person medical team began training to provide short-notice assistance to support civilian hospitals dealing with Ebola cases in the United States according to an article posted Wednesday in the Air Force Times. The team began their training at Joint Base San Antonio which is an amalgamation of Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases along with Fort Sam Houston.
120 members of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky began a nine-month deployment this week to Monrovia, Liber. Their job will be to provide administrative support and medical services for American troops supporting Operation United Assistance. Another nearly 800 soldiers are scheduled to deploy in the next few weeks.
Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called their mission a “national security priority” in a video designed to quell concerns of military members, their families and the public about the deployment. The General said the Department of Defense (DOD) will do everything in its power to protect the health of its personnel before, during and after their deployments.
DOD guidelines call for members being deployed to be trained in preventative measure and the proper use of personal protective equipment. During and upon their return from deployment, the service members will be monitored for symptoms of Ebola at least twice per day. They will be restricted from taking leave or temporary duty assignments for a period of 21 days after their return.
Since being called up earlier this month by President Obama, the deployment has trown from a small command cadre to a full-scale humanitarian mission where the U.S. Transportation Command will be tasked with moving medical supplies and portable hospitals from the United States to Liberia.
DOD Secretary Chuck Hagel, earlier this week, ordered the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) to establish a military rapid response team for deployment inside the United States in order to be ready to respond to requests for assistance from civilian health authorities.
The team being trained in San Antonio consists of twenty critical care nurses, five doctors with specialized training in infectious diseases and five trainers who would be tasked with training civilian health care workers in infectious disease protocols. The team consists of fifteen soldiers, nine sailors and six airmen according to officials of NORTHCOM.
Once training is completed, the members of the team will return to their respective duty assignments. They will be tasked to deploy anywhere in the United States within 72 hours if they are needed.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.