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American Forces Press Service

Most DoD Personnel to Return From West Africa

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2015 – Most Defense Department personnel who deployed to West Africa to support the U.S. Agency for International Development and international partners in fighting Ebola at its source already have returned to their home stations, and nearly all will return home over the next two months, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said last night.

In a statement, Kirby said DoD will identify 100 personnel who will maintain a continued presence in the region, working to strengthen the disease preparedness and surveillance capacity of the national governments.

"DoD personnel will build on a strong military partnership with the armed forces of Liberia to enhance their Ebola response efforts and provide disaster response training to the government of Liberia," the admiral said.

Life-saving Resources

Starting in September, the Defense Department has delivered critical life-saving resources, built Ebola treatment units, trained hundreds of local and international health care workers and provided logistical support to humanitarian and public health workers who provided care throughout West Africa.

At the height of the epidemic, 2,800 DoD personnel were deployed to West Africa. About 1,500 of those personnel have returned home, Kirby said, and nearly all of the rest will be home by April 30. All have or will undergo established controlled monitoring procedures, he noted.

To support the 10,000 civilian responders who remain on the ground in West Africa, he added, the Defense Department will leave behind assets that can help health workers stem potential future outbreaks.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is grateful to the men and women of the U.S. military and their families who supported Operation United Assistance, Kirby said. "Their swift response demonstrates the need to maintain readiness, capacity and capabilities to respond to the diverse array of challenges facing the United States and our partners," he added.

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