U.S. troops returning from missions helping to manage the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will go into a 21-day “controlled monitoring regimen” under an order from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
That would include about 120 soldiers from Fort Bragg still waiting to deploy to help with the epidemic.
An announcement from the Department of Defense on Wednesday said Hagel has directed the joint chiefs to develop a detailed plan to conduct the monitoring in all branches of the military. The Pentagon also must review the regimen 45 days from now and determine whether monitoring should continue.
Through “Operation United Assistance,” the U.S. military has said it may send up to 4,000 personnel to West Africa to aid in the fight against the virus.
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That could include soldiers from Fort Bragg’s 86th Combat Support Hospital, 44th Medical Brigade, and some from the 16th Military Police Brigade. Soldiers from those units originally were to travel to Liberia in October, but have been place on standby.
“They are fully trained and ready to go at a moment’s notice,” said Fort Bragg spokesman Charles D. Crail. “When we get notice, they’re needed, we’ll push them out the door.”
The military effort will include setting up medical labs, a hospital to treat medical personnel who have contracted the disease, and treatment facilities across six African countries. U.S. military personnel eventually may train healthcare workers, but plans do not include their staffing the treatment centers or working directly with patients.