October 2, 2014
OPERATION UNITED ASSISTANCE
Comments by: Rear Admiral John Kirby
First, an update on Operation United Assistance in West Africa, where we have more than 230 personnel on the ground conducting operations in support of the Joint Force Command and USAID.
Over the last 36 hours, two Ebola testing laboratories manned by personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center are now fully operational. As you will recall, the equipment for these labs arrived over the weekend. These labs are capable of processing about 100 samples per day, and they've already processed more than 30.
In addition, we are still on track for the hospital for infected medical personnel to open on October 18th. Construction of two treatment centers for other Ebola victims will begin today and should be completed by the end of the month.
All these efforts are laying the groundwork for what will prove to be a significant increase in our troop presence and operational tempo on the ground in West Africa. We project that there could be nearly 4,000 troops deployed in support of this mission, but we're obviously assessing the requirements on a daily basis. It may not go that high.
In addition to the 1,400 troops I announced on Tuesday, an additional 1,800 soldiers from the Army will be deployed from various installations, providing engineering, medical, civil affairs, aviation, and logistical support to this very important mission.
As we continue our support to the broader U.S. government response to the Ebola crisis, I want to emphasize that our operations remain focused on four lines of effort: command and control, logistics support, training, and engineering support.
So, so about 1,100 soldiers from the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 86th Combat Support Hospital, 44th Medical Brigade, and a military police company from Fort Carson. You'll have about 160 soldiers from the 4th Engineer Battalion from Fort Bragg: approximately 120 soldiers who will be providing engineering and public affairs support. 10 soldiers from the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Command out of Aberdeen. 100 soldiers from Fort Benning, Fort Stewart, and Fort Eustis. They'll be doing civil affairs, combat support, combat service support assistance. And there's several hundred as well coming from Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, again, across mostly engineering and civil affairs capabilities.
We can get you the exact breakdown, but that's a pretty good summary of where they're -- it's a mix. All soldiers coming from, as you can see, all different places throughout the country.