Guard, Reserve Soldiers to mobilize for Ebola relief

By U.S. ArmyNovember 18, 2014

Over the past several years, the Army Reserve has provided medical, logistical, transportation, full-spectrum engineering, and civil affairs services to many African nations as part of their training. In this file photo from October 2009, Lt. Col. To... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 18, 2014) -- More than 2,000 Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops will be mobilized in support of Operation United Assistance in West Africa, the Department of Defense has announced.

The deployments will occur in the spring as part of the next rotation of forces to relieve the 101st Airborne Division headquarters and other troops now involved in the Ebola relief effort.

About 1,200 Guard Soldiers will be mobilized from six states, along with about 850 Army Reserve troops.

Mobilizing Army National Guard units include elements of the:

-- 34th Infantry Division Headquarters, Rosemount, Minnesota

-- 16th Engineer Brigade, Columbus, Ohio

-- 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Funston, California

-- 236th Engineer Company, Lewisville, Texas and 272nd Engineer Company, Angleton, Texas

-- 294th Area Support Medical Company, Washington, Iowa

-- 891st Engineer Battalion, Iola, Kansas

Mobilizing Army Reserve units include elements of the:

-- 96th Sustainment Brigade, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Denver, Colorado

-- 313th Movement Control Battalion, Baltimore, Maryland

-- 324th Fire Fighting Detachment, Granite City, Illinois

-- 324th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, East Point, Georgia

-- 329th Survey and Design Team, Saint Joseph, Minnesota

-- 387th Medical Logistics Company, Miami, Florida

-- 398th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Rockville, Maryland

-- 452nd Preventative Medicine Team, Miami, Florida

-- 996th Horizontal Engineer Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

-- Company, 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Columbus, Ohio

Units will begin training shortly for their spring deployment to West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, officials said.

The Army Reserve will be contributing Soldiers who possess specialized capabilities needed by the joint-force operation to ensure human suffering is mitigated in West Africa, according to the U.S. Army Reserve Command.

"Army Reserve Soldiers are highly educated, and professionals in their civilian careers," said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and U.S. Army Reserve Command commanding general. "They are our doctors, lawyers, academics, scientists, engineers and information technology specialists on the leading edge of high-tech industry -- a new generation of Soldiers who grew up with technology in their hands, practice it in their professions and leverage it while in uniform."

Soldiers will not be on the front lines of treating patients, officials said.

"Preserving the health of our Soldiers is the highest priority for this mission," said Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, commanding general of Minnesota's 34th Infantry Division.

Minnesota will send nearly 700 "Red Bull" Infantry Division members to Liberia, for about six months, officials said.

The Minnesota citizen-Soldiers will be assigned to synchronize the operations, logistics, personnel and resources of U.S. military forces assigned to the area.

In Kansas, about 170 Soldiers from the 891st Engineer Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Company, and Field Support Company, based in Isola, will deploy.

Iowa's Army National Guard will be sending about 80 Soldiers from the 294th Area Support Medical Company, based in Washington, Iowa. The unit provides medical support, including triage, basic medical treatment and sustainment of life, plus transport of sick or injured patients.

Members of this unit "will only provide direct patient care to U.S. Department of Defense personnel and coalition Service members," an Iowa Guard news release said.

In Ohio, about 130 Soldiers from the Columbus-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Engineer Brigade, may deploy in spring when it could be involved in a mission such as oversight of construction clinics to treat Ebola patients, Ohio National Guard officials said.

Joining the other Soldiers will be more than 150 engineers with two companies of the Texas Army National Guard. The two companies identified to provide support are the 236th Engineer Company, 111th Engineer Battalion, located in Lewisville, and the 272nd Engineer Company, 386th Engineer Battalion, from Angleton. Both are aligned under the 176th Engineer Brigade, Texas Army National Guard.

California's 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion of San Francisco will also provide personnel. It includes interpreters, translators as well as counter-intelligence and interrogation specialists.

The Army says all Soldiers who return from duty will undergo a 21-day "controlled monitoring period" to ensure they are healthy and have not contracted Ebola.

Units were selected based on their capabilities and ability to respond to the unique demands of the mission, officials said. They will mobilize and in early 2015, as part of the second rotation of OUA forces, supporting the United States Agency for International Development.

All mobilizing Soldiers will conduct regionally-specific training on Ebola prevention, malaria prevention, other medical threats, and medical readiness requirements before deploying, officials said.

(An article by Steve Marshall of the National Guard Bureau, along with a news release from the U.S. Army Reserve Command and one from DOD contributed to this article.)

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