By Sgt. Ange Desinor
13th Public Affairs Detachment
MONROVIA, Liberia - Soldiers of the 902nd Engineer Battalion, out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, provided support to the 36th Engineer Brigade to build the Buchanan Ebola Treatment Unit in support of Operation United Assistance, Nov. 17.
"The ETU in Buchanan is the first U.S. made facility built by the Army," said Sgt. 1st Class John Teodoro, a native of Guam, and a platoon sergeant among the 44 Soldiers. "This mission has been successful. My Soldiers and I were able to come together and provide a good product."
Teodoro said the engineers had three weeks to complete the facility and turn it over to the International Organization for Migration, a nongovernmental organization.
"Right now, 90 percent of it is complete," said Teodoro. "There are no Ebola patients at the site. Once the mission is complete, and it's fully operational, they will move the Ebola patients in and we won't be there when they do."
This was a unique mission for Teodoro.
"This is a humanitarian mission, and we're providing medical facilities to help the Liberian community contain the Ebola virus," he said.
Sgt. Miguel Jaquez, a native of Queens, New York, said this was a difficult but rewarding mission for him.
"This is my sixth humanitarian mission, and this is by far the hardest," said Jaquez. "There was nothing here and we built everything from scratch. We also had to improvise with the living condition. Thankfully the Liberians were very supportive and cooperative. They made it so much easier for us to work fast. They appreciate us being here and it makes me happy knowing I'm helping and making a difference. Overall, this was a great mission."
The 902nd Eng. Bn. is close to completing the Sinje ETU, one of seventeen scheduled to be built in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development-led effort to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa.
"The construction of the ETU's is the foundation of the mission," said Maj. Uzoma Aniniba, of 36th Engineer Brigade, a Denver, Colorado, native and the officer in charge of the ETU build at Buchanan. "The Soldiers were motivated and excited to provide support. It's one thing to do your job on a regular basis, but it's another to do it and make a difference."