By Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command Public AffairsJune 9, 2015
FORT HOOD, Texas (June 9, 2015) -- The headquarters of the 48th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, or CBRN, Brigade recently returned to Fort Hood, Texas, following a successful deployment to West Africa in support of Operation Unified Assistance.
In March, the brigade replaced the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Liberia as the joint task force headquarters for the operation, the U.S.-led effort to contain the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
The 48th CBRN Brigade is assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives, or CBRNE, Command, the Department of Defense's only multifunctional formation, which combats CBRNE threats.
The 20th CBRNE Command's 1st Area Medical Laboratory, or 1st AML, also deployed to Liberia in late October and set up six mobile laboratories. The 1st AML returned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in March.
Col. Sven Erichsen, commander of the 48th CBRN Brigade, said the highlight of deployment came last month "when the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free after an epidemic that lasted over a year and took 4,000 lives."
The World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola, May 9, after 42 days without any new cases. Liberia was the country most impacted by the outbreak. In September 2014, Liberia was reporting 300 to 400 new cases a week.
Leading the transitional headquarters for the humanitarian-assistance mission, Erichsen said his Soldiers served side-by-side with joint, interagency and allied organizations in Liberia.
In support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the brigade worked together with the Centers for Disease Control, Uniformed Public Health Service, Disaster Area Response Teams and many other international and volunteer organizations.
"America truly sent her best young people, and they served so well. The face they have shown the world is America at her very best," said Erichsen, a native of Forest Grove, Oregon. "It was an honor to serve alongside them."
"Heroes can come from anywhere," Erichsen said. "Courage does not need a uniform."
Brig. Gen. William E. King IV, 20th CBRNE commanding general, said the 48th CBRN Brigade served with distinction in West Africa.
"The brigade assumed command of this whole-of-government effort from the 101st Airborne Division and successfully completed the mission," King said. "The 48th CBRN Brigade demonstrated tenacity, flexibility and ingenuity during this deployment. I couldn't be more proud of their life-saving efforts in Liberia."