Monday, November 17, 2014

Kansas National Guard to help fight Ebola in West Africa

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Approximately 170 Kansas National Guard Soldiers from the 891st Engineer Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Company and Field Support Company, based in Iola, will deploy to West Africa next spring.

Kansas was notified by the Department of Defense that the Kansas National Guard will be deployed to support West Africa's fight against Ebola as part of the U.S. military's ongoing efforts in the area and under the executive order of President Obama signed Oct. 16 authorizing National Guard troops to augment active duty forces in Operation United Assistance.

“Our highest priority is the safety of our soldiers while they are deployed to West Africa,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. “We will ensure they will have everything they need to accomplish this mission without putting themselves at risk.”

The 891st Engineer Battalion will build medical facilities in West Africa. The Soldiers will deploy in the spring of 2015 for approximately six months, with the potential to serve up to a year.

“We are working closely with the Department of Defense to take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our soldiers on this mission,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas adjutant general. “We will provide our soldiers with the best possible training to conduct their mission and the necessary protocols and preventative measures needed to stay safe.”

The 891st Engineer Battalion was selected by the Department of Defense because of its capabilities to fulfill the needs of the mission in West Africa.

The soldiers will begin training next month in Kansas and will receive additional training at their mobilization station, yet to be named, before continuing to West Africa.