Friday, December 12, 2014

Sen. Moran Announces Cancellation of Kansas National Guardsmen Deployment to West Africa

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) received word that Kansas National Guardsmen will no longer be deployed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support Ebola response operations in West Africa.

During a meeting Thursday with General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, in Sen. Moran’s Capitol Hill office, the senator raised questions about the deployment of the 891st Engineer Battalion and General Grass indicated that the deployment had been cancelled.

“As a result of the decline in Ebola cases in West Africa, the Department of Defense has cancelled the deployment of the Iola-based 891st Engineer Battalion in the Kansas National Guard,” Sen. Moran said. “It is a pretty nice Christmas present for the families of the 891st Engineer Battalion to know that their loved ones will no longer be deployed to West Africa in March. Guardsmen live by the motto ‘Always Ready, Always There’ and the National Guard celebrated 378 years of service to our country this week – Kansans stand ready for their next call of service.”

The decision to cancel the deployment of the Kansas National Guard was made because the total Army and National Guard requirements have dropped and there is enough capacity to support the current operations on the ground.

Following the DoD’s selection of the 891st Engineer Battalion for deployment authority to West Africa in November 2014, Sen. Moran expressed concerns about diminished customary benefits because of the non-combat nature of the deployment.

Sen. Moran immediately called on DoD Secretary Chuck Hagel to direct an exception to make certain National Guardsmen and their families are receiving the same benefits as Active Duty service men and women.

The DoD immediately resolved the matter and utilized a different deployment authority that would provide customary benefits to soldiers and their families prior to deployment.