More than 80 U.S. troops who have been supporting the Pentagon’s mission to combat Ebola in West Africa will be returning to Virginia on Thursday afternoon and will be quarantined for 21 days per military protocol.
The group is expected to arrive aboard a U.S. military aircraft at Joint Base Langley-Eustis shortly after noon, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby. None of the troops has exhibited symptoms of the Ebola virus, Rear Adm. Kirby said.
The Defense Department plans to medically screen the troops and transport them to a “controlled” area on the base in accordance with the Pentagon’s newly established medical regimen, according to Rear Adm. Kirby.
“The troops will be housed in buildings located in a secluded area on the west side of the flight line,” he said. “Two larger structures will be used as a dining facility and a gym. The facilities will include all appropriate amenities. Troops will be able to communicate with family members via telephone and electronic means.”
Only healthcare officials and facilities maintenance personnel will have access to the controlled monitoring area, Rear Adm. Kirby said.
U.S. troops have spent the past month building 17 Ebola Treatment Units and a 25-hospital bed in Liberia.
The Pentagon previously said that it was willing to send up to 4,000 troops to the West Africa country to participate in the mission, dubbed Operation United Assistance. But earlier this week, the leader of the overseas operation, Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volensky, speculated that the mission would require only about 3,000 troops.