Yesterday, the Department of Defense received a request from the State Department to assist with the return of U.S. citizens from West Africa who are currently being treated for the Ebola virus.
This request allows the State Department to contract private aircraft to bring Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol back to the United States for treatment. The two patients will be transported to the U.S. separately in a specially equipped, modified Gulfstream.
Both Brantly and Writebol remain in serious condition and will fly to Dobbins Air reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., for admission to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
The news release from the Department of Defense states that at no time will DOD military or civilian personnel be involved in the transportation of the patients. “The safety and security of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel is our highest priority” the release stated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued strict guidelines for the care and transportation of Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol. The patients will be escorted the entire time by specially trained teams to ensure the safety of the patients as well as the pilot and crew onboard the transport aircraft.
The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa seems to have caught officials off guard. The World Health Organization says it is moving faster than their efforts to contain it.
It is unclear if the United States has military personnel inside Liberia at this time.
In 2003, then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld honored a request for U.S. troops to mentor and assist local troops following the second Liberian War. Destabilization in the region created a refugee population and spawned rebel forces.
Joint Task Force Liberia has had U.S. troops in Monrovia as recently as May of 2013. This Examiner has been unable to verify if that Task Force is still viable with boots on the ground.
What is known, Special Forces Teams are on the ground in Nigeria to assist in finding the Boko Haram terrorists who kidnapped some 300 young girls several months ago.