October 6th, 2014
11:26 AM ET

U.S. Troops Are Set to Deploy to West Africa: Will They Be Safe?

A U.S. general heading to Liberia to help the effort to fight Ebola is speaking out about the processes and procedures his troops are undertaking to stay safe.

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky will be deploying to West Africa in two weeks with 700 troops, but he tells "New Day" he doesn't expect soldiers will be in areas near infected people.

"We aren't going to be out there with the patients themselves," he says. "We're not going to be treating people that are infected."

Maj. Gen. Volesky says the group is in pre-deployment training to prepare themselves for the environment in Liberia but, despite the fact there's been 3,458 cases and 1,830 deaths related to Ebola in the country, they do not expect to come in contact with Ebola patients.

The commander says this is possible as the group will be building Ebola treatment units and then turning those facilities over to partners who will run the centers.

He adds: "We'll take all the appropriate measures to make sure we've protected ourselves."


Do you think U.S. troops in West Africa are safe from Ebola?   

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth

    Our soilders who are the true gems of this country, the very ones who enlisted to serve and protect this country shouldn't be sacrificed to a country who doesn't protect it's people and who prevents assistance from being delivered. We are living in extremely dangerous times and we can't afford to deplete our security and troops for every country. I believe these aren't random events. There are terrorists all over the world working to bring biological and chemical warfare to the U.S.and I believe that they are suceeding. This is one sure way. They plant viruses where they know we will run to provide aide. Why aren't we protesting against the government forcing our soilders to do this? Why doesn't anyone care to protect them and our families here in the United States?

    October 10, 2014 at 1:11 am | Reply
  2. Roxy

    I think we are being set up for failure. What if they knew we as americans were coming to aid in assistance (we are world police), terriorist exposed there own people for an attempt to bring the US to there knees. I read several comments on this subject and it seems to have the same end response-this will ruin the US if its brought back from our own Soldiers and not properly taken care of, we have crappy medical coverage here and no worker will be able to take off 21 days in attempt to recover. History does repeat itself and all I see is a version of the Black Plague repeating itself. Not sending Soldiers is a safe route, but at the end of the day ask yourself this "If America was going through the Ebola crisis like Africa- what country would come over to help us out?" I served two years active military and two wars under my belt, so I can only pray for my Brothers and Sister in arms to come home safe and sound not being effected from Ebola.

    October 8, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
  3. mikedlife

    You are speaking to a Major General, you should show some respect. You should also understand that he received this mission, and did not choose to go to Africa to fight the Ebola virus. It is what the military does, receives orders/missions and then determines how to best execute. The questions and interview are fine, but are directed toward the wrong person/group. I do understand the issue people have with this. If we loose one soldier to Ebola it is going to be devastating. I guarantee they have considered all of the outcomes on Capitol Hill.

    October 8, 2014 at 4:51 am | Reply
  4. MPH

    I am against our troops going there.
    This is not war – you can't fight what you can't see it fully understand.
    As all diseases of such type – non-sexually transmitted diseases can and do burn themselves out. Ebola itself is not new and burned itself out in the past. Why? Because there was isolation.
    The reason eboka has spread so much this time is not from mutation. The reason is simply that there are too many misinformed do-gooders, political reasons for involvement, and American over-confidence in our ability to handle anything. The fact is that this is an untreatable communicative disease with no screening tool or vaccine, a long incubation period, and easy spread in close proximity situations. Now consider our country – all the money and resources we have have not given our citizens adequate health coverage or access to health care. As well, our country has its share of under-employment and employment with no benefits or safety net in case of illness or disability. As such, it is stupid to think that placing people in isolation will stop spread because most of us have to work, can not stay home for the needed 20 days of isolation, or even have money for medical costs and/or co-pays. As such, a disease like Ebola will have plenty of time to keep spreading as strapped families minimize their symptoms and show up late to the local emergency rooms or outpatient clinics. This is true of regular and mitary families, which are no better off.
    This disease has the potential to bring the entire economy, and not just security, to its knees. This is ultimate bioterrorism – only I feel our own government is setting us up for it.

    October 8, 2014 at 1:30 am | Reply
  5. Precious

    It has been proven that anyone that goes anywhere near West Africa for an extended period of time contracts ebola. For instance, the NBC cameraman made it safely once and returned. He decided to try his luck again and failed, contracting the virus. Doctors wearing protective gear are still contracting the virus. The first two Americans said that they followed CDC's advice to the letter as far as protection and hand washing, etc. Guess what they contracted?

    No, the CDC is not telling the truth. This is obviously very easy to contract.

    Please stop lying. Please stop sending so many troops and only send those that specifically desire to put themselves in harm's way. Please ban all African flights except for those containing volunteers. And please, if the Pres cannot do this, impeach him so that the Republicans with SENSE can go ahead and ban these flights.

    Have any of you considered what would happen if ebola were to contaminate a rural area in America? One of those areas where WE don't have running water? How about a gang dominated area where people think they are above the law and surely will not listen to the CDC about prevention? What about a prostitute contracting ebola and spreading it to her 'consultants' who then give it to their wives and families? These are dire conditions that exist in America and no one is considering it.

    October 7, 2014 at 11:59 am | Reply
  6. Mary Malone

    Yes, I think our troops will be safe in their humanitarian aid deployment in West Africa, as long as they follow orders and always remember...

    "Stay calm and don't tongue-kiss any locals."

    Seriously, the mission seems very well planned to maximize the positive impact of the mission while avoiding, as much as possible, the safety of our troops.

    The U.S. has shown up embarrassingly late in the game, but I am now very proud of our planned efforts in West Africa and expect success in our efforts to help stop the spread of the ebola virus disease .

    October 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  7. Mary Malone

    Will our troops be safe in humanitarian aid deployment in West Africa?

    Yes, as long as they follow safety protocols and always remember...

    "Stay calm and avoid tongue-kissing the locals."

    Seriously, this U.S. aid and support is long overdue, but appears to be well planned and structured to minimize risk to our soldiers. I am proud of the U.S.'s finally stepping up to the plate, and I will wish them safety daily until they return safely.

    October 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  8. TXMD

    This response in summary is the problem. No country or countries with financial and medical resources to help NOW want to get involved in the dangerous and messy care of these patients in Africa. I guess they are all waiting for somebody else to be dumb enough to step up and do it. Build all the facilities you like but without staff and ongoing support nothing will change. The world needs to act now before its too late. The USA is the only country that can move quickly enough with enough resources to help. We should act. Then the rest of the world (the Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Brazil especially) a bill for our services.

    October 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  9. ryan

    I for one am afraid for the troops being sent to Africa as it leaves them vulnerable to attacks from the muslim sicko's who hate us and would expose themselves to the virus just to pass it on to the troops...Why do they need us over there ?? I just don't get it...ciaofornow

    October 6, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  10. Richard Stiller

    I do not believe that anyone in South Africa is completely safe from Ebola, troops or otherwise. In spite of information telling us that Ebola can only be contracted by direct contact with bodily fluids, there are always exceptions to a rule. Anyone who is an "exception" is in just as much danger as "normal" victims.

    October 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  11. Dirk Pitt

    The (US) Joint Task Force Port Opening (JTFPO) already arrived in theater (Liberia). A team is headed there from a unit in Virginia and more are coming from Ft Campbell - up to 3000.

    Between 5-6 US military personnel have already contracted 'symptoms'. It takes 2 weeks to fully develop and then diagnose ebola. The CDC is wrong. It has yet to be determined if ebola can be vectored, but the virus remains active/live on a surface for up to 6 (six) days. Coming in close proximity (one meter) also places personnel at risk.

    US MPs do not have the capability to counter in-country criminal elements or terrorists who may want the food, medical supplies or even building materiel that US logistics forces will bring. In building a clinic, repairing roads/bridges, initiating water purification, etc, there is no stated end-state - what constitutes 'mission completed'. Even if and when we build a health clinic, what equipment goes in it and who staffs it? The host nation went through civil war which destroyed the hospitals and killed the doctors and nurses. If you say the volunteer medical personnel (Doctors without Borders?) will staff the clinics/hospitals, then who evaluates when (rapid) construction buildings meet clinic standards and will effectively treat individuals with a viral infection?

    This is a political deployment which puts US Soldiers at risk.

    When a US Soldier contracts ebola, he/she will not come back to the US or to Landstuhl, Germany. Landstuhl can treat trauma patients but is not set up to treat viral infections. No military hospital in CONUS is prepared to treat or even isolate returning US personnel. Confidence level is extremely low. Belief in any statement made by 'officials' to be tainted.

    October 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  12. Ava

    NO I don't trust that these precious troops of ours will NOT be in harms way! The main problem in these countries is that they don't have toilet facilities, running water, soaps. These are PRIMITIVE countries that have governments that don't give a rats flip about their people and just getting the basic necessities to them! IF it took HAZMAT a FULL WEEK to find someone to come and clean the apartment that these 3 family members were STILL LIVING IN,, along with the SAME BED, SOFA, TOILET, SINKS that this man with Ebola was around..if THAT'S what it's like in the USA...what do you think the situation is in the places we're ending our troops to where thousands of people who HAVE the desease
    are roaming and laying on the streets vomiting in cabs and streets ets.

    October 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Reply

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