Pentagon to mobilize reserve soldiers for Ebola duty

Saturday, November 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

Tom Vanden Brook
November 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the involuntary mobilization of 2,100 Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers for duty in Ebola-ravaged West Africa, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The Army is notifying soldiers and their families about the compulsory call-up, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. The units and their specialties are not being identified until the troops have been informed. Last month, the Pentagon announced its intent to mobilize eight reservists who had the engineering skills needed for building medical facilities.

The forces will replace troops on duty in Liberia and Senegal. Currently, more than 2,200 troops are serving in the region as part of United Assistance, the operation led by the U.S. Agency for International Development but manned mostly by troops.

The Pentagon chose to mobilize reservists and guardsmen for the Ebola mission in part because of their specialties such as civil affairs. Reserve forces often follow active-duty soldiers after the first stage of a longer-term mission. For example, reserve forces are deployed to Kosovo.

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