A C-17 U.S. military aircraft arrived in Liberia Thursday with the first shipment of increased military equipment and personnel for the anti-Ebola fight.
The arrival of the first shipment is part of recent promise made by President Barack Obama in a speech on September 16 at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, committing the United States to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The US military cargo plane has on board a heavy duty forklift, a drill set, generator, and a seven-person team of military personnel including engineers and airfield specialists.
The personnel are in the country to quickly assess the payload and stability of the runways at the Roberts International Airport (RIA). The forklift will be used to offload incoming medical supplies and other items.
According to a release from the US Embassy near Monrovia, additional large military aircrafts transporting more personnel and supplies are expected to arrive in Monrovia in the coming days.
Major General Darryl Williams, in his capacity as Commander of U.S. Army Africa and Operation United Assistance, arrived in Liberia last Tuesday. Upon his arrival, Maj/Gen Williams held a series of meetings with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other senior Liberian government officials including Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. about stepping up U.S. response to the Ebola crisis in the country.
As part of his activities, on Thursday, Maj/Gen. Williams and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, toured several sites where more Ebola Treatment Units are being constructed.
The sites which the US officials visited included the one being constructed in the courtyard of the new Defense Ministry building in Congo Town and the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
Last Tuesday, President Obama announced Operation United Assistance, declaring: “Our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, and in logistics and engineering. And our Department of Defense is better at that, our armed services are better at that, than any organization on Earth. We’re going to create an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster.”
The American leader made particular reference to a troop of 3000 personnel being assigned in Ebola prone Liberia.