Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Martin Dempsey | troops | fears | Africa

Gen. Dempsey Makes Video to Assuage Troops' Ebola Fears

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 08:01 PM

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  posted a YouTube message Tuesday to calm the fears of troops headed to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

Dempsey told troops that the operation in west Africa is a national security priority and that the Defense Department would protect the health of all its personnel "before, during and after deployment." The video was first posted by Marine Corps Times.

Staring straight into the camera, hands on his hips, Dempsey assures troops that the national strategy against Ebola is to "keep it an 'away game,'" but adds that the response team will be available if needed.

"I thank you for what you do every day with great professionalism and courage," Dempsey says.

Story continues below video.




The United States announced Sept. 16 that it would send 3,000 military engineers and medical personnel to west Africa to build clinics and train healthcare workers, but some have criticized the lack of training that troops will get beforehand — and one soldier told  USA Today he was "kind of scared" about the risks.

But Dempsey sought to tamp down the concerns in the video message, saying troops who deploy will receive daily temperature and symptom checks, be assessed for symptoms before returning home, and be monitored for 21 days after arriving back in the United States.

"While the mission in west Africa will not include direct care to patients, the safety and health concerns of the men and women of our joint forces and their families remain of greatest importance to me and our Joint Chiefs," Dempsey said.

Marine Corps Times noted that a similar message was given earlier this month to family members of troops headed to Ebola-ravaged regions of west Africa, including that they will be checked at least twice a day for symptoms while deployed, placed in a controlled environment 10 days before returning home if commanders feel it's necessary, and checked prior to departure for clearance to return home.

On Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the U.S. Northern Command to establish a 30-person rapid response team to provide healthcare assistance should more cases of the deadly disease pop up in the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, posted a YouTube message Tuesday to calm the fears of troops headed to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.
Martin Dempsey, troops, fears, Africa
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2014-01-21
Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 08:01 PM
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