Military News

JBLM reservists heading to Ebola zone for six months

A team of Joint Base Lewis-McChord reserve airmen left Saturday for an extended deployment supporting the military’s Ebola-response efforts in West Africa.

About 15 airmen from the 446th Airlift Wing expect to be on the ground in Senegal for six months managing cargo and passengers moving through an airfield in the capital city of Dakar.

That’s the longest commitment to the Ebola-response mission yet for a JBLM unit. So far, the base’s role has been to send small teams of airmen back and forth to West Africa delivering people and cargo.

The airmen who left Saturday serve in two of the wing’s aerial port squadrons.

“There’s been no hesitation among the porters to go on this deployment. A common response has been, ‘This is what we do,’ ” said Col. Bryan Runion, the 446th Mission Support Group commander.

Up to 4,000 U.S. military service members could deploy to West Africa in coming months to build and oversee 18 Ebola treatment facilities. Most of the facilities are to be built in Liberia.