A C-17 U.S. military aircraft arrived in Liberia Thursday with the first shipment of increased U.S. military equipment and personnel for the anti-Ebola fight, which was promised by President Barack Obama in a speech September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
The cargo included a heavy duty forklift, a drill set and generator and a team of 7 military personnel, including engineers and airfield specialists. The personnel are here to quickly assess the payload and stability of the airport runways. The forklift will be used to offload incoming supplies.
Additional large military aircraft, 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, has been in Liberia since Tuesday, meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other senior Liberian government officials to discuss the stepped up U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.
On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Williams and U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac toured several sites where more Ebola Treatment Units are being constructed. The sites include the Defense Ministry building in Congo Town and Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex.
On Tuesday, President Obama announced Operation United Assistance, saying: “Our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, in logistics, in 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.”