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Tenn. lawmakers want more specifics on 101st Airborne deployment in Africa to help stem Ebola

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CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee — Seven Republican Tennessee lawmakers are asking the Defense Department to clarify the mission of Fort Campbell soldiers who were sent to Africa to help stem the Ebola virus.

The 101st Airborne Division took command on Saturday of an operation to build Ebola care centers in the West African nation of Liberia as part of the U.S. military's mission aimed at building care centers and training health care workers. The goal is to stop the spread of the virus.

The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/1t9Draf) reports U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black, Scott DesJarlais, John Duncan, Stephen Fincher, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe signed a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking for more information about the scope of the mission and how soldiers based at the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line will be protected from the disease.

Ebola has infected more than 7,470 in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and killed more than 3,400.

The letter says the lawmakers were told on Oct. 3 that the 101st soldiers would deploy to West Africa.

"We have since been gathering information about the deployment. Many of the brave men and women serving our country at Fort Campbell are our friends, family and constituents. Their families are very concerned about the mission.

"On Wednesday, Ft. Campbell provided us with additional information about the mission, but we believe there are several issues that warrant further examination."

Among those were security of the armed forces, protective equipment and protocols for treating any soldiers who might contract the disease.


Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, http://www.theleafchronicle.com

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