The United States military has completed the last of its 17 Ebola treatment units (ETUs) in Liberia. Rather than contracting out the construction, American soldiers picked up hammers themselves and worked side by side with the Armed Forces of Liberia for this final ETU under Operation United Assistance.
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Working 12-hour days in a remote rainforest brought plenty of challenges but also camaraderie rarely seen on a military mission. Watch the video as ABC News was there from start to finish to show the building of bonds as well as Ebola treatment blocks.
Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, who leads the Joint Command task force on the ground, told ABC News that the Department of Defense will decide this month the future of the operation against Ebola and whether to send troops home. About 450 non-essential service members have already returned to the United States. Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone, the spread of the disease has been steadily decreasing in Liberia.
The U.S. military has not only helped build ETUs in Liberia, but troops have also trained more than 1,500 health workers to go into these hot zones. In a mock ETU in the capital Monrovia and in mobile courses in more remote regions, soldiers drilled doctors and other medical staff on how to tackle and treat the dangers of the deadly disease.
Classes covered everything from confronting uncooperative patients to avoiding contamination from bodily fluids and blood, realistically simulated by red ratatouille sauce from the military's Meals Ready to Eat (better known as MREs). Watch the second video as ABC News takes you into Ebola boot camp for the last class of Operation United Assistance.