Seafarers Sail in Operation United Assistance (11/17)


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The fourth arm of defense is once again extended in an offer of assistance, this time to help medical personnel fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa as part of Operation United Assistance. Both the Cape Rise and Cape Wrath, SIU-contracted Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships, are deploying to U.S. installations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which are the areas most affected by the virus. The Cape Wrath is operated by Crowley, and the Cape Rise is operated by Keystone.


Before crossing the Atlantic, the Cape Rise made port in Beaumont, Texas, to pick up supplies from the U.S. Army’s 842nd Division. The cargo included around 1,000 Humvees, dump trucks, forklifts, and other wheeled equipment. This machinery will be used to build hospitals in West Africa.


Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, Florida, the Cape Wrath was picking up more than 700 additional pieces of equipment, including water purification trucks, refrigeration, and fuel storage and command and control vehicles. In addition to the equipment, up to 3,000 U.S. troops will deploy to the region from various Army bases, down from the initial estimate of 4,000. The Cape Wrath also got a visit from Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander of the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC).


To help clear up any misinformation about what the crews should expect while in West Africa, the MSC provided detailed, precautionary information before the SIU-crewed ships sailed overseas.


The vessels may take up to three weeks to get to West Africa. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the overall mission will likely last 18 months, though it is unknown how long the RRF ships will be involved.




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