Texas National Guard troops deploying to West Africa for Ebola relief

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Members of the Texas Army National Guard will deploy to western Africa to help in the fight against Ebola.

A team of engineers based in Angleton, which is south of Houston, will deploy in spring 2015 as part of Operation United Assistance. The Guardsmen will be part of a multi-state National Guard effort and return home within a year.

Operation United Assistance is a U.S. Department of Defense initiative helping fight Ebola in West Africa. On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signed an order authorizing the deployment of about 2,100 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers to support the operation.

“As the Defense Department’s most cost-effective force, the National Guard provides our country great versatility across the full spectrum of operations,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. “The citizen-Soldiers representing Texas are experienced professionals and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the mission. We are proud to serve our state and nation during this time of need and be a part of this larger effort.”

Members of the 272nd Engineer Company, 368th Engineer Battalion will make up the team. While in western Africa, they will build structures for operational and medical needs.

“The mission of these brave Texans is essential to controlling and containing the international threat to public health we face with Ebola,” said Gov. Rick Perry. “Their efforts to help end this outbreak in West Africa will mean greater safety for all of us back at home, and we commend each of them for their courage and dedication to their fellow man.”

The Texas Military Forces will provide more information on the deployment at a news conference Monday afternoon. We will be there and bring you the latest throughout the day on KXAN.com and on KXAN News at 5 6.