The U.S.’s 48th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Brigade has uncased its colors and assumed command of the Operation United Assistance (TAC-OUA) mission to Liberia, taking over from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.
“Today’s uncasing ceremony is a milestone in the history of the 48th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Brigade since its activation at Fort Hood a little over seven years ago,” Col. Sven C. Erichsen, commander of the 48th said.
The release quotes Commander Erichsen as saying the exercise marks its first operational deployment to Liberia, in support of Operation United Assistance, the U.S. effort to help Liberia rid itself of the Ebola epidemic.“ I can think of no more noble a mission to be a part of than this one.”
The 48th CBRN Brigade will, in the Colonel’s words, “ensure that the work 101st started is brought to completion, and the goodwill they’ve built with our U.S. and international partners is preserved.”
He reminded the guests, which included Sheila R. Paskman, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, and Brig. Gen. Frank Tate, Deputy Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), of how far Liberia had come in the past several months.
“Recall from September of last year that Liberia was brought to its knees by the Ebola epidemic,” Col. Erichsen said, and added, “Thousands of people suffering, scores more cases identified every day, and a mortality rate as high as 70% — with no end in sight. Predictions were apocalyptic. Into the storm stepped the 101st.”
“Six months later, as the Spartans (the 48th Chemical Brigade) assume the mission from the 101st , Liberia is well on the road to recovery,” he said. “The actions of the Screaming Eagles (members of the 101st), their U.S. and international partners, and of the Liberians themselves to stem the tide of disease represent nothing short of a miracle.”