US Army helicopters returning from Ebola mission


As part of the United States withdrawal of troops from the Ebola assistance mission in West Africa, various US Army helicopters are being sent home.

In addition to military and healthcare personnel, the United States sent four MV-22B Ospreys from the Special Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response Africa at Moron in Spain. These left for Liberia on October 9 last year, supported by two US Marine corps KC-130J tankers, reports Air Forces Daily.

The United Kingdom also provided aerial support in the form of three Merlin HM2 helicopters from the Royal Navy’s 820 Naval Air Squadron. These arrived in Liberia aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel RFA Argus on October 30.

Air Forces Daily reports that the Ospreys were replaced by UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47F Chinooks from the US Army and that these are now being sent back to the United States, with the majority of personnel due back in the United States by the end of April.

On February 16 soldiers began loading CH-47s and UH-60s onto the Military Sealift Command roll-on roll-off cargo vessel MV Cape Race in Liberia.

Earlier this month the US announced it would withdraw most of the 1 300 US troops deployed in West Africa as part of Operation United Assistance, with only 100 to remain. At the height of the epidemic, about 2 800 military personnel were deployed to West Africa.

Operation United Assistance is a US Department of Defence operation in Liberia to provide logistics, medical training and engineering support to U.S. Agency for International Development-led efforts to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa.