Kansas Guard soldiers deployed to west Africa

About 170 Kansas National Guardsmen from a battalion based in Iola will deploy next year to west Africa to help fight Ebola.

The state announced Sunday that soldiers from the 891st Engineer Battalion Headquarters will help build medical facilities in west Africa. They will leave next spring and be deployed for about six months, with the possibility of serving up to a year. It’s part of a national effort called Operation United Assistance.

Kansas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanell says the state will do all it can to ensure the soldiers’ safety. That will include training in protocols and preventative measures against the deadly disease.

The soldiers will begin training next month in Kansas and will receive more training at their mobilization station before they go to west Africa.