Second Langley Transit Center cohort set to leave this week

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jan 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-20 20:02:18-05

Hampton, Va. (WTKR) - A second cohort of nearly 100 service members who were sent to Ebola-stricken West African nations will leave their 21-day mandatory controlled monitoring this week.

The men and women arrived at the Langley Transit Center at Joint-Base Langley Eustis on January 1.

Even though they never came in contact with anyone diagnosed with Ebola during their service, the controlled monitoring was ordered out of an abundance of caution.

LTC Robert Gordon, 101st Airborne Deputy Ops Chief, was among the first of the military members on the ground in Liberia last fall.

"We received the word on a Tuesday and that Saturday we got the word to send folks early," he recalled during an interview with NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Tuesday.

Gordon says folks who had been on the ground earlier than that, like U.S. Embassy employees, said the situation had been worse perhaps a month earlier, but things were improving upon their arrival.

"What struck you up front was the normalcy that existed. Even in September which was still about near the peak period of cases per day."

"By the time we got there, you started to see a little bit of at least the daily life return to normalcy which gave us confidence to know the infrastructure was there to do our mission," he continued.

As far as the controlled monitoring period stateside goes, Gordon gets it.

"Everyone understands the rationale. One of the tasks- at least in our cohort here - we've all talked about is we all need to be ambassadors for educating folks on the disease as well- just to reduce any fears as people go back into the communities."

The group currently at the Langley Transit Center is the second cohort that the base has hosted.

"We pretty much make sure everything is good to go with all the troops. Make sure they are as comfortable as possible during their entire stay here," Camp Mayor Lt. Jasmine Chapman explained.

The 21-day period will end on Thursday morning.

Army General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other military leaders will review the controlled monitoring program to produce a comprehensive review which is due to the Secretary of Defense by January 30.