The two United States (US) Army generals who now replaced the other as commander of the U.S.-led Military Operation United Shield in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) across Africa have both commended Liberians for their resilience and positive spirit in the fight to contain the disease.The two American top brass military personnel made the commendation over the weekend at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia at the official ceremony marking the Operation United Assistance Joint Force Command’s Transfer of Authority (TOA).At the brief but well coordinated occasion, the former Commander of the force, Major General Darryl Williams, transferred authority to another Major General, Gary J. Volesky. The transfer of authority was characterized by military traditional activities.The exercise was attended by Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah R. Malac, among other officials.Maj/Gen Volesky replaces Maj. /Gen. Williams, who led the US soldiers to Liberia since five weeks ago.“The fight to contain EVD is faced with enormous challenges, but we are grateful to Liberians and other partners for their collective efforts to stamp out the disease,” the two soldiers asserted in their separate statements as they, to the delight of the audience, exchanged colors marking the TOA. In a separate remark earlier, the outgoing commander, Maj/Gen Williams expressed gratitude to authorities at the Ministry of National Defense (MOD), and the Chief of Staff (COS) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Brigadier General Daniel Ziankhan, for the “friendship and excellent” leadership qualities exhibited during his tenure, which sets the condition for onward operations of the U.S. Military.According to him, Operation United Shield involves the efforts of the AFL and the U.S. military team to build a united front in the fight against the EVD.For his part, the incoming Commander, Maj/Gen. Volesky, described the exercise as challenging since its operations have to include the training of healthcare givers in the fight against the EVD and the manning of the various Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) across the country.Prior to coming to Liberia, he served in his latest assignment as Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell. As the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command, the US Army Africa, Southern European Task Force (USARAF/SETAF) enables a full spectrum operation, while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote security, stability, and peace.As directed, USARAF/SETAF deploys a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response. USAARAF is America’s premier Army team dedicated to positive change in Africa such as the fight to contain the outbreak by providing their respective expertise.As of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), it provides the US with an unmatched expeditionary Air Assault capability to conduct forcible entry and other worldwide unified land operations in support of combatant commanders. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
It’s back. Maybe.The climate phenomenon known as La Nina appears to be shaping up again in the Pacific Ocean, which could mean another cool, wetter-than-normal winter in the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center on Thursday upgraded last month’s La Nina watch to a La Nina advisory. Forecasters have recently observed the cooler-than-usual Pacific Ocean temperatures that characterize La Nina, and the condition is expected to strengthen in the coming weeks and months, according to NOAA.The natural phenomenon would be the second straight La Nina year in the Pacific, after a “fairly strong” pattern in 2010-11, said Dan Collins, a meteorologist with the Climate Prediction Center. What that means this time around remains to be seen.“It’s not always the case that a strong La Nina leads to strong impacts,” Collins said. “It just happened to be the case that last year we had strong impacts.”The 2010-11 version churned out much more rain than usual and huge mountain snow packs in the Northwest, but little in the way of biting cold. The weather pattern also tends to produce dry conditions for the southern United States, and a repeat of that would be bad news for drought-stricken states like Texas.