US troops preparing for deployment in Liberia to help fight Ebola are trading their rifles and body armour for rubber gloves, white germ-proof suits and gas masks.
About 500 soldiers were undergoing training on Thursday at Fort Hood in Texas as they prepare to deploy to West Africa. Thousands of US troops are already in the region helping fight the disease, which has killed thousands of people.
Some soldiers acknowledged apprehension about a mission focused on stopping a deadly disease rather than combat or counter-terrorism. But they also expressed confidence that if any troops do fall ill, US doctors can successfully treat them.
Trainer John McGuffin is helping prepare the soldiers. He joked about the equipment change, saying it felt like being the Michelin Man “or a marshmallow”.