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Aberdeen-based unit heading to Liberia

(AP) An Aberdeen-based U.S. military mobile laboratory designed to assess and combat biological and chemical threats is preparing for its first deployment to Liberia, where a team of soldiers and scientists will test for Ebola. The 1st Area Medical Laboratory will deploy to Liberia next week. Twenty-two soldiers, some of whom are biochemists, microbiologists and laboratory technicians, will be on the mission. The laboratory’s commander, Col. Patrick Garman, said the soldiers have undergone extensive training. The laboratory will be headquartered in Monrovia, the capital, and Garman said four groups of three will be dispatched across Liberia to test human samples for the deadly virus. Previously the laboratory has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. He said troops began training at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in August, working to develop best practices for donning and doffing personal protective equipment and running field simulations in which soldiers would break down and reassemble the laboratory.