Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited Army troops before they deploy to West Africa to support U.S. efforts to contain and eradicate Ebola.
"You're fixing to do a great service to the world," Perry he told the room full of soldiers.
The Republican visited the sprawling Army installation at Fort Hood on Thursday to address the soldiers before they leave.
"When you signed up to serve the United States Army this may not have been the role that you saw yourself playing, but it's the events that happen in life that you don't see coming, that really distinguishes and characterizes who you are," he said. "So this is one of the events that you may not have seen coming, you may not actually have felt you were being prepared for but in fact you were."
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"The citizens of this state are proud of you," Perry said.
He isn't seeking re-election in November but is seriously considering a second run for the White House in 2016.
Perry has formed a 17-member task force of top state medical, military, emergency-response and public education officials to better prepare Texas for Ebola and other infectious diseases. He says the medical response system is working and Texans shouldn't panic.
A 42-year-old Liberian man died Wednesday at a Dallas hospital after becoming the first patient to develop Ebola in the United States.