Bentley sends guard to protect US-Mexico border


MONTGOMERY—At the request of the National Guard Bureau, Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday ordered Alabama National Guard support to protect the U.S. border with Mexico. Alabama will send one UH-72 helicopter and three pilots to Marana, Arizona.

“Securing the U.S. border is an issue that is important to every American, and the Alabama National Guard is supporting the effort to secure the border,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The men and women who serve in the Alabama National Guard are some of the most dedicated and professional military service members in the country. I appreciate the Guard’s effort to support the Southwest Border Mission.”

For more than 20 years, Army National Guard (ARNG) Soldiers have been serving as a force multiplier by supporting civilian law enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol agencies in securing the Southwest Border. In fiscal year 2015, the mission consisted of aerial detection and monitoring task forces, criminal analysts, and other mission command and liaison personnel. More than 20 states and territories have participated in Operation Phalanx. The ARNG force included soldiers and 14 aircraft (LUH-72s and OH-58s) in support of the U.S. Border Patrol. In fiscal year 2015 the ARNG rotary-wing assets flew more than 7,600 flying hours in three sectors (two in Texas and one in Arizona). It is estimated that the ARNG aided the U.S. Border Patrol in more than 28,000 apprehensions and countless border turn-backs, as well as seizure of 42,000 pounds of marijuana and additional narcotics.

The requested support is needed immediately and the Alabama National Guard support will remain until the end of September. All costs for personnel and equipment will be provided at no cost to the Alabama Army National Guard. In addition to providing support for protection of the border, the mission will provide training opportunities for the service members and aircraft service maintenance.

“The Alabama National Guard will support the Southwest Border Mission by providing one UH-72 helicopter and three pilots through the end of September 2016 in Arizona,” Major General Perry Smith said. “These missions provide enhanced training for our pilots, while at the same time providing strengthened borders to protect the Nation. I appreciate Governor Bentley’s long-standing and steadfast support of the Alabama National Guard.”

Comments are closed.