Governor sends National Guard to Texas border
Published 2:26 am Saturday, May 26, 2018
Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday approved the deployment of one helicopter and five personnel to help protect the United States’ southwest border with Mexico. The soldiers will be supporting the Texas National Guard in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In a statement released Friday, Ivey said the deployment was approved at the request of the Trump Administration and upon the recommendation of the Alabama Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon.
“Alabama is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our nation. We have the greatest group of service men and women in the country,” Ivey said. “The Alabama National Guard stands ready to answer the call and we are proud to assist in the Southwest border mission.”
The state plans to dispatch a UH-72A Lakota helicopter on Tuesday, along with a flight crew and aircraft maintainers from the A Company, 1-114th Aviation Battalion, out of Birmingham. The mission will operate under the direction of the Texas National Guard and provide an additional tool for observation and tracking of illegal activity in the region. The soldiers will not be conducting law enforcement operations.
“The Alabama National Guard is always ready to assist our friends and partners on the border and continue the ongoing mission for homeland security,” Gen. Gordon said. “We’re proud our soldiers are mentally and physically equipped to handle the challenges of the task.”
Alabama’s National Guard is the latest to send equipment and personnel to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and local, state and other federal agencies. The Alabama Guard has sent several Lakotas and crew to the southwest border in recent years, the last occurring in 2016.
The Alabama National Guard helicopter provides distinctive capabilities to support the CBP mission. The helicopter is equipped with a forward-looking infrared system and night spotlight and can work in conjunction with law enforcement to conduct vehicle pursuits, search and rescue operations, and casualty evacuation.