Special Air Guard Unit Gears Up: The Texas Air National Guard’s 204th Security Forces Squadron, which calls Ft. Bliss home, has been training for border security duty, reports El Paso’s KFOX TV. However, unit airmen tell KFOX that the one-of-a-kind Air Force unit is not part of President’s Bush’s “Guard to the border” plan, which restricts Guardsmen to a non-security, non-law enforcement role. The 204th is a heavy weapons squadron geared to defend air bases and attached to the rapid-deploying active duty 820th Security Forces Group. Members have deployed—sometimes with only a few hours notice—to such places as Albania, Africa, Southwest Asia, and to hurricane duty in the states.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.