Boots on the Ground

Almost 1,100 National Guardsmen are either training to help secure the US southwest border or already have boots on the ground in the border areas of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, said National Guard Bureau spokesman Jack Harrison last week. Of those volunteers, approximately 100 are Air Guardsmen, he said during his Sept. 3 teleconference with reporters. About 450 Army and Air National Guard members volunteered in Arizona, slightly more than 300 in California, almost 90 in New Mexico, and about 225 in Texas, said Harrison. The troops are expected to be deployed for about a year assisting border agents and immigrations officials. In addition to this mission, Harrison said there are more than 350 Guardsmen conducting counter-drug missions along the Southwest border. Guardsmen have been involved in the counter-drug mission for more than two decades.