This type of continuous presence would provide a perfect "pre-deployment" area for our services before heading off to Afghanistan, (especially a few US Marines). I have a crazy feeling our boarders would have  fewer holes in them with a few good men standing on them. 

Guard Presence on Border Deters Threats

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

National Guard Bureau

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 17, 2010 – The presence of National Guard
troops along the Southwest border has provided U.S. Customs and Border
Protection agents with an additional resource to counter drug smuggling,
human trafficking and other threats along the border, senior Guard
officials said this week.

"With every place we've visited, our colleagues at
Customs and Border Patrol couldn't praise them enough with stepping up
and really providing an incredible capability that gives them the
operational flexibility they need, said Army Maj. Gen. Peter Aylward,
special assistant to the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Additional flexibility also gives border patrol agents a greater ability to focus on specific areas within their sectors.

"It helps us alleviate high-traffic areas," said Mario
Escalante, a Customs and Border Patrol supervisory agent. "More than
anything else, they will be working as additional eyes and ears. They
will be working in … [entry identification sites] giving not just
situational awareness of what is going on, but also acting as a

The deterrence factor readily can be seen in the number of
arrests made by Customs and Border Patrol agents. In the Tucson sector,
daily arrests have been on a steady decline, said U.S. Customs and
Border Patrol officials, who attributed the drop in numbers to the Guard
troops on duty in the area.

The decrease has been steady for the past few years,
officials said, adding that Operation Jump Start, initiated in 2006,
provided a much-needed boost.

Because of that, the mission along the border isn't quite what some troops imagined it would be like.

"When I volunteered for this mission, I expected it to be
actually mass amounts of people always crossing over," said Army Spc.
Joseph Syed of the Arizona National Guard. "I really didn't know what to
expect to see, but in my mind I expected to see people just hopping
[over the border] and running."

Still, Syed said, illegal activity along the border still
remains constant, with smugglers searching for new ways to cross people
and illicit substances across the border.

"We mostly see folks during the day," he said. "We haven't
seen too many people at night. It started out with one or two scouts a
day, and now we have more along the ridge. Now they are actually
bringing groups with them."

Aylward said those smuggling operations often fund larger enterprises, such asnarcoterrorism and transnational threats..

Many have compared the current rotation of Guard troops
along the border to Operation Jump Start. The geographical areas may be
the same, but that is where the similarity ends.

"This is really totally different than Operation Jump
Start," Aylward said. "It is another phase, another chapter to make sure
we're doing everything we can to maintain the sovereignty of our

One of the biggest differences is the ramp-up of troops. On
average, Guardsmen will go through four weeks of additional training
prior to working on the border. They began to arrive along the border in
late August and early September, and, as of yesterday, slightly more
than 1,200 Guardsmen were in training or already deployed to the border.

The additional time allowed the states to ensure that
things ran smoothly, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Jose Salinas, commander
of the Arizona joint task force, Operation Copper Cactus.

"With the ramp-up, it's given us the time to train people,
make sure our orders are in place, make sure we get our chain of command
up to speed," he said. "[The troops] feel like they've been properly
prepared for the situations they might see."

The training was based on scenarios that ranged from border
crossers just needing water to encountering more aggressive, hostile

"They are also getting training in a lot of the technology
that we have," Salinas said. "I feel very confident our troops are
getting what they need to perform the mission properly."

In all of these missions, Guard troops are strictly in
support of the Customs and Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs
Enforcement officials.

"We see something, and we call it in to Border Patrol,"
Syed said. "They'll go check it out." This helps Customs and Border
Patrol to better focus on specific security issues, he added.

"The augmentation that we're providing gives them the
operational flexibility so they can pool their resources and cover down
on those vulnerabilities that have previously existed," said Aylward,
who added that the Guard is part of lessening those vulnerabilities,
while the Customs and Border Patrol recruits and trains additional

Aylward, who'd toured all four border states this week, said he has been impressed with what he has seen.

"The motivation, the professionalism and the attitude
across the board has been superb," he said. "It really makes you feel
proud to be a part of the team, and it really has been a great
experience to come out and visit with the leaders and the soldiers that
are performing this mission."



  1. You know, I always thought that one of the main purposes of the military was to guard the borders. I just can’t understand why this treatment of our border with Mexico has gone on for so long. Driving through DC last month, I was looking at the giant walls that the goverment has built along I-95 to try and keep the road noise down to an acceptable level from the homes on the other side. I’ve ssen them in many places, even little ole Raleigh has them. And I thought,if they can spend millions to build these walls just so the people on the other side can attempt to carry on a coversation while sitting in their back yards, why can’t they build somethiong like them to keep illegals out of our country.Let me see you try and climb a slick, concrete wall that’s 30 feet tall. Semper Fi Major.

  2. I have always believed military presence on our borders is a perfect deterant.Spending a few weeks there before our guys deploy to get em used to terrain and weather is a plus also.When I was working in texas back in the 70’s I thought it would be a perfect place for a military base.Desert training etc.It’s a win win.

  3. “This type of continuous presence would provide a perfect “pre-deployment” area for our services before heading off to Afghanistan, (especially a few US Marines). I have a crazy feeling our boarders would have fewer holes in them with a few good men standing on them.”
    I share that crazy feeling Major!

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