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    Texas Guard Support Improves Border Patrol Efficiency

    National Guard Supporting Del Rio CBP

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Suzanne Ringle | A female Texas Guardsmen from El Paso's 3rd Battalion, 133 Field Artillery Regiment,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Suzanne Ringle 

    36th Infantry Division (TXARNG)

    Story by: Sgt. 1st Class Suzanne Ringle
    36th Infantry Division Public Affairs

    EL PASO, Texas –National Guardsmen deployed to the Southwest border for Operation Guardian Support work behind the scenes in areas of support that are delivering results for the U.S. Border Patrol stations in efficiencies, directly impacting agents’ availability out on the line. The support will not end anytime soon, according to the recent approval for OGS funding through fiscal year 2019.

    Servicemembers support USBP in areas like vehicle maintenance and transport, all-terrain vehicle repair, administrative duties, camera surveillance and assisting with secondary checks at points of entry. In each area the addition of military personnel speeds up processes or catches up unfortunate back-logs.

    In the Big Bend area alone BP agents are charged with the overwatch of a 510-mile border of rugged mountains, cacti-riddled flatlands and a vastness for which West Texas is known, not to mention the Rio Grande. Standing watch over that much area and such a diverse terrain means vehicles are not a luxury; they are a necessity.

    “Vehicles are what makes this thing work,” said Rush Allen Carter, USBP Special Operations Supervisor/ Public Affairs Officer, Big Bend Sector. “…the time that it used to take to turn those vehicles around and get them back out in the field, which keeps agents doing their jobs that time has decreased; which is good. The big thing is the efficiencies that are helping keep agents in the field.”
    Rush elaborated that the faster vehicular maintenance is turned around means more agents spread out more effectively (no doubling up). Ultimately, it also saves money through less wear and tear per vehicle.

    Servicemembers from El Paso-based 3rd Battalion, 133rd Field Artillery Regiment, are spread along the Texas-Mexico border from El Paso to Eagle Pass. The guardsmen fill supporting positions previously filled by agents detailed from the line or Department of Defense civilians. “Right now, the Guardsmen are helping with vehicle transport and any time we can have extra hands in the garage it is a good thing,” said Earnest Rodriguez, Supervisor Big Bend sector garage. “The biggest help is transport, otherwise my certified mechanics would be the ones doing the 200-mile transport, so they [guardsmen] keep mechanics being mechanics.”

    Stephen Crump, Deputy Division Chief Big Bend Sector explained how the guardsmen make a difference for the Big Bend sector so far from big city resources. “With the National Guard here it’s helping us create efficiencies where we need them, because we have that lack of infrastructure and resources in our community,” he said.

    The National Guard has been filling a need for assistance and support of the country’s Southwestern border since as far back as the Mexican-American War. Through recent missions like Operation Jump Start (2006) and Operation Phalanx (2010) the current regime of servicemembers understands the CBP mission. Crump says communication is why the blending of guardsmen with Agents has been so smooth.

    “Mission understanding. The National Guard folks completely and openly communicate with us and vice versa we don’t have any issues where they’re not understanding.” Crump said, adding that the mission set was laid out in black and white from the beginning. “From the National Guard Bureau on down, in coordination with Department of Homeland Security that communication is key. The two forces have blended very well because of the understanding.”

    Texas Guardsmen from 3rd Battalion, 133rd Field Artillery Regiment, are making a positive difference every time they act as additional sets of eyes assisting the Border Patrol in noticing hidden drugs or persons crossing illegally even those in need of help.
    Staff Sgt. Jeffery Gonzales, 3rd Battalion 173rd Field Artillery, works with the Presidio Border Patrol and recently participated in the dismantling of a vehicle transport trailer attempting to bring marijuana into the U.S. “…the X-ray equipment showed the anomaly, then they rolled the trailer back to us and we started getting to work. I was excited to take part, it feels like we made a difference,” he said.

    The guardsmen deployed on Operation Guardian Support were tasked with assisting the CBP sectors in getting ‘badges back to the border,’ and that is precisely what they are doing according to Crump. “The willingness to support us with our support functions here [BB sector] where we have those limited resources. Which allows us to not assign those duties to Border Patrol agents, so they can be out in the field conducting their law enforcement mission.”

    The only question now concerns with moving forward, how long the National Guard can and will support the CBP. On that regard, Crump seems optimistic, “I think the relationship building we’ve done in this first stage has laid groundwork and opened those lines of communication for assistance moving forward into fiscal year 2019.”

    The area of responsibility for the El Paso-based Regiment, pertaining to Operation Guardian Support, has servicemembers working in three U.S. Border Patrol sectors; El Paso, Big Bend and Del Rio. The area has a combined 900 miles of border to watch over. For decades the National Guard has proven to be an excellent source to fill in and support CBP with their mission securing the country’s border.



    Date Taken: 06.09.2018
    Date Posted: 09.06.2018 18:44
    Story ID: 291684
    Location: EL PASO, TX, US 

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