Dunleavy deploys small group of Guardsmen to Mexican border
Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced plans Tuesday to send roughly a dozen Alaska National Guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico border, following up on a pledge to support President Trump’s emergency declaration in the region.
The initial group of about 10 soldiers are slated to be drawn from the Alaska Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, will “assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the U.S. southern border,” according to a statement from the administration.
“The deployment, which will begin April 1, 2019 in support of aerial patrol operations on the Arizona/Mexico border, comes following a request for National Guard volunteers through the National Guard Bureau,” Dunleavy officials wrote.
“Alaska stands ready in support of the President’s mission to secure the southern border. While this emergency may be thousands of miles away, we must be vigilant in our shared responsibility to address this crisis,” Dunleavy said. “I thank the numerous Guardsmen, and their families, for answering the call of duty and volunteering to serve in these important support roles.”
Last month, Dunleavy said in a brief video message that the state’s Guard forces — which he oversees as commander-in-chief — “stand ready” to assist in the response to Trump’s border declaration.
The declaration itself may be on shaky ground, however, with the Democrat-controlled U.S. House’s passage of a resolution against it. With support building even among some Senate Republicans to follow suit, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that the president was likely to veto any such move.
The Alaska Guardsmen sent to the border — including helicopter pilots, crew chiefs, aircraft maintainers and support personnel — will be employed to fly and repair aircraft in Arizona, according to Tuesday’s statement, and may be swapped out for other Alaska-based Guardsmen as needed.
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