Guard Joins Texas Rangers in Border Mission
By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 14, 2009 Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked his state’s National Guard to support a special group of Texas Rangers called “Ranger recon teams” at high-traffic and high-crime areas along the Mexican border, state Guard officials said Sept. 11.
"The role of the Texas Joint Counter Drug Task Force Team is to support those operations," said Army Col. William Meehan, a public affairs officer with the Texas National Guard. “But then, this is something that we have been doing well for nearly 20 years with our counterdrug operations.”
The only difference in this mission from the task force’s normal counterdrug operation is that it’s supporting the Texas Rangers, who launched this reconnaissance initiative to reinforce law enforcement along the Texas-Mexico border, Meehan said.
The task force, made up of about 200 Guard soldiers and airmen, can provide aviation, communications, security, medical, logistics, observation and planning support to the Rangers.
The Guard members, along with the Texas Rangers and Ranger recon teams, will be supported by Operation Border Star Unified Command, which includes Texas sheriffs, highway patrol strike teams and Department of Public Safety Aviation resources, according to a release from the governor's office. The effort was launched in early August to address the increase in burglaries of rural homes, ranches and hunting camps in remote areas along the border, state officials said.
Perry said the state’s proven border security strategy is based on putting boots on the ground and equipping those personnel with the technology, training and funding to stem the flow of contraband across the border.
“Deploying Ranger recon teams to high-traffic, high-crime areas along the border will enhance our efforts,” he said.
(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves in the National Guard Bureau.)