Texas National Guardsmen Begin 12/7 Shifts on Border
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas — Members of the Texas National Guard (TNG) have begun patrolling the Rio Grande Sector of the Texas-Mexico border. Guardsmen have been seen in patrol areas from McAllen to Rio Grande City. Under the control of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Governor Rick Perry, the guardsmen have begun their operation to refer and deter along this small section of the border.
The guardsmen have begun working 12 hour shifts with no days off according to a soldier who spoke to Breitbart Texas under condition of anonymity. There was no indication as to how long the 12/7 shifts would last.
The orders were given by a Lt. Colonel commanding one of the units. It is not clear if this order applies to all guardsmen or just the Colonel’s unit. “I have no idea what the reason is behind this order,” the soldier said. “It seems to me that having soldiers work 12 plus hours per day with no days off is asking for accidents to happen.”
The mission of the Texas National Guard has been described as being additional eyes and ears for the DPS troopers who have been deployed to the border region under a surge operation “Strong Safety” authorized by Gov. Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. While the soldiers will be armed with duty weapons, they will not be exercising arrest powers. The weapons are strictly for self-defense according to TNG Public Affairs staff members.
The soldiers began their deployment in late August. However, several troopers deployed under the surge who spoke with this writer reported having no contact with the guardsmen.
Currently it is not known when the TNG or DPS will issue reports on the activities and effectiveness of the Guard deployment. Requests by media to ride with guardsmen under deployment have been denied by authorities with the agencies.
Border Patrol agents working in the area also reported no contact with the Texas National Guard except for the soldiers deployed under federal orders as part of a long-term drug interdiction program. Under this program the guardsmen are under the command and control of the Border Patrol. The newest deployment is under state control and guardsmen report to DPS commanders.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.