Posts From August, 2023

Texas National Guard Aid in Stash House Raid

Soldiers standby while Border Patrol agents process detaineesLAREDO, Texas – Texas National Guard Soldiers, along with law enforcement partners, apprehended seventeen individuals located in a known illegal migrant stash house this week that lacked running water, restrooms and limited power according to the personnel on the operation.

The operation stemmed from an anonymous tip from the Crime Stoppers Program in the Laredo area. The information provided described a vacant house believed to be sheltering a large group of illegal aliens. Guard Soldiers assigned to Operation Lone Star collaborated with local and state law enforcement to respond the morning of August 30.

“The house was very small and living conditions were bad,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vasquez, Platoon Sergeant for Alpha Company’s second platoon. “There were signs that the group was one of many utilizing the house in recent days.”

The Guard established a perimeter around the house and property to allow law enforcement to approach the residence. Several individuals tried to flee from the back door but were stopped upon seeing the Soldiers positioned in the streets. The individuals were detained immediately by law enforcement officials and the area was secured.

The Guard has referred over 613,000 illegal migrants and criminal elements to law enforcement partners since the beginning of Operation Lone Star in March 2021. Illegal migrant and criminal referrals include surrenders as well as interdictions to apprehend. Law enforcement partners instruct Soldiers in apprehending illegal activity thus multiplying manpower to prevent, deter and interdict border crossings.Soldiers stand outside a house at night

“Our law enforcement partners have told us we are a force multiplier here in Laredo and without us their job would be much more difficult,” said Vasquez.

The Texas National Guard, in conjunction with law enforcement partners, is dedicated to preventing illegal migrant crossings from Mexico to the US and stopping cross-border illicit narcotics trafficking.

OLS Stops Human Smugglers

Soldiers standing having meeting outsideLAREDO – Texas Army National Guard soldiers stopped human smugglers attempting to use a raft to cross the Rio Grande last week. The Soldiers in partnership with state and federal law enforcement made the smugglers turn back into Mexico to avoid being arrested.

The Soldiers were on a dismounted patrol near the riverbank, when they were alerted by their law enforcement communication partners to a raft of attempted human smugglers floating across the border river.

As the smugglers made their attempt to cross, Guardsmen discovered various hiding places human smugglers use to hide illegal immigrants as part of a growing money-making scheme. Soldiers say they often find these immigrants in the tall reeds and thick brush that line the banks of the river before they are taken by smugglers for their illegal passage into the United States.

“It’s about getting into their head,” said Spc. Ramirez, a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “You have to be able to think like one of them to understand where someone in their position would think to hide.”

The Soldiers utilize advanced tracking hardware and software to accurately detect the positions of the migrants and use their knowledge and experience of tracking people through the terrain that surrounds the southern border.

“It’s like a game of hide and seek,” said Spc. Ragland, also with Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “But they’re as smart as you, if not smarter, in ways to get around law enforcement or anybody that’s trying to stop them from illegally immigrating into the US.”two soldiers walk near Rio Grande River

The soldiers on Operation Lone Star operate in this way across the entirety of Texas southern border, and they are trained to intercept illegal immigration before the criminals make landfall into the United States.

The Texas National Guard, in conjunction with interagency partners, is dedicated to preventing illegal migrant crossings from Mexico to the US and stopping cross-border illicit narcotics trafficking.

Oklahoma National Guard among border contingents

EL PASO, Texas – Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers are serving along the Texas and Mexico border to prevent, deter and interdict illegal border crossings and other illegal activity. The Oklahomans are part of a larger coalition of states supporting Operation Lone Star.

Oklahoma is currently serving as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in Texas along the southern international border with Mexico. In the past three months, multiple states have rotated personnel and equipment to Operation Lone Star.

“We patrol and call up anything suspicious or if anyone looks like they are about to cross illegally,” said Spc. Trace Greer, an Oklahoma National Guardsman assigned to Task Force West. “They [Oklahoma National Guard] were asking for volunteers to come to the border and I felt like doing something to help my community out.”

The multi-state support is not new for Operation Lone Star. In October 2021, Arkansas National Guard provided a team of mechanics to support operations in the Rio Grande Valley. The team was responsible for maintenance on tactical vehicles assigned to Operation Lone Star.

In the past three months, multiple states have joined the EMAC response to support Texas in securing the southern border.

“The support we have received in the El Paso area of operations from our partner states is crucial to mission success,” said Maj. Sean Storrud, Operation Lone Star Task Force West Commanding Officer. “The Oklahoma National Guard contingent, as well as our other partner states, have provided the extra manpower we need to continue to prevent and deter illegal border crossings to secure our nation’s backyard.”

Operation Lone Star was launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on March4, 2021, in response to the rise in illegal immigration and criminal activity on the southern border. The Guard partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies to answer the call to secure the nation’s international border with Mexico.

KFOR 32 Transfer of Authority Ceremony

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – NATO’s Kosovo Force officially welcomed the 32nd rotation of U.S. Soldiers taking responsibility for the Regional Command – East mission during a transfer of authority ceremony, June 30, 2023.

KFOR transferred authority between the outgoing RC-East team, 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Nighthawk from Indiana and the incoming 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Texans from Texas.

“We have been blessed and couldn’t have asked for a better team,” said Col. Chris Mabis, commander of the 76th. “You have all been tremendous teammates and I am forever grateful for your dedication to this mission.”

The ceremony started with the National Anthem, sung a cappella by Task Force Texans and Alabama National Guard 1st. Lt. Timothy Lett, a helicopter flyover and the changing of state flags, from Indiana to Texas. In front of the three flag poles, that prominently display the American flag, the state flag of the current Regional Commander and the NATO flag, leaders from the 76th cased their unit’s colors, officially signifying the conclusion of their nine-month mission in the region, followed by leaders from the 56th IBCT unfurling their unit’s colors, representing the beginning of their mission in Kosovo.

“The actions and contributions of Task Force Nighthawk have been invaluable and will have lasting impacts for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. Angelo Ristuccia, KFOR commander. “The U.S. has provided world-class Soldiers to the KFOR mission over the years.”

During the 76th’s tour, RC-East completed 219 air mission requests, more than 2,500 patrols and more than 3,000 soldier-leader engagements.

“I look forward to working with international organizations and the institutions in Kosovo to support peace and stability in the region,” said Col. Ross Walker, commander of the 56th IBCT and incoming commander of RC-East. “We’re here to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.”

Soldiers from Texas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Alabama, and Illinois National Guard units join Soldiers from ten contributing partner nations, forming the Regional Command East team, all dedicated to maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999.