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Troops deployed to border with Mexico begin heading home

Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 13, 2018
Mattis at the border
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen are inspecting troops camped at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

COLORADO SPRINGS – Military personnel deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico are starting to head home as NORAD & USNORTHCOM reports border hardening missions are starting to wrap up.

The first units to head back to their bases and posts deal with engineering, logistics and headquarters. At the height of the border deployment there were 5,900 military personnel in place. Officials say 750 service members headed home from Texas and Arizona on Wednesday.

There’s no date given on when soldiers and airmen who live in Colorado Springs will return.

In late October the Department of Defense, acting on orders from President Trump, announced roughly 5,000 soldiers and airmen were going to help with border security operations. The announcement came as a large caravan of migrants from Central America were about halfway into their journey to the U.S. border where they planned to claim asylum in America.

Among those deployed are personnel from Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The units include:

  • Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
  • Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
  • Joint Enabling Capability Team and Aviation Planner from U.S. Northern Command

According to information released on Thursday, military engineers have installed 70 miles of concertina wire obstacles and barriers at almost two dozen ports of entry in California, Arizona and Texas. The active duty personnel joined more than 2,100 National Guard troops already deployed alongside Customs and Border Protection agents.

There’s no word on when all of the service members will head home. For now, aviation units will remain in place to assist law enforcement with transport, surveillance and medical evacuation capabilities.

The orders from Secretary of Defense James Mattis are explicit in stating active-duty military units will not engage immigrants and will not act as law enforcement. The soldiers are there in a support role for Border Patrol and local law enforcement.

Figures from NORAD & NORTHCOMM:

  • 5,900 peak military personnel
  • 4,200 deployed as of Dec. 13th
  • 10,000 man hours of training with Military Police and border agents
  • 740 flight hours by Military rotary wing aviators and pilots
  • 70 miles of obstacles installed
  • 1,700 troops in Texas
  • 1,000 troops in Arizona
  • 1,500 troops in California