7.07.06 Gov. Henry
Sends Oklahoma National Guard Troops
to Assist National Border Enforcement
Governor Brad Henry has signed
orders to send Oklahoma National Guard
Troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to
assist federal authorities with border
enforcement efforts there. Oklahoma
is one of several states that have volunteered
to participate in President Bushs
new border enforcement program.
We have to secure
our borders and beef up enforcement
to protect our country, particularly
in the post 9-11 world, said Gov.
Henry. Im proud to send
Oklahoma troops to assist President
Bush with his efforts to improve border
enforcement and stop the flow of illegal
immigrants. Oklahoma is more than willing
to do its part when it comes to addressing
our nations border security issues.
Late Thursday, the Governor
signed a memorandum of agreement with
the U.S. Department of Defense to send
Oklahoma Guard troops and equipment
to New Mexico and western Texas to support
border enforcement efforts in that area.
More than 300 Oklahoma troops are scheduled
to take part in the mission over the
next three months.
Oklahoma Army and Air
Guard soldiers will conduct ground and
aerial surveillance to help locate illegal
immigrants and assist with construction
of fences and other structures designed
to improve border enforcement. The state
will also dispatch several Black Hawk
helicopters to help carry out the mission.
The first Oklahoma troops
will leave for the border on Saturday,
July 15. The 138th Civil Engineering
Squadron, Oklahoma Air National Guard
in Tulsa, will send 20 members initially.
The other Oklahoma units scheduled to
participate in the border enforcement
mission are the 285th Aviation Company,
the 45th Field Artillery Brigade and
the 120th Engineer Battalion. Each unit
will deploy for three weeks in support
of the border effort before returning
We stand ready
to serve as long as we are needed to
assist with border security, Gov.
Henry said. The Oklahoma National
Guard has been at the forefront of responding
to national crises. Our brave troops
were exemplary in their assistance with
recovery and rescue efforts in the wake
of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and
I am confident they will be just as
outstanding in this critical mission
of helping to secure our border.
While the Oklahoma Guard
units will be assigned to the New Mexico
Guard command structure, Gov. Henry
and State Adjutant General Harry Bud
Wyatt will determine the length of the
deployment and have the authority to
call the troops back at anytime to deal
with any emergency in Oklahoma.
Maj. Gen. Wyatt said
there will be adequate troops and resources
on hand in Oklahoma to address any emergencies.
The National Guard
stands ready to respond quickly and
decisively in the event of an emergency
in the state of Oklahoma, said
the adjutant general. Even with
Guard troops currently serving overseas
and those who will take part in this
border security operation, the National
Guard presence in Oklahoma is not compromised.
In May, President Bush
announced a border security initiative
that included sending up to 6,000 National
Guard members to assist in patrolling
the U.S.-Mexico border.