On February 2, Brigadier General Pat Hamilton, based at Camp Mabry in Austin, came to the Sertoma Club to address what the Texas National Guard is doing since it has become very active along the Texas-Mexico border, as ordered by Governor Rick Perry – a year ago.
General Hamilton has been deployed three times overseas and the last time was to Afghanistan in 2008-2009.
He indicated that the Texas National Guard is 15,000 strong and it is complimented by 3,200 members Texas Air National Guard, 2,500 member Texas State Guard, and a 5,100 member Domestic Operations Task Force.
The Air National Guard has unit in San Antonio and predator units in Houston as well as the 136th Airlift Wing.
There are 32 other states that are similar to the Texas State Guard in how they are structured. The Texas State Guard is responsible for shelter provisions, evacuations, hurricane response, search and rescue and are trained by the Red Cross.
The Domestic Operations Task Force’s focus is on nuclear and chemical responses and providing for a border response.
The Texas Army National Guard has responded to the border crisis and elsewhere by logging more than 30,000 hours per year of service, manning a rough and rugged terrain along the border, has responded to 33 storms and 36 floods and has fought several wildfires.
As to why the Army National Guard is on the border, it is not why many people say – to handle immigration matters but rather to slow and stop where possible the infiltration of drugs from Mexico/Latin America, human smuggling, sex trafficking and many other crime related activities.
The drug cartels no longer just peddle drug but are also into: smuggling weapons, kidnapping and smuggling people. Over the last 6 years, the number of people involved in these criminal activities is high. People involved in these criminal enterprises have a high recidivism rate. There were more than 207,000 such people along the border who were booked into jail for violent crimes which included 3,089 people killed by criminal aliens. There were also more than 6,000 assaults on citizens by criminal aliens.
There are currently 1,000 Army National Guard along the border which are working with the local police and sheriff departments, manning site systems and flying nine aircraft in the Rio Grande Valley area during night time hours.