Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced Tuesday the future deployment of approximately ten soldiers from the Alaska Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment.
The move, according to administration spokesperson Matt Shuckerow, is to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the U.S. southern border. The deployment, which will begin April 1, in support of aerial patrol operations on the Arizona/Mexico border, comes following a request for National Guard volunteers through the National Guard Bureau.
“Alaska stands ready in support of the President’s mission to secure the southern border. While this emergency may be thousands of miles away, we must be vigilant in our shared responsibility to address this crisis,” said Dunleavy. “I thank the numerous guardsman, and their families, for answering the call of duty and volunteering to serve in these important support roles.”
“The Alaska guardsmen who volunteered for this mission will provide air, reconnaissance and surveillance support, aviation operations support, maintenance of aircraft, and logistical support in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” said Brigadier General Torrence Saxe. “We will do our part to ensure all our guardsman are properly trained to fulfill this mission and that their families are supported in their absence. The Alaska National Guard is Always Ready, Always There, and is proud to support the state and nation when called upon.”
Guard members serving in their regular status fall under their state’s governor as commander-in-chief, which is also the case when they are activated to serve domestically in response to disasters, emergency response and other homeland missions. Alaska’s support for this request is not expected to impact any scheduled local training, deployments or domestic operations commitments, including fire suppression operations. Furthermore, deployment to the U.S. Southern border will be paid for by the federal government.
Helicopter pilots, crew chiefs, aircraft maintainers and support personnel will fill the six-month requirement and may be swapped out in cycles with other Alaska Army Guard Soldiers. They will fly and maintain aircraft in Arizona that belong to other states’ Guard units.
This is the first deployment of the Alaska National Guard to support the current border security mission. However, the Alaska Army National Guard previously supported border security operations under other presidential administrations.
Last month, Dunleavy announced last that he stood ready to support President Trump’s mission to secure the U.S.-Mexico border if Alaska’s National Guard troops were called upon to assist the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security border security mission there.