AL National Guard soldiers to be deployed to border

AL National Guard soldiers to be deployed to border
(Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey, at President Donald Trump's request and with the recommendation of Alabama Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon, has approved the deployment of one helicopter and five personnel to help protect the United States' southwest border with Mexico.

The soldiers will support the Texas National Guard in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the governor's office said.

"Alabama is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our nation. We have the greatest group of service men and women in the country," Ivey said. "The Alabama National Guard stands ready to answer the call and we are proud to assist in the Southwest border mission."

The state plans to dispatch a UH-72A Lakota helicopter on Tuesday, along with a flight crew and aircraft maintainers from the A Company, 1-114th Aviation Battalion, out of Birmingham.

The helicopter is equipped with a forward-looking infrared system and night spotlight and can work in conjunction with law enforcement to conduct vehicle pursuits, search and rescue operations, and casualty evacuation, the governor's office said.

The mission will operate under the direction of the Texas National Guard and provide an additional tool for observation and tracking of illegal activity in the region.

Ivey's office said the soldiers will not be conducting law enforcement operations.

"The Alabama National Guard is always ready to assist our friends and partners on the border and continue the ongoing mission for homeland security," General Gordon said. "We're proud our soldiers are mentally and physically equipped to handle the challenges of the task."

The Alabama Guard sent several Lakotas and crew to the southwest border in recent years, the last happening in 2016.

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