As 200 Fort Carson soldiers were ordered to head south, Army Secretary Mark Esper and Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner used stops in Colorado Springs on Wednesday to voice approval for the Trump administration’s move to use thousands of troops to seal America’s border with Mexico.
The local soldiers — attached to a pair of logistics companies from the post’s 4th Sustainment Brigade — will be joined on “Operation Faithful Patriot” by planners from U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, which is overseeing the border mission.
The troops aren’t heading to the border with loaded rifles. Instead, they will support Border Patrol efforts, a news release from Northern Command said,
The command said troops will provide “planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
The border mission is the first of its kind in more than a century, dating to when Gen. John J. Pershing led Army forces against Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa, and comes as Fort Carson’s forces are heavily committed overseas. The post has about 10,000 soldiers deployed, mostly in Afghanistan. Another 5,000 troops from the post are about to head overseas to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Esper, who spent Wednesday visiting with Fort Carson leaders, troops and families, said the border mission won’t interfere with the Army’s combat readiness and efforts to modernize its formations.
“We get missions all the time and its something we have to manage,” Esper said.
The border mission initially will involve more than 5,000 Army troops, with most of them coming from Fort Hood, Texas.
Gardner, who has been a critic of some Trump administration moves, said he likes the border plan.
“We have to have a secure border,” Gardner said after his meeting with Esper.
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