COVID outbreaks, suicide reports, terrible working conditions, problems with paychecks are all plaguing the Texas National Guard. Hopefully, our 957th is operating under better conditions.

Are Texas Border Troubles Affecting Our North Dakota Guard Unit?

It's unthinkable to me that soldiers on AMERICAN soil would be allegedly subject to such conditions while being deployed at home.  Reading this report from Army Times will certainly give you pause about the conditions National Guard forces faced especially in the early months of the border mission.

For much of 2021, more than 4,000 Guard personnel from 20 states helped monitor the U.S.-Mexico border alongside Customs and Border Protection personnel. The majority were part of a brigade-level ground force led by the 110th MEB known as Task Force Phoenix, a combination of 34 distinct Guard units stitched together with virtually no prior relationships, complicating an already wayward operation. Most returned home in October, when a new Guard task force took over.

That new Guard task force that took over in October contains 125 members of North Dakota's Bismarck-based 957th Engineer Company that were deployed down south at the end of October 2021.

In the first two months, the 957th assisted the CBP in 30,000 apprehensions

KX News attributes that number to North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's Communications Director Mike Nowatzki.  In Mid-December 2021, Governor Burgum alongside Major General Al Dohrmann of the North Dakota National Guard visited the 957th at the border.  It seems that maybe when the new Guard took over in October, the roles and responsibilities of the troops took a change for the better.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are tasked with the actual physical apprehensions and in fiscal 2021 made a record 1.66 million of them. The majority of Title 10 troops are manning round-the-clock lookout sites and notify the CBP agents if they witness migrants crossing the border.

According to Guard data obtained by Army Times, the sites assisted approximately 15% of the Border Patrol’s apprehensions in fiscal 2021 — less than 250,000 of the 1.66 million, raising questions about their efficiency.

Well, that was before the North Dakota Guard arrived...we are known to be pretty hard workers. If you do read the Army Times article you'll see a guard group from Lousiana was having a particularly difficult time adapting to the mission.    It starting to look like troops are being put up in hotels developing drug and alcohol problems.  Like it's some kind of frat party   If you want to dive deeper into the political fallout many of the failings have created at the border, The Texas Tribune also has an extensive story that may have you losing faith in the border project as a whole.

One thing that's certain- you can maintain your faith in North Dakota servicemembers.

Much of the problems and controversy seem to be linked to forces based in McAllen, Texas. Hopefully, North Dakota's 957th find themselves in satisfactory conditions worthy of their service and efforts.  If you have ND loved ones deployed to the southern border, without jeopardizing their security, maybe you could share with us some of their general thoughts on the experience so far.

Stay safe y'all!

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