West Virginia National Guard members to be deployed to Texas border


West Virginia National Guard

CHARLESTON< W. Va.–Gov. Jim Justice is deploying 50 West Virginia National Guard soldiers and airmen to the southern border in Texas to help with Operation Lone Star.

Justice said that he recently heard from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Governor Abbott wrote several of us and requested help. I certainly want to step up and do our part,” Justice said.

The Guard members will soon begin training and be deployed for at least 30 days in the month of August. Justice said the 50 have volunteered for the service. No specific Guard units are being mobilized.

Justice said the state will have to foot the bill for the deployment. The soldiers and airmen will be assisting the Texas National Guard.

According to the governor’s office the Guard members will help detect, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity between points of entry.”

“They will take their weapons with them and hopefully that won’t have to be necessary at all,” Justice said.

Justice said what’s happening at the border is “terrible.”

“We know exactly what’s going on–from human trafficking to the potential of terrorists in our nation but more important than anything is the fentanyl outrage,” Justice said.

Fentanyl has been the latest enemy in the state’s continuing battle against the opioid epidemic.

“I mean if you don’t think there’s a serious problem at the border that affects West Virginia you’re out of you’re mind,” Justice said. “I mean the flow of fentanyl for one thing is at an epidemic phase, we’ve got to step up.”

Justice said the Texas deployment will not impact the Guard members who are helping with staffing issues in the state’s regional jails and prisons.

“We have it completely covered,” Justice said. “We do not want to take away from the committment toward Corrections and we won’t. We’re not going to drop the ball on Corrections.”

Justice said he was proud of those who have volunteered to go to Texas.

“I think it’s our part,” he said.