SD National Guard helicopter, crew depart for Southwest border
RAPID CITY, S.D. – A South Dakota Army National Guard UH-72 Lakota helicopter and crew departed for Arizona this week to provide aerial detection and monitoring for U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the Southwest border.
The Soldiers will work with the Arizona National Guard, in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, to bring additional air reconnaissance capability and capacity to enhance CBP’s border security operations. The four-person crew of pilots and an analyst is expected to support the mission for up to 90 days.
The request to provide aviation reconnaissance support came to the SDNG from the National Guard Bureau and approved by Gov. Kristi Noem. Multiple states are providing similar capabilities to the Texas, Arizona and New Mexico National Guard.
This is the fourth time the SDNG has sent aircraft and crews for Southwest border support, previously deploying in 2007, 2013 and 2015.
The SDNG also assisted in Southwest border operations with Operation Jump Start in 2006 and 2007, where it provided engineer and project management support in the construction of barriers and access roads along the U.S.-Mexico border. In all, about 570 Soldiers and Airmen from more than a dozen units participated in various missions.