Oklahoma troops leave for the border in response to mounting concerns over illegal immigration. President Bush announced a plan to use national guard troops to shore-up Americaâ€™s southern border. Two dozen Oklahoma troops are answering that call to duty. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on why these troops volunteered for the job.
It's about 4:30 AM Saturday and these National Guardsmen have their bags packed and they're ready to go. But this is not your typical deployment. They're not heading to Iraq or Afghanistan but to California.
Capt Travis Brown: "our main mission down there is construction projects on the border for the border patrol. As far as we know we'll be working on the fence, improving roads maybe some lighting, things like that."
25 members of the 138th Civil Engineering Squadron based out of Tulsa are the first round of troops from Oklahoma to head to the border.
It's all part of the president's plan to use guard troops to help clamp down on illegal immigration. These troops are trained as engineers and those are the skills that will put to use repairing fences along the border.
Capt Kurt Stephens: "the job just fits in to civil engineering to a T. Its a chance for us to go out there perform a peace time mission and do what we're trained to do."
Captain Stephens says he's proud to serve. "its homeland security. We gotta secure our borders. Its been dictated by the president and by our governor that its priority to our country. They've assigned us to do it and proud to go down and do the job."
It's a short deployment only about two weeks. But this is only the first round. More than 300 Oklahoma troops are to take part in the mission over the next three months.
Next month, 50 members of the Tulsa-based 285th Aviation company will head to either California or New Mexico. Oklahoma will also send four Blackhawk helicopters to the region.