2 dozen Wisconsin National Guard members head to Arizona to assist in securing border

ARIZONA -- Approximately two dozen Wisconsin National Guard members are headed to the southwest border to assist the Arizona National Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

According to a news release from Wisconsin National Guard officials, Arizona officials requested the state’s support in securing its border with Mexico, and Wisconsin troops will work with the Arizona National Guard as it supports the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The release states in April, President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense to support the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure the nation’s southern border. Border states -- Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas -- mobilized forces from their respective National Guards under the Militia Clause of the Constitution to complete the mission, and subsequently began submitting requests for assistance from other states in order to support the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Wisconsin is one of several states nationwide providing support to states on the southwest border. All will mobilize in a Title 32, 502(f) status, meaning they will operate under state control but with federal funds.

National Guard officials said the soldiers and airmen from Wisconsin participating in this mission are volunteers from different units around the state that possess a variety of skills requested by Arizona.

Additional Wisconsin National Guard members are expected to head to Arizona in the coming weeks and months.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said the Wisconsin National Guard stands ready to take on the mission of supporting Arizona’s National Guard.

Wisconsin Guardsmen have supported southwest border security missions in the past. The release states in 2006, then-President George W. Bush called National Guard troops to the southwest border for a two-year mission known as Operation Jump Start. The Wisconsin National Guard provided equipment and approximately 1,000 soldiers and airmen in support of Jump Start over a two-year period.

The duration of their missions varied from two weeks to two years.

In 1916, the entirety of Wisconsin National Guard -- some 5,000 troops -- deployed to Texas during the Mexican Border Crisis, the release states.