Locking down the border

Kiowas beef up border security

The first of three-dozen upgraded and overhauled OH-58 Kiowa helicopters are scheduled to arrive on the U.S. border with Mexico this month to boost the National Guard’s support to the U.S. Border Patrol in Operation Jump Start, the Army announced in a press release.

The reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters, most of which are from the Vietnam War era, are being refitted at the Mississippi Army National Guard’s 1108th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot at the Trent Lott National Guard Training Complex near the Gulf of Mexico.

Wow. Three dozen* helicopters. They’re really serious about this border security thing.

Next thing you know, they’ll consider issuing weapons to the troops on the border.

For what it’s worth I still think we should use the US-Mexico border as a training ground for US forces heading to Iraq or Afghanistan (or Somalia or wherever) that will be tasked with patrolling those borders. I know we’ve done a little bit along these lines in the past, but I’m talking about a huge increase.

Win-win. The military gets well-trained border security forces, the US Border Patrol gets a much-needed boost in capability, the National Guard doesn’t have to keep rotating so many troops down there, and we cut down on the number of illegals getting in to the country.


  1. I agree the US-Mexico border should be used as a training ground. I believe we should reactivate the series of forts along the border to station soldiers. Up until WW2, the Army had several forts along the border. This was a legacy of all the forts we had during the the wild west days. These forts would be small and would be akin to national guard ‘camps’. NG camps usually exist on some portion of a main Army Fort. They generally have a few buildings to temporarily house troops, but serve as a remote base to come back to when you are in the field training. They are usually closer to the training site than the main base. But the main point is the NG camps do not need to be lived in. Most of the time the buildings remain empty and are usually used for a few weekend drills and the 2 week summer camp. Unlike current forts like Bragg, you would not need to station an entire division. You could have battalion sized elements rotate for a TDY period at the border forts. Each one would have an area that its companies could use to run various training missions, such as recon, observation, etc. I would envision a company sized element going out on a 2 week patrol. Then they could return to the fort and have a week of down time to clean equipment, do laundry etc. With 5 companies, the battalion could have several hundred men on patrols at any given time. They could help the border patrol by spotting and calling in the position of border crossers. They could also help find and repair downed fences. Besides being a presence to deter would be border crossers, I feel this would aid the soldiers in a couple of ways. First, the one thing you can’t get enough of in the Army is land navigation. Yes, I know there is GPS today, but you still need to know orienteering. The only way to do this is to practice and preferably do it on different terrain. The border presents a great opportunity for this. Second, living in the field helps to harden troops who can become soft living in garrison. ‘Humping’ packs and sleeping under the stars is a good thing. Third, you could allow junior soldiers to lead patrols to gain experience. This would also give them more time using the radios and practicing how to properly use call signs and report to higher command levels. The benefits list could go on. I am just winging this. I just imagine something like the 2nd ID in Korea. One division spread out over many camps patrolling a border.

  2. Um,…Murdoc?….I think you should look a little closer. I believe it says three DOZEN Kiowas.

  3. Skeptic: Oops. Mistyped. Meant to write: Wow. Three dozen helicopters. They’re really serious about this border security thing. Not only are they flooding the skies, they’re rushing to do it, too. First one is arriving soon.

  4. I agree with everything you said, in principle. But IMO, I suggest one slight improvement: The Texas/OKLAHOMA border should be the training ground. The Texas/MEXICO border should be the REAL DEAL–.