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How state deployment of the National Guard to the border will work

5 months 1 week 4 days ago Wednesday, February 07 2024 Feb 7, 2024 February 07, 2024 8:17 PM February 07, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana National Guard may be ready to serve, no questions asked, but for the public, there's not a lot of clarity on how the deployment will work.

"The normal way we send [the] National Guard to other states and the normal missions are responding to natural disaster; this is different," said retired US Army Lt. General Russel Honore. "This is a new phenomenon of offering up National Guard in state active duty to deploy to another state to go work the border."

While Louisiana troops have been deployed to the border before, it was federally and not by the governor.

Honore says that presents some key differences, including how troops will be paid.

"The way the federal government covers that is they provide the housing allowance that covers most rents in Louisiana and they also provide what we call 'separation pay'," Honore said. "Under state orders, that does not happen."

But first, the deployment has to be funded by the state legislature.

"Funding will help dictate how many troops, what the duration of the mobilization will be—all of that goes into the specific piece of how and exactly when we get those troops over to Texas," said Lt. Col. Noel Collins.

Governor Jeff Landry announced in a press conference Wednesday the answers to those questions. A total of 150 soldiers will be deployed to the border and will be there for 90 days, working in three rotations of 50. 

"There's always a number of our guardsmen looking for adventure, or those who may be in between jobs or unemployed, but a lot of them, you got to remember, are in school with small families and already got good jobs," he said.

In terms of what they can expect when they get there, Honore says it will depend on the mission.

"Every mission is dangerous when you're working 24 hours a day in shifts, or shifts that go through the night along the Texas border that is lined by a river, razor wire, and troops with loaded guns," Honore said.

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