Action 4 Exclusive - Army helicopters based in Harlingen
Tue, 28 Feb 2012 05:02:43 GMT —
On Monday afternoon, Action 4 News cameras spotted U.S. Army National Guard personnel working around the first four helicopters to deploy to the valley.
According to the Texas Governor's office, they are in the area to help with homeland security along the border region.
"We understand there will probably be seven helicopters when they are fully operational," says Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell.
Boswell says they TMll be around for at least a year renting out hangar and office space at Gulf Aviation.
"They'll be bringing in about 100 people is what we've been told," Boswell said. "They will be staying in apartments or hotels which is a good thing for the economy."
Action 4 News cameras caught vans of personnel in army fatigues driving into the Gulf Aviation hangar which is located right behind Valley International Airport in Harlingen and about 30 miles from Mexico.
"Valley International Airport is centrally located to the valley. It has a lot of capacity, a lot of space out at the airport in the fixed space operator side of the airport," says Boswell.
Action 4 did attempt to get information from the Army National Guard about their operational plans for the border, but we were only told that a representative would be contacting us at a later date.
However, sources close to the project do tell Action 4 News that troops are coming in from out of state to assist in securing the border and that this operation will stretch from the valley all the way to Laredo.
Mayor Boswell assures the residents of his city that the U.S. Army National Guard's presence here does not mean there's trouble, but the quite the opposite.
There will be extra eyes in the sky for the nearby border.
"We hope that perhaps it will be an expanded presence and we look forward to working with them," says Boswell.
The details of their mission have not been disclosed, but President Obama reduced National Guard troops on the border from 1,200 to fewer than 300 at the start of this year and said that the remaining troops would shift focus from patrolling on the ground to aerial surveillance missions using military helicopters and airplanes.