Robert Bentley sends National Guard to help protect U.S. border

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Gov. Robert Bentley has approved sending a second Alabama National Guard (ALNG) UH-72 helicopter and pilot to Marana, Arizona to assist with protecting the U.S. border with Mexico.

In April, the state sent the first chopper and three pilots to support the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency’s Southwest Border Mission per the National Guard Bureau’s request.

While deployed, the ALNG personnel and aircraft will be supporting civilian law enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol agencies in securing the border.

“I continue to support strengthening our borders and this will give the Alabama National Guard an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the fight to protect our country,” Bentley said. “I am honored to once again support the Southwest Border Mission by sending Alabama’s finest to protect the great people of the United States of America.”

Major General Perry Smith, adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, deployed the requested support immediately. The four pilots will be needed in Arizona through September.

“The Alabama National Guard is serving as a force multiplier to civilian law enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol agencies in securing the Southwest border. We are proud to contribute to the security of our nation by supporting this mission with aircraft and personnel,” Smith said.

The ALNG currently has three UH-72 aircraft in Alabama. The state will be supported by the remaining two crews and aircraft. The Southwest Border Team will perform all maintenance of the aircraft at no cost to the state while deployed.

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