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Troops Continue Deployment At Border Over Holidays

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., meets service members assigned to Special Purpo...

Credit: Department of Defense

Above: Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., meets service members assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7 during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, Dec. 24, 2018.

Active duty troops along the U.S.-Mexico border received a few high profile visitors around the Christmas holiday, including a visit by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., to troops Monday in San Diego.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan was in California and Arizona on Christmas visiting the troops under his command, including Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, which covers California.

The military has offered little direct access to the troops for weeks. Instead, they have released photos and interviews like one with Sgt. David Ricketts, an engineer stationed at Camp Pendleton.

“The Marines are the best one for the job, because everything we do we want to do it to the best of our abilities, because we know there is a reason behind it,” said Ricketts, with 7th Engineer Support Battalion.

Many of the engineers have been sent back to Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, after laying miles of concertina wire. In many cases, they were replaced by military police who continue to train in riot gear near the border.

RELATED: US Starts To Withdraw Troops From Trump Border Mission

About 2,600 active troops remained deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico over the holidays. With 1,200 troops stationed in California, the state has the most troops among the three border states.

The overall number of troops has been dropping from a high of 5,900 just after the midterm elections in November. The operation is slated to wrap up at the end of January.

The number of troops deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border has been shrinking since the high point after the midterm elections in November.


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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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