Virginia National Guard units being dispatched to border
Deployment a result of an executive order by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in May.
Three of Virginia’s National Guard units will lead Joint Task Force Cardinal as part of Operation Lone Star to help secure the southern border in Texas.
Troops will be deployed from the Guard’s Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment and the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, with assistance from Army and Air National Guard units from Lynchburg, Winchester, Fredericksburg, Danville, Staunton and Hampton.
The task force was assembled as a result of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s May Executive Directive Number Four, which stipulates that approximately 100 members of the state’s National Guard and 21 supporting personnel will be sent to Texas to aid border mission Operation Lone Star.
Virginia was one of 13 states to respond to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s letter to governors calling for help at the border upon the expiration of Title 42.
It was anticipated that troops might deploy July 1, but as of Thursday, the soldiers and airmen were “completing their final preparations and will deploy to Texas within the next few days,” Guard spokesman A.A. “Cotton” Puryear told The Center Square.
Puryear noted that the Guard will not release the exact date of departure ahead of time for operational security reasons.
Cardinal’s leaders have also determined that only 10 personnel are needed for the task force leadership and support element instead of 21.
Virginia’s offer of 100 plus troopers and personnel for 30 days was one of the more generous among the Republican-led states that responded. It is estimated the operation will cost the commonwealth $3.1 million.
Democrats accused Youngkin of making a career move with taxpayers’ money.
“Youngkin is spending our family’s taxpayer dollars to fund a political stunt 2,000 miles away from the Commonwealth,” said Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. “To the governor, I’ll say this: Don’t use my tax dollars to fund your presidential campaign.”
The figure will increase if the troops stay longer than the anticipated 30 days. Youngkin’s directive is in effect until September.
Youngkin stood firmly with Abbott in his directive, citing the dangers to Virginians if the flood of illegal immigrants is left unstemmed.
“The influx of fentanyl alone presents a severe threat to the Commonwealth,” Youngkin wrote. “Porous borders further allow national security threats, violent criminals, and human traffickers to cross into the United States with impunity. All states have become border states.”