Mission Accomplished: Troops At US-Mexico Border Should Be Home By Christmas

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It seems like only yesterday that 5,800 active-duty service members were racing to the Southwest border to stop a migrant caravan from entering the United States, but it was actually about three weeks ago, right before the midterm elections.


Now, their mission presumably on the verge of being accomplished, the troops are finally coming home — and just in time for Christmas.

That's according to Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the commander of U.S. Army North, who is helming the operation from San Antonio, Texas. "Our end date right now is 15 December, and I've got no indications from anybody that we'll go beyond that," Buchanan told Politico on Nov. 19.

San Antonio is a fitting locale for mission headquarters. In 1836, the city saw Mexican forces under the command of President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna lay waste to a ragtag outfit of Texians in the infamous Battle of the Alamo.

Fortunately, this time it didn't come to that. Instead, the invading force — approximately 7,000 refugees advancing by foot from the depths of Central America — opted for one of the oldest plays in the book: the switcharoo.

No sooner had the bulk of Buchanan's army arrived in Texas to bolster the Border Patrol agents and National Guard units holding the line along the Rio Grande Valley than the caravan changed course, swerving toward the California border.

Thousands of asylum-seekers have already started to arrive in Tijuana, prompting hundreds of locals to spill into the streets with chants of "Mexico first!" One 62-year-old protester told National Public Radio, "We want the caravan to go; they are invading us." 

Tijuana borders San Diego, where many of the refugees hope to go. However, of the 5,800 active duty soldiers and Marines currently deployed to the border, only 1,300 are in California. And based on Buchanan's comments, it seems they, too, may be preparing to decamp soon.

According to Politico, the general explained that "the troop deployment should start falling rapidly as engineer and logistics troops ... wind down their mission of building base camps and fortifying ports of entry for the Border Patrol."

Buchanan also clarified why the Pentagon had declined a request from the Department of Homeland Security to back up its personnel if shit went down at the border.

"That is a law enforcement task, and the secretary of defense does not have the authority to approve that inside the homeland," he said.

U.S. Army North and the Office of the Secretary of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The F-35 Joint Strike Program may be the most expensive weapons program in modern military history, but it looks as though the new border wall is giving the beleaguered aircraft a run for its money.

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NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — Three members of the defense team for Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher were revealed on Wednesday to have close ties to the Trump administration amid reports the president is considering the veteran Navy SEAL for a pardon on Memorial Day.

President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Marc Mukasey, 51, and longtime Trump associate Bernard Kerik, 63, a former New York City police commissioner, have joined Gallagher's defense team in recent months, both men told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in response to a question from a reporter after a motions hearing, lead defense attorney Tim Parlatore confirmed that he had previously represented Pete Hegseth, the conservative Fox News personality who has been privately lobbying Trump since January to pardon Gallagher, according to The Daily Beast.

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(DoD photo by Claudett Roulo.)

Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, who resigned in disgrace as governor of Missouri last year, is putting his uniform back on — just not as a Navy SEAL.

Greitens, who stepped down in May 2018 amid criminal charges related to an alleged extramarital affair, has become a reserve naval officer with Navy Operational Support Center — St. Louis, a spokeswoman for Navy Recruiting Command confirmed to Task & Purpose. The Kansas City Star first reported the news.

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(U.S. Army/Mike Strasser)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on ProPublica.

In patriotism-drenched promotions, press releases and tweets, TurboTax promotes special deals for military service members, promising to help them file their taxes online for free or at a discount.

Yet some service members who've filed by going to the TurboTax Military landing page told ProPublica they were charged as much as $150 — even though, under a deal with the government, service members making under $66,000 are supposed to be able to file on TurboTax for free.

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(Associated Press photo)

(Reuters) - John Walker Lindh, the American captured in Afghanistan in 2001 fighting for the Taliban, was released early from federal prison on Thursday, the Washington Post reported, citing Lindh's lawyer.

Lindh, who was 20 years old when he was captured, left prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence, the newspaper said.

Now 38, Lindh is among dozens of prisoners to be released over the next few years after being captured in Iraq and Afghanistan and convicted of terrorism-related crimes following the attacks on the United States by al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001.

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