Last Virginia Guard air crew returns from Southwest Border mission

A Virginia Guard air crew takes off Oct. 2, 2012, on a border reconnaissance mission in Texas. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. – After supporting the Texas National Guard by providing aerial reconnaissance support to deter illegal immigration along the Southwest Border, the final Virginia National Guard air crew, comprised of both pilots and maintainers, returned to Virginia Dec. 6, 2012. Seventeen Soldiers from the Sandston-based Detachment 1, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment served 30-60 day rotations along the Texas border in support of Customs and Border Patrol agents, beginning Aug. 27 when the first crew headed for Texas aboard one of the Virginia Guard’s UH-72 Lakota helicopters.

The Lakota helicopter is outfitted with a new Mission Equipment Package that has capabilities to uniquely support law enforcement, search and rescue and provide secure communications.

The MEP being a new acquisition for the Virginia Guard, utilizing the system repeatedly during their time along the border enabled Soldiers to increase their proficiency and ability to utilize the system to its full potential.

During their time in Texas, the Virginia Guard Soldiers worked under the Texas National Guard and alongside air crews and aircraft from states including South Carolina, Florida, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Each rotation of Soldiers included pilots, crew chiefs, and maintainers to keep the aircraft flying and Virginia Guard Soldiers filled additional manpower gaps, even helping to fly other state’s aircraft as needed.

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Additional information:

Virginia Guard aviators depart to support Southwest border mission
http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/2012/08/31/2033/