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SD Guard Could Help Patrol Borders

May 15, 2006, 11:57 PM by Andy Harvey

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Guard members in South Dakota say they're always prepared when called upon. When Hurricane Katrina hit the south, guard members from KELOLAND were among those who helped. Officials say patrolling areas like the U.S. and Mexico border would be no different than other duties.

The four thousand members of the South Dakota National Guard are always prepared to help.

Maj. Orson Ward said, "We are a first responder and we are first responders for any sort of emergency or natural call up or national call up."

200 are currently deployed on various assignments around the world. And now, they could be patrolling the U.S./Mexico border. But before this happens, guard members say military officials would first check to see if they have the skills needed.

Ward said, "We're mainly composed of transportation units, engineer units, artillery units. We also have military police units. We have aviation units both in medivac and observation."

Major Ward says helping patrol the border would not be any different than other assignments.

Ward said, "A good example if you look back at what happened at 9-11 the guard got called out and they were immediately dispatched to a lot of airports."

And if South Dakota's guard members are asked to patrol the border, Ward says they would be ready to help right away.

Ward said, "All our guard members they just want to serve in whatever capacity that is they want to serve."

For now, guard members say they're concentrating on getting ready for wildfires and tornado season. It could take months before they find out if they are needed in the Southwest.

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