Mississippi National Guard deploys as part of Operation: Guardian Support

TUPELO, Miss. — For C Company of the 1-114th Aviation, the city of Tupelo is a common site from their Lakota helicopters. But for the next three weeks, 25 of C Company will trade that site for another – the U.S. Mexican border.

“We are excited, ready to get started on this mission, and grateful for the opportunity,” said Commanding Officer Major Len Fortenberry.

The mission of Operation: Guardian Support is assisting U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

In C Company’s case, it’s in the air.

“We’re going to be flying overhead and will be helping them identify suspects or anybody they suspect coming across the border.”

Where these soldiers will go has been classified, and per request we’ve not shown the faces of those making the trip Southwest. This will C Company’s fourth time in 10 years to send soldiers to the border.

When the call was made, some of Major Fortenberry’s men let him know they wanted the mission.

“Whenever the option came up, we went to him wanting to go,” said First Sergeant Richard Allen. “We were excited from the time we heard that President Trump was going to put somebody on the border and we were ready to go at that time.”

“I was very proud of my guys, of course,” said Major Fortenberry

Training is a large part of a company’s readiness to deploy.

This call to service was received only two weeks ago, and while that can be considered short-notice, it didn’t affect C Company.

“Not every unit can stand up in a two week period to go. Our paperwork was ready. Our mechanics are well-trained and ready; the crew chiefs and pilots are ready. The aircraft are ready to roll, and we’re able to do it,” said First Sgt. Allen.

While their location is classified, we know wherever they are they’ll be doing Mississippi proud.