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Soldiers' take: Fortifying border, awaiting migrant caravan

Posted: 2:21 PM, Nov 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-16 17:38:52Z

NOGALES, Arizona — Military officials were on the U.S./Mexico border today to talk about adding security in preparation for the migrant caravan.

Talking with army soldiers from the DeConcini and Mariposa port of entries, they say, they're taking Customs and Border Protection's lead. They say the Department of Defense has military units out here until December 15th. But that date is mission dependent.

"Engineering is engineering. Regardless of where we are in the world, whether we're training back at Ft. Hood, Texas, or whether we're in Tucson, Arizona, or Iraq or Afghanistan, we provide capability to whoever we're supporting. And in this case, we're supporting the Customs and Border Protection," said Lt. Col. Chad Caldwell, the 62nd Engineer Battalion commander.

These soldiers are a part of the 5,000 troops near the country's southwest border to prepare for the expected arrival of the migrant caravan. Last week, they started placing razor wire above the border fence, a task that is not yet complete. And yesterday, the army helped close two lanes at the DeConcini port of entry.

"It has been a challenge. It is not a standard mission-set to be trained for back in Ft. Hood, but as Army engineers, our job is to solve difficult problems for whoever we're supporting," said Caldwell.

"Weld the pickets up to the fence, run the c-wire with barbed-wire underneath it, and strap it to it. Our role is to support the CBP and do whatever they ask us to do," said Sgt. Douglas Hughes, the Platoon Sgt. for the 104th Engineer Construction Company.

There is no official word, yet, if they plan on keeping these reinforcements in place after the caravan has arrived, if it does. CBP says there's a good chance the migrant caravan will arrive in about a week.