Upstate SC Army National Guard troops in Texas for border mission

(Courtesy: Steve Salinas)/June 13, 2018

South Carolina Army National Guard soldiers are in Texas, working to help find people crossing the border illegally.

It's part of President Trump's "Operation Guardian Support," and South Carolina has National Guard troops there to support Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security.

We caught up with one of the pilots who's part of the mission. Steve Salinas left in late May from Greenville to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

He flies a Lakota helicopter and works with an on-board Border Patrol agent to spot those crossing the border.

“We have an agent on board that relays the information to the guys on the ground and that's how we communicate," Salinas explained. "We share our position...the agent will talk them out to wherever they think they are.”

Salinas says it’s been a busy mission.

“It's nonstop. Every night we catch people, narcotics, whatever it is, but it happens every night," said Salinas. "During the day too."

Salinas said there haven't been any issues with safety so far, but troops remain on alert wherever they are.

“Just remember where you're at and what we're doing," Salinas said. "We talk amongst ourselves and if we see anything out of ordinary or see any vehicle near the hotel or the hangar, we'll tell the Border Patrol and they’ll look into it.”

Salinas said 9 South Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers are there along with soldiers from North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

The troops will remain stationed there until at least July.

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