CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice welcomed home soldiers and airmen of the West Virginia National Guard who volunteered to deploy to Texas in support of Operation Lone Star at Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston.
More than 50 members of the WVNG deployed to assist the Texas Military Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and additional law enforcement partners to detect, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity including human smuggling/trafficking and the flow of illegal narcotics and drugs into the U.S. between official points of entry.
During the deployment, WVNG personnel encountered a total of 10,178 immigrants trying to cross into the United States outside official points of entry and assisted local and state authorities with their apprehension and transfer into custody.
“They trained you to be the best, and you showed off,” Gov. Justice said. “You make us really proud, and I mean that with all my soul. It’s a real honor for me to be here, welcoming you back to West Virginia. You did an amazing job. You stepped up to defend our borders because you have unbelievable courage. If we don’t defend our borders, we don’t have a country, and knowing that you were putting your life on the line, you still volunteered to go. It’s because you have courage and a love for our country. Congratulations on a job well done. I cannot possibly be more proud, and it’s a real honor to celebrate your return home.”
“Our entire One Guard family is extremely proud of the investment our members made in helping to deter illegal activity and to protect our Southern border,” Adjutant General Bill Crane said. “When we asked for volunteers, these men and women answered the call and while deployed have conducted themselves with the utmost integrity and honor. We are also so very thankful to the families of our soldiers and airmen who continue to support all we do to serve our state and the nation. Welcome home and job well done!”
West Virginia guardsmen who volunteered for the Operation Lone Star assignment were placed into state active duty status and deployed to Texas in early August in response to an official Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May of 2023. According to data released by Abbott’s office, as of July 2023, Operation Lone Star had resulted in more than 394,000 apprehensions, 31,300 criminal arrests, and 422 million doses of fentanyl seized. To date, a total of 14 states have provided support for the operation.