South Dakota guard helicopter heads for border security mission

PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - South Dakota’s National Guard will deploy a helicopter and crew to support southern border security, according to a statement Gov. Kristi Noem made in her first state of the state address.

“Yesterday I approved a four-soldier aviation crew, with a UH-72 helicopter, to deploy this week to Arizona in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection security operations along the Southwest border," Noem said.

Detachment 1, Company B, 1112th Aviation Regiment, flies the UH-72 helicopter, nicknamed Lakota, out of the Rapid City Regional Airport.

According to a release from the South Dakota Army National Guard, the soldiers will work with the Arizona National Guard, in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, to bring additional air reconnaissance capability and capacity to enhance CBP's border security operations. The four-person crew of pilots and an analyst is expected to support the mission for up to 90 days.
This is not the unit’s first deployment in support of border operations.

Several states are also providing similar resources the guard in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

This is the fourth time the SDNG has sent aircraft and crews for Southwest border support, previously deploying in 2007, 2013 and 2015.

The SDNG also assisted in Southwest border operations with Operation Jump Start in 2006 and 2007, where it provided engineer and project management support in the construction of barriers and access roads along the U.S.-Mexico border. In all, about 570 soldiers and airmen from more than a dozen units participated in various missions.