Six military bases in San Diego County will be used as logistics hubs for supplies and troops to help with securing the Southwest border following President Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he would deploy as many as 15,000 military personnel in response to caravans of Central American migrants making their way northward.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island (Coronado), Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma and Naval Air Station El Centro will participate in the deployment named Operation Faithful Patriot, officials said.
“They have been identified as base support installations — staging areas for troops, for helicopters to land and supplies to be distributed,” said Air Force Capt. Lauren Hill at Northern Command in Colorado.
Military troops will help with planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to the Northern Command statement.
Tasks will include erecting temporary vehicle barriers and fencing, and installing light towers, barbed wire and concertina wire. Temporary housing and meals will be provided, and medical personnel would be deployed as needed for patient care, the statement said.
The new 15,000-troop figure doubles the number Pentagon officials have said would be operating along the entire border with Mexico.
“We’ll go up to anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border,” Trump said before departing Washington for a campaign rally in Florida. “Nobody’s coming in. We’re not allowing people to come in.”
Trump’s comments came a day after the general in charge of the border deployment said 5,239 active-duty troops would be heading to the border with more potentially to follow, in addition to the 2,092 members of the National Guard already there.
It wasn’t clear whether Trump’s 15,000 figure included the National Guard deployment.
If the deployment reaches 15,000 troops, it would be roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan and three times the size of the presence in Iraq. Already, the deployment is believed to be the largest of its kind in more than a century.
The Washington Post contributed to this story.
Repard writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.