1,700 US troops at Mexico border sent home because much of their mission ‘complete,’ officials say

Hundreds of troops will be home for Christmas following border duty, Pentagon says

The U.S. Northern Command announced Thursday that some of the troops stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border will be sent home due to “the completion of border hardening missions.”

A number of engineering, logistics and headquarters elements will head back to their bases to ready for other assignments, NORTHCOM Spokesperson Capt. Pamela Kunze said in a news release. Roughly 750 service members from Texas and Arizona were already redeployed Wednesday as a result of the operation’s conclusion, Kunze said.

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President Trump first ordered the active-duty troops to the border in response to a caravan of Central American migrants making their way toward the U.S.

The Department of Defense has assisted the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection’s “border security mission” since late October, Kunze said.

“At the height of the mission, nearly 5,900 service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy were deployed. Currently, we have approximately 4,200 personnel supporting CBP along the southwest border with approximately 1,700 in the Texas corridor, 1,000 in the Arizona corridor, and 1,500 in the California corridor,” the news release said.

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“DoD will continue to mature composition of our force to meet CBP requirements,” it continued. “There are also more than 2,100 National Guard service members currently supporting CBP under Operation Guardian Support.”

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered the troops positioned at the southern border to remain at their posts through Christmas. His previous orders had been set to expire on Dec. 15.

The extension was authorized until Jan. 31, 2019, Army Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said at the time.

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Paulina Dedaj and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.


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