Gov. Rick Perry today thanked the men and women of the Texas National Guard for their sacrifices in protecting our citizens by keeping order both abroad and in the state. The governor spoke at the National Guard Association of Texas (NGAT) Annual Conference, where he underscored the importance of the National Guard to the state's border security efforts, and reiterated his ongoing requests for additional federal resources to secure the Texas-Mexico Border.
In the absence of adequate federal resources to secure the state's southern border, the governor has repeatedly urged the federal government, through letters to President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to approve his request for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas. Additionally, the governor has a request for predator drones to be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border to provide essential information to law enforcement on the ground.
"America needs additional personnel, technology and intelligence along the entire Texas-Mexico border," Gov. Perry said. "We must protect our border communities, and the legal commerce and travel that is the life's blood of local economies there."
The governor highlighted the Guard's diverse role in protecting citizens, from filling sandbags on the Texas coast in advance of a hurricane to mounting patrols in a combat zone overseas or doing the countless drills and exercises that are required to maintain readiness.
"It is hard to really sum up all that our Guard forces do for Texas, because they simply do so much," Gov. Perry said. "Our troops' pride in Texas is matched by our pride in them, and while we can never truly repay the sacrifice our service members make, we are fiercely committed to honoring and supporting troops and their families and sustaining the special relationship that has long existed between Texas and the military."
Gov. Perry also emphasized the sacrifices made by Guard members and their families, recognizing those directly affected by the October 2009 IED attack in Afghanistan. In attendance were Maj. John Ploch and Sgt. Todd Plybon and the wives of their two fallen comrades, Lindsay Green, the wife of Sgt. Gabe Green and Monteigne Staats, wife of Staff Sgt. Chris Staats.
NGAT is a non-profit veterans organization of more than 35,000 current, former and retired members of the Texas Military Forces. The association works to promote and support adequate national security, foster and improve the Texas National Guard and U.S. National Guard as a component of the U.S. Armed Forces, preserve and perpetuate the history and traditions of the Texas National Guard, and to support educational activities, such as scholarships for members and their children.
For more information about NGAT, please visit http://www.ngat.org/