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Kansas National Guard sends troops to Mexico border

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Here are today's headlines about Kansas military matters:Kansas National Guard[(KAKE) Kansas guardsmen head to border:][1] The Kansas National Guard sent 40 soldiers this week to participate in a mission to counter illegal immigration by helping to secure the United States Mexico border. Members of the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery were deployed in response to a request from the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. "We're proud to answer the call to help secure our nation's borders and I know our soldiers will do a tremendous job there," said Governor Kathleen Sebelius. "Helping defend our homeland is one of the most important missions our National Guard members have. This is a critical aspect of keeping our nation secure," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the adjutant general. Under Operation Jump Start, National Guard troops from around the country are being used as temporary support for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These Kansas soldiers will deploy to Arizona for up to 30 days to man several Entry Identification Teams. The Entry Identification teams mission will be to monitor the border and report activities to border agents and local law enforcement. [(KTKA) Local military official says Iraq strategy risky for Kansas:][2] Thousands of Kansas troops will deploy as a part of the president's new Iraq strategy, including soldiers from the National Guard. But, it will put a strain on resources used to respond to emergencies in Kansas. "The more equipment that's deployed and the more people that are deployed over there, the less responsive we can become when there are major events," said Col. Eric Peck, Kansas National Guard chief of staff for joint forces. Kansas National Guard soldiers are charged with keeping Kansans safe when there are emergencies. For example, they rushed to assist with recovery last month when a snowstorm dumped nearly three feet of snow on Western Kansas. There could've been problems if there were additional storms in other parts of the state, since a lot of the guard's equipment is already in Iraq, Peck said. Every time the guard's ordered to send additional resources overseas, it's a greater risk for Kansans. Peck said they're constantly purchasing new equipment at the National Guard, but it's a slow process. Fort Riley[(Associated Press and Army Times) Fort Riley brigade to leave for Iraq 3 days early:][3] Before going on three weeks' leave, a brigade of soldiers packed their gear and sent it on its way to Iraq, expecting to catch up to it some time in February. Now, it appears the 4th Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division will be meeting up with containers of equipment and supplies sooner than expected. President Bush's decision to increase the number of ground forces in Iraq means the 3,400 soldiers of the "Dagger Brigade" of the Big Red One will leave Fort Riley three days ahead of schedule. Lt. Col. Jay Pitz, brigade executive officer, said the change in plans had minimal effect on the soldiers. [1]: www.kake.com/news/headlines/5158872.html [2]: www.49abcnews.com/news/2007/jan/11/local_military_official_says_iraq_strategy_risky_k/ [3]: www.armytimes.com/news/2007/01/ap.rileyearly070112/

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