Texas Guardsman Goes Missing on Border Mission

A Texas Guardsman and a Customs and a Border Patrol agent.
A Texas Guardsman and a Customs and Border Patrol agent discuss the lay of the land April 10, 2018 on the shores of the Rio Grande River in Starr County, Texas. (Texas Military Department photo by Sgt. Mark Otte)

A Texas National Guard soldier went missing Friday while serving on the state's controversial Operation Lone Star at the Rio Grande River, near Eagle Pass.

A Texas Guard spokesperson told Military.com that the Guard lost contact with the soldier while they were working along the river during a border security mission. The spokesperson said earlier reports from other news outlets, which included descriptions of a fatality, were "inaccurate."

"The Texas Military Department, Texas [Department of Public Safety] and Border Patrol are working rapidly to find the soldier," a statement from the Texas Division of Emergency Management said.

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Migrants often cross the Rio Grande River in attempts to enter the United States from Mexico, a sometimes deadly endeavor. In March, the National Guard recognized two North Dakota soldiers for rescuing migrants from drowning.

Operation Lone Star has been going on for more than a year and has been plagued with numerous reports of soldiers taking their own lives and financial issues stemming from the state struggling to pay troops on time.

The problems culminated in the state's top officer, Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, being fired by Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor then appointed Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer as the adjutant general of Texas.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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