Active duty troops train on US Mexican border - Tucson News Now

Active duty troops train on US Mexican border

The Border Patrol needs roads to patrol the US/Mexican border.

The Department of Defense needs training for it's active duty troops.

So both get what they need under an agreement forged by Joint Task Force - North.

40 combat engineers, led by 2nd Lt. Michelle Zak, are on the border for nearly eight weeks building a new road through some rough terrain in the hills just West of Nogales.

"It's been a challenge," Zak says.

The engineers are getting hands on training on heavy equipment, learning more about proper drainage and how to build roads for tanks and convoys quickly.

That's part of the challenge.

The platoon also jumps out of airplanes and part of the training is jumping into the rough, hilly terrain around Fort Huachuca in nearby Sierra Vista.

When they hit the ground, the job begins and where they drop, is yet to be determined.

"We're a rapidly deployable unit," Zak says.

That deployment could likely be Afghanistan because the hills of Southern Arizona mirror those halfway around the world.

"That's my favorite part, you don't know," she says.

The mission is forged by the Joint Task Force - North which has put together many of these in the past 23 years.

It's task is to bring together government agencies which need work done and volunteers who need some training willing to do it.

That's been the case with combat engineers on a regular basis.

They've built more than 600 miles of border road since 1989 which is badly needed by Customs and Border enforcement agencies.

And provided training to hundreds of combat engineers like Zak.

"Building roads is the job of a military engineer," she says.


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