Ahead of the South Dakota National Guard’s 1742nd Transportation Company’s deployment from Flandreau and Sioux Falls to the southern border this week, soldiers have already received one of their first orders; avoid talking with the media and being on social media.
“Cartels are targeting the social media accounts and the families of the soldiers that are down there already,” Staff Sergeant Bart Sample said. “They are monitoring our news media and trying to figure out the soldiers that are down there so then they can target their families and use that against them.”
Sample says as the Guard resence ramps up, the cartels are using the new tactic to pressure the soldiers from supporting border patrol. He adds however, that he’s not concerned about the unit’s safety. “They are well-trained and we are confident they’ll do their jobs well.”
As for the send-off celebrations Sunday evening at Mad Mary’s, Sample spoke on behalf of all of the troops attending, “It’s awesome to see this, this community supports this unit amazingly. We’re one of the last small towns that still has an armory, so…Guard units in communities like this may be a thing of the past but it’s still awesome that Flandreau’s kept it alive. And we’ve kept it because of support like this.”
Deploying this week are 125 soldiers. They will be joining about 3,000 other Guard members from several other states in providing non-law-enforcement support to customs agents and security in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.