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Border & Immigration

Texas National Guard Denies Soldiers Going Hungry At The Border

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  The Texas National Guard is refuting news reports that its troops sent to the border to assist in Operation Strong Safety have been going to the food banks because they can’t afford to eat.

Responding to claims by the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank that 50 members of the National Guard had requested food assistance, the National Guard office in Austin says it has internal provisions for Guard members that have financial hardship.

Lt. Col. Travis Walters said while it is true that Guard members must wait until the end of the pay period to receive their paychecks, the Guard furnishes its members with lodging, meals, transportation and equipment they need in the field.

"Our Family Assistance Coordinator will go out and look for all variety of options... to help any soldier that may have a need. So in this instance, as ... potential needs were identified, she reached out to various organizations - food banks and others - to see what potential assistance may be given if required," Walters said. 

The reports about soldiers showing up at the food bank originally came from a television station in the Valley, and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis responded, calling the situation disgraceful and promising to take food to the border.

Walters says two Guard members were identified as needing assistance, and their needs were met through the Family Assistance Coordinator.

"The reports that I'm getting are that we did not have any soldier that arrived at the food bank to get food off the local economy. We have internal resources and internal provisions to make sure that they're taken care of," Walter said. 

Walters says more than twice the number of Guard members needed volunteered for the duty at the border, and all were aware that the pay was aligned with the state pay schedule.