Gov. Joe Manchin visited last weekend with West Virginia National Guard troops in southern New Mexico assisting in U.S.-Mexico border security as part of Operation Jump Start.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Gov. Joe Manchin made a two-day visit with West Virginia National Guard troops who are in southern New Mexico assisting in U.S.-Mexico border security efforts as part of Operation Jump Start.

Manchin departed Charleston's Yeager Airport on Dec. 17 for the two-day trip, accompanied by Adjutant General Allen Tackett and Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jim Spears. Arriving in Las Cruces, N.M. that afternoon, the group received a briefing from Operation Jump Start Task Force Operations staff before traveling to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station, just west of El Paso, Texas.

Manchin returned to Las Cruces that evening to attend a Christmas dinner with members of the Operation Jump Start's Task Force Mountaineer, which includes National Guard members from West Virginia, New Mexico and Georgia.

Approximately 111 members of the West Virginia National Guard are supporting Operation Jump Start, with 92 airmen and soldiers working in support of Task Force Mountaineer's efforts in the El Paso, Texas Border Patrol sector area that spans 52 miles from Santa Teresa to Columbus, N.M.

On Monday, Manchin visited with troops working along the U.S.-Mexico border and conduct both air and ground tours of the military operations along the southern New Mexico border area. He also spoke with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and returned to West Virginia that evening.

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