Illinois guard unit headed to Texas for border work

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois National Guard says a group of its aviators and aircraft mechanics will soon head to the U.S. border with Mexico.

The National Guard said Monday that more than 20 soldiers from Company B of the 376th Aviation Regiment’s 1st Battalion in Decatur are expected to spend six months along the border in Texas.

They will work with federal agents as part of what’s called Operation Phalanx II, which is aimed at drug smuggling and human trafficking along a 200-mile stretch of the border.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Tad Simpson said the group will take one of its own helicopters but will also partner with guard units from other states.