‘Nothing can shake you’: Mattis fortifies troops on the border, clarifies their role

by WorldTribune Staff, November 15, 2018

Speaking to troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Nov. 14 said that “in the Army, we don’t care if you’re male or female, we don’t care where you go to church or if you go to church.

“We just care when there’s trouble out there, will you keep the faith, will you ride for the brand, and when trouble looms, do you go toward the trouble to help your buddies.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks to troops at the Donna, Texas Military Base on Nov. 14. /photo by Jacob Caldwell / U.S. Army

The Department of Defense estimated there will be more than 7,000 troops at various positions in Arizona, California and Texas as the migrant caravan approaches the border.

“Loyalty only matters when there’s a hundred reasons not to be loyal,” Mattis told the troops. “When it’s raining and you’re cold. It’s when you’re in a position where people are showing a lack of respect for each other elsewhere.”

“Nothing can shake you,” Mattis added.

The Defense Department said the troops will assist with erecting barriers and helping the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with other logistical tasks.

Mattis said he does not expect the troops to come in direct contact with any of the migrants.

“Department of Defense missions do not involve military personnel at this time directly participating in any law enforcement,” Mattis said. “Law enforcement is left in the hands of customs and border police [which] will have the statutory authority to carry that out.”

The Pentagon originally named the mission “Operation Faithful Patriot,” but has since dropped the name as Mattis said he didn’t want to “put this mission in some arcane military terms.”

“I want to talk to the American people, because this is a highly politically visible issue,” Mattis told reporters. “I want you [the media] to tell them what we’re doing. I want you to tell them we are operating in support of customs or of border police. Do not say we’re supporting a federal agency.”

Mattis also asked reporters to stop using military terms when writing on the border deployment.

“This country may not be perfect, but you’re going to have to go a long way to find a country more willing to look itself in the eye and say we’ve got to improve here,” Mattis said to the troops.

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