From the above link. It almost sounds like we've already lost.
I've returned from the Minuteman patrol of the border.
Looking at that terrain really bothered me. There are discarded water bottles, makeshift tents from garbage bags, and discarded clothing all over the place. It looks like a troupe of absent-minded 3rd graders have been dropping garbage and walking in circles there for about 100 years.
Only, it's not 3rd graders. It's illegal aliens from Mexico and elsewhere.
If any of you have read Stephen King's The Dark Tower, this was Thunderclap. It truly was. Our base camp was an abandoned ranch-hand bunk house that had basic electricity reactivated. We ran our comm systems and computers from here (computers for on-site background checks of new recruits as well as activity logging).
One fellow named Chris told me during the night watch how illegals have once even kidnapped one rancher's daughter to coerce him into aiding them with food and transportation. These people live in a war zone.
The first watch I was on took place at night. I must have heard a hundred illegals in the desert around me, but they were obscured by the scattered mesquite trees, cholla and prickly pear cactus that provided cover for them. Visibility at night was perhaps 50 feet with the naked eye, and 100-200 yards with night optical systems, depending on quality. I had a Gen-I night vision monocular at my disposal which allowed me to spot my first two illegals at about 75 yards distant from me at about 8:00pm.
They were clothed "normally", wearing t-shirts, long sleeved shirts and pants with tennis shoes. No uber-tactical gear, in fact no gear at all. We let them go by...the reason for this was that they were obviously scouts for a larger group we could hear behind them. Border patrol will only respond for hard counts, not sounds, and we needed a hard count of a large group in order to motivate them to come quickly. My impression is that BP responds with less enthusiasm if there are less than 5 in any group, or if no drugs are present.
Throughout the night, the larger group moved up and down the minuteman line, about 300 yards south of us the entire time. It was probably 3 separate groups. Two were plain old illegals, about 40-50 in number each. The other one was a drug train. Unknown how many, but I hear they move in groups of 10-20 from the more senior guys on the line.
About 10:30 or so, the drug train probed our lines right next to me. They sent one guy with something on his feet...carpet probably. His footsteps were very quiet, not like the regular illegals. He emerged from the bushes about 150 yards up the road from me, and about 150 yards from the next post. Almost exactly in the middle.
I had been using passive night vision with no infrared lamp for assistance. This guy was barely in range of my night equipment, so I hit him with my IR beam to help see him. He had night vision too, and saw my IR beam immediately. He froze for about 5 seconds. I got a good look at him via night vision. He had a quality backpack, with a large bail of something up high towards his shoulders. Very squared and boxy. He was bent over slightly to balance the weight.
When he saw my beam wasn't just scanning, but locked in on him, he bolted back southeast for cover. We followed him with a spotlight, the IR beam and night vision. He was lit up really good until he dived into some cover behind a bunch of cactus. We lost sight of him, but reported him to Border Patrol. He was sitting there behind cover only 100 yards away or so.
The shift ended at midnight, and BP didn't arrive to collect my mule until we brought in our line. I was really frustrated by this, but later found out that they had mounted a large operation 5 miles south of us and didn't have a lot of manpower to respond to our calls.
I don't know how many of the 50 or so spotted illegals along our entire line (visually spotted, not heard) were apprehended by BP when they came up to us at about 11:45. We closed down and went back to camp to sleep.
I dragged my tired keister out of bed at 6:45am for a 7am briefing, prior to the 8am operation.
The day shift bothered me. I ended up spotting 5 illegals crossing the highway about a mile from me. I watched them through binoculars as they crossed from west to east of highway 286. A few minutes later, a white vehicle came from the north, pulled a u-turn where they were, disappear behind some bushes for about a minute and then head off back north.
I had heat glare and mirage from the concrete and it was hard to tell if the vehicle was a honda civic hatchback or some sort of minivan. To fit 5 illegals and a driver, it was probably a minivan. I reported this to our comm center, but due to the distance and uncertainty of vehicle type, they declined to report the sighting to BP.
Another post spotted several illegals and reported to BP at about 11am. BP responded with helicopters and eventually ground units. One agent came with a dog and pursued on foot. Two hours go by. Then three. Finally 4 hours go by and we get a request for assistance on our radio frequency from someone claiming to be a Border Patrol agent. We attempted to verify this request but could not raise the original caller again and BP headquarters could not confirm an unaccounted-for agent.
We went up-trail where the one agent with the dog took off and found him about 2 miles in. He had injured his knees and was the source of our mystery communication. His radios were dying and couldn't reach the BP radio relay, but could reach our signal amplifier. He requested that we bring his truck to him. The ACLU had followed us out and were filming us, and due to their tendency to warp video footage we did not help this officer in any way (which really bothers me). The only assistance we provided was to make sure he made it back to his truck on his own...that no illegals attacked him in his injured state. We even called BP headquarters to report an injured officer, and they didn't respond with any ground units or anything. I don't see how they can retain officers with this type of support. I heard their attrition rate is around 1000 officers a year, and their academy can only train about that many. Even with increased funding for more agents, they can't meet staffing goals because they have no mandate to truly get the job done. I could never work for that kind of agency.
Shift ended at 4pm. I saw 5 illegals, and the entire line had seen about 30. That's pretty average, since they learn quickly exactly where we are (cough cough...ACLU...cough cough) and respond by using night as cover.
I headed back to camp, had a bite to eat with a couple of folks, and said good-bye. Three hours later, I was back in Phoenix with a better understanding of the border problem and how vast the problem truly is. When you see that 50 mile wide valley (knowing it's just one small part of a 2000 mile border) and realize that you only helped to monitor 1 mile of it and had contact with at least 100 illegals in 16 hours, it makes you wonder how many come through the entire border in a single day... 20,000? 50,000? I don't know, and neither does anyone I asked.