On Tuesday, the Pentagon officially announced that thousands of military personnel will be given the Armed Forces Service Medal for their efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border. The troops have been stationed at the border since April 2018 as a part of President Trump’s mission to reduce the number of people illegally crossing the border into the United States.
The medal was established in 1996 and exists to honor military members who have served in missions that are seen to have heavy significance and do not involve any foreign or imminent danger. Since its creation, the medal has been awarded for a variety of missions, such as Operation Jump Start.
This operation, which began May 2006 and ended June 2008, involved the National Guard where they worked to secure the Southwest U.S. Border in order to help the Department of Homeland Security.
Currently, there are 2,600 National Guard members—along with another 2,900 American service members—posted at the U.S.-Mexico border as a part of the Guardian Support Operation. The troops were assigned to the border when President Trump deemed the border situation needed a massive intervention. The intervention comprised of the reduction in the number of illegal migrants crossing over and the strengthening of national security.
Despite the criticism towards the Trump administration with regard to the current conditions of the detention centers and the role of the military, the Pentagon assured the public that the military would not directly encounter the migrants when the troops were first assigned to the border. The exact date for when the troops will be given the medal is still to be determined, but it’s great to see military personnel being recognized for their hard work.