PHOENIX – Armed men who prompted four National Guard members to pull back from an observation post at the Arizona-Mexico border probably weren’t trying to test the reaction of the troops, the head of the Arizona National Guard said Monday.
They likely happened upon the soldiers while walking across rocky terrain from Arizona into Mexico, said Maj. Gen. David Rataczak, speculating that the gunmen were carrying drug money south across the border.
In the face of criticism that the troops set a bad precedent for border security, Rataczak told a homeland security committee at the Arizona Legislature that the troops acted properly in relocating to a nearby site and calling in the Border Patrol to respond.
“They did exactly what they were told to do,” said Rataczak, adding that the actions of the soldiers prevented an international incident from occurring.
The four National Guard soldiers from Tennessee were on the lookout at a post near Sasabe on Jan. 3 when they spotted the gunmen approaching wearing bulletproof vests.
Arriving at the scene about 15 minutes later, the Border Patrol tracked the armed men back to the border, but weren’t able to find them. No shots were fired.