Another Texas National Guard soldier on Greg Abbott's border mission dies by apparent suicide

The death is the fifth suspected suicide by a National Guard member since Abbott ordered the massive troop deployment in September 2021.

click to enlarge Critics charge that Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star is more about spectacle than seeking a workable solution to the spike in border crossings. - Instagram / govabbott
Instagram / govabbott
Critics charge that Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star is more about spectacle than seeking a workable solution to the spike in border crossings.
Yet another member of the Texas National Guard assigned to Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star border crackdown has died by suspected suicide, the Army Times and the Texas Tribune jointly report.

The soldier shot himself with his duty weapon around 8:20 a.m. Tuesday in Eagle Pass, according to an official document obtained by the news organizations. The Texas Military Department is withholding the individual's name until his family is notified, according to the news organizations.

Abbott's office also confirmed the soldier's death by a self-inflicted gunshot wound via an emailed statement.

The death is the fifth suspected suicide by a National Guard member since Abbott, a Republican running for a third term, ordered the massive troop deployment in September of last year. A total of at least 10 troops have perished while on the protracted mission, the Army Times and Tribune report.

Abbott's $4 billion border crackdown is one of the largest Texas Guard deployments in recent memory, at one point involving some 10,000 personnel. The mission has been plagued with morale problems, and troops have complained about pay shortages, an unclear mission and a lack of gear.

Critics have attacked Operation Lone Star as a political stunt by Abbott to appeal to anti-immigration hardliners. The mission also is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegations that it violated the civil rights of migrants, some of whom have languished in jail without trial dates or access to attorneys.

In a statement supplied to the Texas Tribune, State Rep. Eddie Morales, D-Eagle Pass, urged Texas lawmakers to look into the ongoing suicides.

"Hearing the news of another Guardsman committing suicide while on deployment here in Eagle Pass is heartbreaking. This has been a reoccurring instance and the Texas Legislature and state leadership need to address it immediately," he said in a statement. "Many Guardsmen have given up their livelihoods, left their families and have [borne] the responsibility of assisting in Operation Lone Star."

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