Gov. Abbott welcomes Texas National Guard soldiers to new operating base in Eagle Pass


EAGLE PASS, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott was in Eagle Pass on Friday to welcome Texas National Guard soldiers at Texas’ Forward Operating Base.

Abbott met with the first 300 soldiers who were moving into the base. He also took a tour of the facility.

The Texas Military Department acquired 80 acres of land in Eagle Pass to construct the base camp that will house up to 1,800 soldiers, with the ability to accommodate an additional 500 deployed for Operation Lone Star.

The base camp was built to make life easier for soldiers, who have had to drive about an hour daily from area hotels to report for duty. The facility will also provide food and other resources.

“This base camp will provide the type of housing and standards of living that both improve the quality of life for the men and women in uniform securing our border and allow Texas to have a permanent presence on the southern border,” Abbott said at a Friday news conference.

“Having them here at this base camp will help our soldiers operate more efficiently to secure the border,” said Adjutant General of Texas Major General Thomas Suelzer.

The base camp will feature a 700-seat dining facility, a recreation center, laundry facilities, WiFi access, individual rooms for soldiers starting at 118 square feet, chaplaincy programs, and medical and psychological health facilities.

Abbott also addressed how Operation Lone Star has reduced the flow of immigrants to Texas, including the installation of anti-climb barriers, a border wall, border buoys in the Rio Grande and taking control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.

While Abbott is touting the new operating base, not everyone is excited about it.

Jessie Fuentes, who grew up in Eagle Pass, said the Rio Grande has lost its luster since Operation Lone Star was launched.

“I used to take people on the river to show them the beauty. Now, I take them on the river to show them the beast,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes said Eagle Pass welcomes everyone, including the soldiers. But he said he wants them to respect the community.

“You are the outsiders, not the people you’re waiting for. You are the invaders. Not the people you’re waiting for. So, respect us. Be humble. This is our community. Respect us.”

Team Housing Solutions, a New Braunfels-based company, was tapped to build the base, which will cost approximately $38 million to construct.

You can view mockups of the facility below.