Hundreds of troops deployed to the US-Mexico border have started heading home, but many more are staying through the holidays

Soldiers from the the 89th Military Police Brigade, and 41st Engineering Company, 19th Engineering Battalion, Fort Riley, KS., arrive at Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX to conduct the first missions along the southern border in support of Operation FAITHFUL PATRIOT November 1, 2018.

  • Hundreds of active-duty troops deployed to the southern border have started heading home, according to the latest update from US Northern Command.
  • Many of the US troops heading out are those who were involved in hardening ports of entry and barrier emplacement. Troops have set up around 70 miles of razor wire and moveable barriers since their arrival in late October.
  • Among the remaining troops are force protection units and military aviation units, which are expected to continue supporting Customs and Border Protection agents through at least the end of January.

Having completed their missions, some troops deployed to the US-Mexico border are heading back to their home bases, US Northern Command reported Thursday.

The number of troops at the border, which peaked at 5,900 troops from across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, has been decreasing. Around 750 service members serving in Texas and Arizona redeployed to their home bases to prepare for other missions on Wednesday. The Department of Defense currently has roughly 4,200 active-duty troops at the southern border.Advertisement

Army engineers install concertina wire Nov. 5, 2018, on the Anzalduas International Bridge, Texas.U.S Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the southern border of the United States.

By state, there are 1,700 active-duty troops in Texas, 1,000 in Arizona, and 1,500 in California. There are also approximately 2,100 National Guard units deployed to the US-Mexico border. For the active-duty troops, the mission, originally known as Operation Faithful Patriot but later renamed "border support," was expected to end on December 15, but the Department of Defense agreed to extend the mission to the end of January following a Department of Homeland Security Request.

Read More: US troops are staying at the US-Mexico border through Christmas and into the new year

The troops that have left the southern border are certain engineering, logistics, and headquarters units, some of which were involved in hardening points of entry and erecting barriers. Since late October, troops have set up 70 miles of wire obstacles and moveable barriers at 22 ports of entry.

Soldiers from the 97th Military Police Brigade, and 41st Engineering Company, Fort Riley, Kansas, run 300 meters of concertina wire along the border in support of CBP operations in Hidalgo, Texas.
Among the remaining troops are military police units, which have completed 10,000 man-hours of unit training - including tactical and riot control training - in recent weeks, while military rotary wing aviators flew more than 740 hours in support of the border mission. These units will continue their service in border areas.Advertisement

Read More: US troops at the Mexico border have turned from just laying razor wire to bracing for violence as migrants arrive by the thousands

Several thousand troops were sent to the border toward the end of October to support Customs and Border Protection as large caravans consisting of thousands of Central American migrants marched northward. While the mission initially focused on barrier emplacement, a force protection element has also been incorporated for the active-duty military personnel deployed to the border.

Read More: Trump administration reportedly authorizes US troops to use lethal force at the border as migrant caravan approachesAdvertisement

U.S. Soldiers and Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, practice non-lethal crowd control drills at the Calexico West Port of Entry in Calexico, California on Nov. 27, 2018.

While there was a clash between migrants and CBP personnel at the San Ysidro port of entry last month, there have not been any serious escalations since. Some of the migrants have actually started heading home.

President Donald Trump stated Tuesday that the military could be directed to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, but the Pentagon explained the same day that there is no plan at this time for service members to do so.Advertisement

Many of the president's critics have accused Trump of using the military for a political stunt. These accusations have been rejected by the Department of Defense and the administration.