U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Forrest Taylor was reapplying sunblock beneath the hot South Texas sun when a man in a white car drove up to where his group was setting up camp at the bay access point near the South Padre Island Convention Centre.
“You here to protect the border?” the motorist asked.
“No sir,” Taylor said, replacing his cover and explaining that his group was performing its monthly exercises, this time with a focus on extracting potable water from the bay.
Taylor said it wasn’t the first time on Friday that someone had the wrong idea about his group of reservists, who were clad in Army fatigues and setting up camp alongside sand-colored equipment.
Gov. Rick Perry announced last month that the National Guard would be working alongside Texas Department of Public Safety troopers along the border, spurring questions about where and when they would be placed as Congress continues to debate a legislative response to an influx of unaccompanied minors at the border.
Taylor, the McAllen unit’s public affairs officer, said members of the media had approached the group earlier in the day to find out if they were part of the troops Perry sent, but he said the Reservists’ trip to the island was simply a part of its monthly trainings.
The Reservists will be on the island through Sunday.