ROTC cadets detain illegal immigrants during training

Weaponless students use hand signals to surround group

by Elias Arnold published on Wednesday, April 6, 2005

As an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadet, it can be difficult to put your field command experience to use on a daily basis.

But a group of Army ROTC cadets from ASU had that chance early Sunday morning when they found and detained 16 illegal immigrants during a training exercise at Fort Huachuca.

Fort Huachuca backs the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona, less than 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. In March alone, 513 immigrants were found in or around Fort Huachuca.

"We were prepared," said Graham Ward, a communication senior and cadet battalion commander. "I got to put what I learn to the test."

To avoid startling a group of nine sleeping immigrants, the cadets moved in among the group quietly using hand signals and woke them all simultaneously.

The immigrants responded calmly, Ward said.

The responsiveness of the underclassmen under his command gives him confidence in his training, Ward said.

"They just went ahead and didn't miss a beat," Ward said. "It just reiterates that what we're doing means something."

The students did not have any weapons at the time because they were on a reconnaissance training mission.

Ward said he was "kind of surprised" to see immigrants while he was in the field, but he and the other cadets had been briefed on the possibility of seeing them and adapted accordingly.

The group also found five more immigrants as they escorted the initial group to where the first two they had found were being detained.

Ward said he wasn't nervous confronting the group because the two they had found a moment earlier were cooperative.

"You could tell they were a little startled to wake up and see people in fatigues," he said.

The border-crossers were detained by military police and then turned over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said Lt. Col. Marian Hansen, recruiting and operations officer for Army ROTC at ASU.

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Yoo hoo...ULOTC...I've got a job for you....
"Fort Huachuca backs the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona, less than 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border."

The Arizona/Sonora border. There's a place I wouldn't dream of being without a gat.

(Although there was a time within my life when you didn't have to fear anything there that moved on two legs.)
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