As soon as you can do so, please contact the state director, Clark Kirby, and tell him your arrival/departure dates. We need to know, in advance, how many volunteers are planning to attend the Texas border watch each week. If we know the numbers, we can better plan our operation. Contact: email@example.com
DATES: Saturday Evening, October 4th through Sunday morning, October 26th, 2008
LOCATION: Our base (Texas Operations HQ) will again be at Mission Gardens RV Resort 930 W. Expwy. 83 Mission, TX 78572. Phone: 956-585-5671
The Texas border watch operation sector will be between the Hidalgo International Bridge to the Los Ebanos Int''''l. Ferry, a distance of approx. 45 miles of river frontage. Go to this link: http://www.mapquest.com/ and type-in the above address for a map of the RV park location.
Be sure to take the S. Conway Ave. Exit off Hwy. 83, stay in the far right lane, and turn right into the RV park just after passing Ellena St. There is a tall (night-illuminated) sign at the eastern end of the RV park. Be aware that you will be on a high speed one-way access road for Hwy. 83. Do not confuse this elevated highway with Business 83, which is a couple of miles north and parallels Hwy. 83. If you pass the RV park, you will need to do a loop on Los Ebanos Rd. and head back east until you can get back to the westbound access road at Conway Ave.
OPERATIONS: Texas Operations HQ is a rented "model home" (trailer) inside the Mission Gardens RV Resort, Lot #231. Note that this is the same building we used last April and it is NOT the RV park office.
The Communications (Comm) Center and the Registration Office are both in this Texas Ops HQ trailer. There will be a daily schedule on the Whiteboard kept visible just inside the glass sliding door. This whiteboard will be kept updated with the daily schedules, including any necessary last minute changes. It will be every volunteer''''s responsibility to check this whiteboard frequently during the day for last minute changes.
For security reasons, the inside of the building will be off-limits to those who are not monitoring the base communications, discussing operations with a MCDC official, or registering their arrival/departure. This is where the state director and his sector chief(s) may be found during operating hours. We will run at least one night-time shift per day. Numbers of shifts per day and the shift duration will be dependent upon volunteer numbers and will be posted on the whiteboard. Watch posts (stations) will be on private and legal public land, most within sight of the Rio Grande River, the international border with Mexico.
Personal vehicles will be used to transport volunteers out to the lines. The vehicles of line supervisors and watch post leaders are the ones used, so do not worry about your car being used. Once we caravan out to the line, you will be posted at a specific spot for stationary observation with one or more other volunteers with at least one vehicle, possibly two.
We will not allow the use of ATVs or horses for scouting or for any other purposes since no scouting is allowed during deployments since we remain on post while deployed. All scouting of our lines and the establishment of new lines will be done during off-duty hours by state operations teams.
If you wish to be on the ops team, make your wishes known when you arrive. We have numerous lines set up, some new, all in what local law enforcement calls "HOT AREAS". But, there can never be a guarantee that a volunteer will observe illegal crossing. This depends upon the skill of the combined volunteers in being quiet and still while on post.
U.S. Border Patrol records indicate that 26 illegal aliens have been apprehended per month, per mile THIS YEAR in the sector we will watch
It is likely that only one of three or four illegal crossers is apprehended. That means 78-104 on average are probably crossing in every mile, per month. It takes only one accidentally slammed car door, a cough, or an inadvertent illumination of a flashlight to compromise our sightings on that line for the remainder of the deployment.
For us to throw off any criminal who may be watching for us, from either side of the Rio Grande, we will shift our lines randomly to different lines in different areas. But, be aware that even when we are spotted by the bad guys, we will then be DETERRING illegal activity in that area with our benign presence.
Every volunteer is asked to bring one camo tarp to help conceal transport vehicles from view since they will be parked on a dirt/caliche road. Most sporting goods stores have these tarps, normally used for building blinds for hunting. Volunteers will be posted off the road, in the brush, where practical. These tarps may also be used to conceal our volunteers.
CHECK-IN: AFTER you register your arrival and pay for your RV spot at the office of Mission Gardens RV Resort, please come to Texas Ops HQ to register with Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC).
The MCDC Registration Office, at the Ops HQ trailer (see location under "Operations", above) will be open for volunteer check-in and new volunteer registration beginning Friday, October 3rd. Please refer to the "White Board" visible from inside the front door, for the registration office hours of operation.
All previously-registered MCDC volunteers need to bring their MCDC ID card AND a photo ID, such as a state driver''''s license.
IDs WILL be checked at registration. Note: recent MCDC registrants who have not yet received their MCDC ID card will need to show a photo ID, such as a state issued driver''''s license. Those who do not have a MCDC ID card may be delayed while at registration, while a MCDC officer confirms their status, from the National database.
Once checked in with MCDC, all volunteers will be issued a TX Ops ID badge. This badge must be worn in plain sight while at Ops HQ (Base) and/or on duty. Due to our concerns for your safety and health, we ask that volunteers not display their ID badges when out in the public, (i.e.: restaurants) away from base.
Anyone not already a registered MCDC volunteer who appears at Ops HQ on/after October 4th may register as a MCDC volunteer. They will be registered on-line, pay the $50 non-refundable registration fee (if applicable), be background checked, and vetted while they wait. These new volunteers, once vetted, will be given the mandatory ops training before they will be eligible for deployment on the watch lines.
Sector Chief: The state sector chief is Mr. Joe McClelland who has led two previous state operations. But, Joe could use some help, so if you are interested in being a deputy sector chief, let him know when you arrive. Requirements are that a candidate must be able to spend at least a week at the operation and have prior MCDC border watch experience. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Line Supervisors & Watch Post Leaders: These volunteers will be selected by the sector chief on duty at the time. If you have previous MCDC border watch experience and would like to train for and then serve as a line supervisor and/or a watch post leader, please tell the sector chief when you arrive on site.
UNIQUENESS FACTOR: Texas, of the four states that border Mexico, is the only state with a river boundary with Mexico. Also, the Texas border watch is the only one in an urban, semi-tropical region.
The other three state watches are held in remote desert conditions, far from volunteer amenities. In Texas, you may visit the pristine beaches of South Padre Island National Seashore. Our operations location has all the amenities that a volunteer would want for off-duty hours. There are numerous restaurants in all price ranges, movie theaters, and other tourist destinations here. These differences make the Texas operation unique.
OPERATIONS TRAINING: For those who have not yet taken the mandatory MCDC operations training, it will be offered on every day of our operation and will take place at either the Ops HQ trailer or at the large club room at the front entrance to the RV park.
Check the daily schedule posted on the Operations White Board at Ops HQ for the training class time each day. Every MCDC volunteer must complete the training before being deployed on the lines. Be sure to arrive early enough in the day to take the class.
The Texas Operations Training Manual, upon which the mandatory ops training is based, is available for review but is not a substitute for the 1-1/2 hour state ops training. For an e-mailed copy of the state operations training manual, contact: email@example.com . If you have a dial-up (slow) Internet connection, please ask for the ops manual version with no photos.
LODGING: Overnight camping accommodations will be available to anyone with a tent, a travel trailer, a motor home, or any type and size of recreational vehicle. You can even sleep in your car/truck if you are very budget minded.
Our Operations HQ is a privately-owned RV park whose management has waived their usual rules just for MCDC volunteers during our semi-annual border watches. For tent campers, there are grassy, shaded areas (orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees in fruit) for setting up campsites.
There are full indoor restroom facilities including sinks with mirrors and SHOWERS with hot and cold water. There is a heated swimming pool, a hot tub (Jacuzzi), a laundry room, and even free "WiFi" Internet service (available in the Recreation Room or any space near the park office).
For those who want to stay in a hotel/motel, please book your room now in either Mission or nearby McAllen. There are thousands of rooms available in those two small cities in every price range. Since April through October is the "Valley''''s" off-season (before the "snow birds" show up), prices will be off-season in regard to lodging prices.
Every volunteer will be responsible for securing/reserving their own motel or RV lodging.
MEDIA: Local, regional, state, national, and international media (print and broadcast) are expected. We WILL be getting our message out which is the REAL reason MCDC holds border watches. If you have any ideas or media contacts, please forward them to the Texas State Director, Clark Kirby: firstname.lastname@example.org before October 1st.
Be aware that at no time will any media representative be "embedded" into our operations and/or allowed unescorted movement.
All media representatives must check in at HQ registration, show their identification, sign a media waiver, and assigned a MCDC officer as an escort.
Volunteers may speak to any media rep that they wish but always remember to represent yourself as a citizen and know that you may not speak officially for the organization. It is expected that some will try to get you to say the "wrong thing", so be careful how you phrase things. If you do NOT wish to speak to a media rep, just tell them so, and refer them to a MCDC official.
It is MCDC-Texas HQ policy to be courteous and helpful to all media representatives, including the Spanish language media, whether you wish to be interviewed, or not. We are trying to reach out to the Spanish speaking citizens whose lives are most negatively impacted by illegal migration.
WEAPONS: No long arms (rifles & shotguns) are allowed at any MCDC-Texas operations, not even in your vehicle. Line supervisors will post at least one state licensed concealed handgun licensee to each watch post. NOTE: The only volunteers who are allowed to be armed at the Texas operation are those who hold a valid, current, Texas CHL (concealed handgun license) or hold a valid, current CHL/CCW license in a state with a reciprocity agreement with the State of Texas.
It is the responsibility of each out-of-state CHL/CCW holder to verify the existence of a Texas reciprocity agreement with your home state. These concealed handgun licensees will only be able to carry their handguns concealed, pursuant to state law.
THERE IS NO LEGAL "OPEN CARRY" IN TEXAS for MCDC volunteers.
By law, handguns must be concealed AT ALL TIMES unless deadly force is necessary to protect you or those around you from serious bodily injury or death. Those who reveal their handguns at any time, for any other reason when on duty as a MCDC volunteer, are violating state law and are subject to termination (violation of SOP #6) and subject to arrest.
Warning: There may be a state law that tells Texans that they "have no LEGAL obligation to retreat" in the face of danger, but as a MCDC volunteer, you ARE expected to retreat, after notifying HQ, before a dangerous situation can develop.
Remember, always, that we are in the "Valley", to observe and report, only. Our SOP compliance and the requirement to retreat from danger are critical to mission success, to get our peaceful protest message out to the public. For those who feel that what we do is so dangerous as to preclude their attendance: In three years of border watches in Texas, no one has been shot or shot at. If you are concerned for your safety, be aware that you are overwhelmingly more likely to die in a highway crash than to be shot at while on a MCDC border watch.
We need brave, careful, lawful, dedicated volunteers in order to hold a successful operation.
CHILDREN, SPOUSES, & PETS: One must be at least 18 years of age to be a MCDC volunteer, so minor children are precluded from attending any MCDC event.
Also, unless your spouse and/or adult child is either already a vetted MCDC volunteer or is going to register as a MCDC volunteer upon arrival (and take the ops training), it is best that he/she does not follow you to any MCDC-sponsored meetings, training sessions, or anything else while you attend the operation. However, your children and/or spouse, even if not a registered MCDC volunteer, may stay in your camp at Mission Gardens RV Resort or at your hotel/motel. Spouses and children will find many enjoyable outside activities in the McAllen/Mission/Harlingen/Brownsville area.
South Padre Island and its beautiful sandy beaches, about an hour and a half drive away, will be a big draw. There are large numbers of nearby restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, and other entertainment opportunities in the "Valley". Please be sure to follow the rules of your lodging host in regard to children and pets. There have been instances where pets caused disturbances for the campground''''s residents. You are encouraged to leave your pets at home but as long as pets stay in your campsite (obey park rules in regard to this) or your motel/hotel (if allowed) and not brought to any MCDC-related activity, there will be no MCDC issue. MCDC only asks that you not bring pets to meetings, etc. and certainly not on deployments out to the lines.
WHAT TO BRING - Your "Minuteman Duffle Bag" should include:
- Clothing to protect you from sun, rain, heat/cold, biting insects (mosquitoes and chiggers) and wind to include long trousers and long-sleeved shirts. A jacket/coat may be appropriate dependent upon weather conditions. While full military and hunter camouflage is discouraged (media image problem), you are encouraged to wear dark colored clothing at night.
- Hat or cap for sun protection during the day and for warmth at night. (Dark color for nighttime deployments)
- Rain gear (patriotism knows no weather restrictions)
- Sturdy shoes or boots (dark colors only-no white footwear for nighttime deployments).
- Work Gloves
- Sunscreen; Chapstick;
- Sunglasses for daytime use
- Canteen or bottles of water (a thermos of hot coffee at night is recommended);
- Insect repellant (mosquitoes are bad along the Rio Grande!)
- Dark colored or camo folding chair
- Pair of GMRS radios (5 watt with license) with headsets and fully charged batteries with charger (refer to the Texas Ops Training Manual for specifications)
- Package of spare "disposable" batteries for radios and flashlight
- Cell phone and charger (AC & 12 volt)
- Video camera with charger, rechargeable battery, and spare batteries
- Trash bag(s)
- Night vision scope (refer to the TX Ops Training Manual for specifications)
- Emergency blanket
- First aid kit
- Camouflage tarps (for concealing watch post and/or vehicle)
All out-of-state campers are requested to bring their state flag (w/pole) to display at your RV campsite when you are here. We want the media and the local residents to know that citizens from your state are attending to help our border situation. During the occasional daytime "visibility" deployments, our flags should be flying along the border, while on watch.
If you are flying into the Valley, McAllen''''s Miller International Airport is the closest, about 20 miles from Texas Operations HQ.
We have a need for administrative personnel to serve at HQ. Perhaps you are unable to post on the line. Perhaps you are limited in mobility or have other reasons to only help in the HQ area. We have a job for you We need someone to answer the phones during the day and return those phone calls received after-hours. We need those who can sit at our registration table and greet volunteers as they arrive at HQ.
The new arrivals will need to have their credentials checked, sign the liability waiver, have training status confirmed, and be given a packet of information. Also, admin personnel will assist our volunteers in the many needs that arise at HQ. If this is of interest to you, please contact: email@example.com .
We also have a need for a number of communications personnel. So, if you have radio comm. experience, especially HAM experience or former border watch GMRS radio experience, we could use you in the "Comm Center" (aka: "Radio Shack") at HQ. If you have mobile base station HAM or GMRS capability, that is a plus! The more radio personnel available, the shorter the shifts. If this appeals to you, please contact the state director: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The RV resort''''s (HQ) Recreation Room has a large adjoining kitchen with two refrigerators and all the necessary equipment to cook meals for a hundred people at a time. Mealtimes can be a great fellowship opportunity for our volunteers! I suggest that we have Fajita Fridays, Smoked Sausage Saturdays, Spaghetti Sundays, well, you get the idea. If this is something that you wish to do, please contact: email@example.com