This article has been updated since publication with a statement from the Texas Military Department.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star program at the Texas-Mexico border continues to be plagued with issues and questions.
On Wednesday, sources told Texas Scorecard the Texas Military Department has not provided enough cold weather gear for the border operation soldiers, nor have they ensured plans in case of potential winter storm power outages later this week.
“No preparations,” said one source inside the Texas National Guard. “That’s like asking if Abbott has done anything to prepare the State for another Texas freeze.”
“Not everybody has cold weather gear,” said another source inside the TMD. “The department is working to rectify that—not gonna happen before cold weather gets set in.”
A source inside Abbott’s border operation has also confirmed the lack of proper equipment, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Featherston (a former senior enlisted advisor to the Texas Army National Guard) tweeted the same.
There are #Texans on #OperationLoneStar without cold-weather gear. @TXMilitary has yet to release a statement "All of our Guardsman have been issued a complete issue of cold-weather gear." What is #txlege doing about this, do you care? I know @West4Texas and @BetoORourke care. https://t.co/pjTaQ9T0Cm
— CSM (R) Jason Featherston (@TXARNG_SEA) January 31, 2022
However, other officials told a different story.
Texas Scorecard sent inquiries to both Abbott’s office and the Texas Military Department, asking if they made preparations for soldiers’ well-being in case of power outages during the storm. As of Wednesday afternoon, Abbott’s office has not responded, but the TMD sent us the following statement:
As of our last update, we can confirm that over 92 percent of service members assigned to [Operation Lone Star] have been issued cold-weather gear. Of the remaining individuals without full winter gear, we can confirm they will be working in a heated environment such as an office. Priority of winter weather gear was given to those on the front lines.
Furthermore, all base camps have mixed power, including city power and generator backup. In coordination with base housing vendors, the Texas Military Department has conducted winter weatherizing for the housing trailers. It has generators staged and ready, extra fuel on hand, water tractors have been filled, and sewage is being pumped proactively.
The latest questions come amid a troubled trail of problems in Abbott’s operation, including reported unsanitary working conditions, continual pay delays, suicides, and the TMD dissuading troops from talking to the media. Texas Scorecard has chronicled these issues and continues to investigate.