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October 3, 2001

Governor Ryan Meets with Illinois National Guard Troops Called to Active Duty for Airport Security

BLOOMINGTON -- Governor George H. Ryan today met with members of the Illinois National Guard that have been called to active duty for increased security at the state's commercial airports. More than 200 members of the Illinois National Guard will begin their mission of supplementing security at 12 airports throughout Illinois Thursday, October 4.

"I am proud of you as fellow citizens and as men and women of the Illinois National Guard," Governor Ryan said today during a ceremony at the Bloomington Armory. "The travelling public needs to know it is secure at all of our airports, whether it's Chicago's O'Hare or airports in Bloomington, Peoria or Carbondale."

Members of the 233rd Military Police Company, based in Springfield; the 933rd Military Police Company based in Chicago; and the 333rd Military Police Company based in Freeport, will deploy to the designated airports and operate as additional security. The mission of the National Guard MPs will be to provide a trained, armed military security presence at Illinois airports to reinforce the civilian security function.

The National Guard personnel will be operating in a Title 32 status, which means that they are still under control of the Governor, but operational costs will be paid by the federal government. This status allows them to act as a supplemental police force.

The National Guard personnel have been undergoing Federal Aviation Administration airport security training the past two days in Bloomington and will be deployed to their assigned airports tomorrow morning to begin supplementing existing airport security.

The FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security Operations and the National Guard Bureau are overseeing the operation of this mission, which was requested by President Bush in his speech at O'Hare Airport last Thursday. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget is establishing a special account in the Department of Defense budget for this National Guard operation.

"Governor Ryan responded immediately to the President's request to call up the National Guard for this mission," said Maj. Gen. David Harris, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "Soldiers reported for duty at their armories the very next day and they are ready to begin their security mission."

It is expected that the National Guard personnel will be on duty at the airports from four to six months while the federal government works out its plan on handling airport security operations.


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