Evans was attempting to rescue two people who were entering Texas illegally and seemed to be drowning in the Rio Grande, per the TMD. The two illegal aliens are in custody and suspected of “illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.”
“SPC Evans, 22, a field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas is assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels Texas, and joined the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019,” the TMD wrote in a news release on Sunday.
“He returned in the fall of 2020 from mobilization to Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. During this mobilization, his dedication, talents, and tactical prowess led his leadership to regularly assign him to operations in Iraq in support of Special Operations Forces for short periods of time, while then rotating back into Kuwait.”
A Texas National Guardsman may have drowned in the Rio Grande on Friday after he went missing while trying to help a woman crossing the river.
The Texas Military Department (TMD) has refuted reports that the guardsman’s body had been found.
“A Texas Army National Guard Soldier assigned to Operation Lone Star has gone missing along the river during a mission related incident, Friday April 22, 2022 in Eagle Pass, Texas. The Soldier has not been found. We are aware of reports of a fatality, although those reports are inaccurate,” the TMD wrote in a statement on Friday afternoon.
“The Texas Military Department, Texas DPS and Border Patrol are working rapidly to find the Soldier. More details will be released as they become available.”
Sheriff Tom Schmerber of Maverick County, where the soldier went missing, told the Washington Examiner that the service member had shed his body armor and walkie-talkie before entering the Rio Grande to rescue a woman.
“The National Guard soldiers saw a group of immigrants crossing, and one of them, a lady — it appeared that she was drowning,” Schmerber told the Examiner. “The National Guardsman jumped into the river and tried to rescue, and he never came out. So they called us and said, ‘We’re still looking for him.’”
The guardsman was deployed as part of Operation Lone Star, the border security effort launched by Governor Greg Abbott last year to combat increasing levels of illegal immigration.
The operation has been criticized for its effect on National Guardsmen, though Abbott has contended the mission is necessary to mitigate the risks that illegal immigration poses to the state.
“The Texas Governor’s office continues to work with the Texas National Guard and other law enforcement agencies as they search for the missing soldier. Updates will be provided as additional details become available,” Abbott stated in a press release.
The TMD’s State Public Affairs Office told The Texan on Friday to monitor the department’s social media for updates on the missing guardsman.
A copy of the Texas Military Department’s news release can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."