"One of the most unique things, in my experience, has been the short notice of this," Cmdr. Sgt. Maj. Matt Howard told NBC News. "Most folks didn't even know this mission was going to exist."
Of the deployment ordered by President Donald Trump, 2,800 troops were sent to Texas, 1,500 to Arizona and 1,300 to California.
A day after the midterm elections, the Pentagon announced it was no longer calling the mission "Operation Faithful Patriot" — instead re-branding it as simply "border support." No reason was given. But that's given fuel to skeptics who say the deployment was a political ploy to stoke fears about immigration.