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National Guard to Halt Airport Security Duty

Los Angeles

April 20, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Soldiers from the California National Guard, who have provided anti-terrorist security at commercial airports since Oct. 5, will end their deployment and return to their homes and regular jobs May 10, a state military department official said Friday.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Terry Knight said that he was uncertain who would replace the National Guard members for duty at Los Angeles International Airport and elsewhere, but that he understood it would be law enforcement officers, at least until federal marshals can relieve them permanently.

More than 800 members of the California guard have served on active duty as a security force at 28 of the state's airports since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At the time of the call-up by President Bush, it was unknown how long the Guard members would serve at the airports. Knight said state officials were notified by the federal Transportation Security Administration that the Guard's task would end May 10, although the process of demobilization could last another three weeks.

Unaffected by the windup of the airport security mission will be smaller groups of National Guard soldiers whom Gov. Gray Davis ordered last fall to guard four suspension bridges against possible terrorist attacks.

No attacks occurred at the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in San Francisco, the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro or the Coronado Bridge in San Diego.

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