Late last week, a Texas National Guardsman lost his life in the Rio Grande attempting to save migrants from drowning on their illegal journey to the United States. The rescued migrants were later identified as drug smugglers by the Texas Rangers.
Specialist Bishop E. Evans disappeared last Friday; the 22-year-old Arlington, Tx. native's remains were found on Monday.
the Texas Military Department said in a statement issued Monday:
The missing Texas Army National Guard Soldier, Specialist Bishop E. Evans, assigned to Operation Lone Star, has been found deceased following an exhaustive interagency search. SPC Evans went missing while trying to selflessly help migrants who appeared to be drowning as they tried to cross the river from Mexico into the U.S. on Friday, April 22, 2022.
Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, Adjutant General for Texas, added:
We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family. We recognize the selflessness of this heroic Soldier who put his life above others in service to our state and national security. The Texas Military Department sends our deepest condolences to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.
On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted a photo of SPC Evans with the statement saying Evans was "a hero who risked his life in service to Texas and America." The Gov. added in a statement Monday:
Our National Guard soldiers risk their lives every day to serve and protect others, and we are eternally grateful for the way SPC Evans heroically served his state and country. I thank the members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Border Patrol, and local law enforcement for working around the clock to locate this soldier. The Texas Military Department will continue to provide more updates to the public as they become available. I ask that Texans join Cecilia and me in praying for the family and friends of SPC Evans as they grieve this heartbreaking loss.
On Friday, initial reports from the Texas Military Department stated that a soldier was missing, but news of death could not yet be confirmed. While the extensive search for the soldier was underway, the Texas Rangers began investigating the matter. However, searches were called off late Friday, given the high currents of the Rio Grande.
On Saturday, SPC Evans's identity was revealed by the Texas Military Department in a public statement that echoed that of Gov. Abbott, highlighting the soldier's bravery and selflessness. The report also broke the news that according to the Texas Rangers, "the two migrants [that Evans rescued] were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking. They remain in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol."
Search teams were again forced to halt Saturday night due to high river currents. Still, they began again Sunday morning utilizing dive teams, ariel surveillance, and airboats provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Evans's remains were eventually located downriver on Monday.
The Center Square reported:
Evans was a field artilleryman who was assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels. He joined the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019. He returned in fall 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," the Texas Military Department reported.
While many more details are certain to come, the New York Post reported that "The Texas Military Department, responsible for equipping the Texas National Guard, had ordered “rescue ropes and ring buoys” for guardsmen [tasked with performing water rescues] in February, but the equipment had not arrived, leaving most guard members without safety equipment to perform their duties, according to the Tribune and Military Times."
You can read the full story here.
Updated: Thu, Sep 22nd 2022 @ 5:25pm EDT