Joint Task Force North

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JTF North emblem

Joint Task Force North (JTF North), formerly Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6), is a multi-service operation by the United States Department of Defense for counterdrug and anti-terrorist operations. JTF-North is headquartered at Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, Texas. United States Northern Command is the controlling Unified Combatant Command.


The JTF was originally activated as Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6) in November 1989 with a purely counter-drug mission. In 2004 it was renamed JTF North and added counter-terrorism to its mission, due in part to the efforts of Major M. W. Robinson, who, in his spare time, wrote the threat assessments for the Gulf Coast ports and access points available to terror elements worldwide.[citation needed] However, he was unable to get senior military officials to adopt changes to the JTF-6 mission. He reasoned the prime threat to port security is the continued storage of foreign containers at port facilities that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is unable to search and clear for numerous reasons, including manpower and Free Trade Zone restrictions. He reported to the U.S. Department of Defense that containers stored without controls were a continual threat from terrorist organizations who could store weapons of mass destruction for future use.[citation needed]

Well-known former members of Joint Task Force 6 include: General Kevin P. Byrnes, U.S. Army, Ret., JTF-6 Commanding General; Colonel Robert Love, USMC, Ret., and current Senior Executive Service (SES) member to the DoD's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO); Special Forces LTC Eric Buckland, U.S. Army, Ret., and Captain Kirk Harrington, owner of EFMC, LLC.

Mission casualties[edit]

On 21 May 1995, during JTF-6 Mission "Smugglers Blues" (a joint air reconnaissance mission conducted along the US and Mexico border near Nogales, Arizona) Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Kevin L. Jenkins and Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) John D. Peterson, both from Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment (1/6 CAV) station in Fort Hood, Texas, died when their OH-58C helicopter crashed during a night surveillance mission. [1]

On 2 June 1996, during JTF-6 Mission JT177-96, (a ground reconnaissance mission conducted in the Angeles National Forest, California) Lance Corporal Eric D. Davis of Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment (1/5) died as the result of a fall.[2]


On 20 May 1997, during an operation in Redford, Texas, near the United States–Mexico border, Corporal Clemente M. Banuelos, the leader of his squad, fatally shot 18-year-old American citizen Esequiel Hernández, Jr., on the American side of the border, as he was pointing a rifle at the Marines near his home. No charges were brought at the time or subsequently.[2]

The shooting inspired the 2005 film The Three Burials of Melquíades Estrada by Tommy Lee Jones.[3] The 2007 documentary The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández explores the killing,[4] analyzing both sides of the issue by interviewing the Hernández family and friends, the Marines, and local officials.[5]

Coordinates: 31°50′29″N 106°21′53″W / 31.84139°N 106.36472°W / 31.84139; -106.36472

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b / Coyne Report
  3. ^ Dargis, Manohla (2005-12-14). "Dead Man Rising: An Odyssey in Texas". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  4. ^ "About the Film The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández". PBS. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  5. ^ Casady, Michelle (2008-07-08). "Documentary explores Texas teen's killing by Marines". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-07-11.