MANHATTAN BEACH — Gov. Gray Davis was on hand Thursday as National Guard troops trained for their mission protecting the state’s airports, and he told them their presence will restore the public’s confidence in flying after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“We can never again let American planes be used as a tool of terror,” Davis told the guard members training to protect Los Angeles International Airport.
“Secondly, your presence at California airports will restore confidence in the traveling public, and we need to get on with our lives.”
The approximately 120 military personnel were completing two days of training in conflict resolution and baggage inspection on the eve of taking up assignments at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.
The program will initially place California National Guard members at Los Angeles and San Francisco international airports beginning Friday, expanding to 28 other airports across the state over the next three weeks.
Their primary duties will be to assist regular airport security personnel and serve as back up, handling any emergencies that may arise, said Maj. Victor Shermer.
“This is their job. They’re all fully trained to help wherever they’re needed,” he said.
The guardsmen are expected to remain at the airports for four to six months.