MOAA meeting recap

Rett Benedict

The Catalina Mountains Satellite Chapter met on November 21 at the MountainView Clubhouse in SaddleBrooke. The speaker was Sheriff Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff since 2008. He also served over 20 years in the Army National Guard, retiring as a Major. His service included Iraq and Commander of Operation Jump Start, a Southwest Border Mission.

The Sheriff described how his department serves our 5,200 square mile county with just slightly over 200 officers on a 24/7 basis. Under his command, timely response and training has improved significantly. The Sheriff also discussed the criminal side of illegal immigration and the cartel drug trade from Mexico that comes right through the Pima and Pinal counties. Of particular note were his comments about how the number of border crossers coming from non-western hemisphere countries are increasing.

His department has participated in several operations coordinated with multiple counties to capture both the drug carriers and the lookouts that surveil the carrier routes to warn them of possible interception by police and sheriff officers. Often these individuals are the ones committing crimes in Arizona on their return to Mexico for another drug run. The Sheriff is determined that the criminals suffer the consequences of their actions through our justice system. Too often they are just deported, then they can return with another drug load. One case he cited was a runner that had been deported 11 times!

Sheriff Babeu also described the heroic actions of his deputies in dealing with former military that are suffering from service injuries, both mental and physical. One example was how the deputies precluded the suicide attempt by an armed veteran, with no significant injuries for either the deputies or the veteran. Stories like this need to get more attention in our press.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at 11:30 a.m. in the East Room, MountainView Country Club, 38759 S. MountainView Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85739; phone: 818-1000. Lunch can be ordered starting at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will begin at about 12:15 p.m. The planned speaker will be from the DM-50 organization, but is not yet confirmed. Subsequent meetings will be held on the third Saturday of each month at the same time and location. Spouses are welcome and invited.

For additional information contact Col. Rett Benedict at 825-7424, Catalina Mountains Satellite President; e-mail [email protected]; or Col, Tom Owens, MOAA Tucson President at 760-3476; e-mail [email protected]. Check our website at for information.

The Catalina Mountains satellite is part of the Tucson Chapter and encompasses northwest Tucson to include Catalina, Oracle, parts of Oro Valley and Marana, SaddleBrooke and Sun City.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is a nonprofit veterans’ service association dedicated to maintaining a strong national defense and to preserve the earned entitlements of members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors.