Guard troops arrive at airport

A hundred armed National Guard troops at San Francisco International Airport are protecting a rental car facility and patrolling the airport perimeter, a service that Oakland International Airport can apparently do without, having refused the 50 troops they were offered.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered 300 National Guardsmen to three of the state’s major airports: SFO, Los Angeles International and Oakland International. The nation’s threat level, set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, remains the highest since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Dan D’Innocente, acting SFO spokesman, said the National Guard spent Friday morning meeting with airport security officials “to determine what the best way that they could provide another level of security at San Francisco.”

The troops were assigned to guarding a rental car garage and several entry gates to the SFO airport. “We’re strengthening the area around the perimeter for the most part,” said Maj. John Preston, of the National Guard.

As troops arrived at SFO and LAX, Oakland airport security officials were trying to figure a use for the 50 troops earmarked for them.

“We have the resources that are necessary to provide a high-level of security here at the airport,” Oakland airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said, as reason for the refusal of troops.

National Guard troops are likely to begin patrolling other California airports as well. San Diego, Ontario and Orange County airports have requested between 30 and 80 troops, Wade said.

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