The ‘God’s Army’ Convoy Says Militias Can Join But No Big Guns, Please

Organizers of the convoy have tried to distance themselves from extremist elements, but their own militia connections are making it hard.
A member of Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops Team militia is pictured on patrol at the US-Mexico border near Mt. Christo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2019. (PhotPAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

The “God’s army” convoy making its way to the southern border is definitely not a militia, and wants absolutely nothing to do with militias or other extremists. 

Except, that is, for the militias and extremists who are joining up with the convoy—and the organizers who have extensive ties to militias and the patriot movement.

On Wednesday, someone identifying themselves as a member of the Nebraska Constitutional Militia announced on the convoy’s channel on Zello, a walkie-talkie app, that they’ll be at the border this weekend. “We’re there to support you guys. Any help you guys need, let us know,” they said, adding that they intend to stay peaceful. John Walz, a candidate for the Nebraska House, announced on his social media that he’s joining up with the Nebraska Constitutional Militia, and will convene with convoys for rallies on the weekend. 


Another person on Zello indicated that a militia from California was planning to join the convoy. The militia in question did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment. Someone else on the channel identified themselves as a member of a 3% militia group, and asked if it was still OK for him to join up.

Although organizers previously described themselves “not militia friendly,” they’ve changed their tune a bit. One of the admins for the Zello channel said that it was fine for the militias to come, but only if they remained peaceful. They added that “side arms” were welcome, but said militia members should plan to leave their guns in their vehicles during Saturday’s rally. Organizers have also asked people to leave their long guns at home.

Militia and extremist involvement is just the latest development in the potential slow-rolling PR nightmare convoy organizers have been scrambling to prevent this week. Six patriot-world influencers organized the convoy over a month ago—weeks before simmering tensions between Texas and the Biden Administration erupted into a standoff and drove intense interest in the convoy.

Those organizers seem to be doing what they can to distance themselves from any possible messiness, such as violence or bad optics, that could unfold at the border in the days or even weeks ahead. 


They’ve been trying to temper expectations, repeatedly stating, for example, that the convoy is not going to the border: Instead, they say it will rally at the Cornerstone Children’s Ranch, a 10-acre private property in Quemado, 20 miles from Eagle Pass, which is the epicenter of the standoff. Organizers plan to hold a “spiritual revival” on Saturday. Some convoy participants have expressed confusion and disappointment over the location and planned activities. “I would love to see a million Americans show up at the border and link arms, but that’s just me,” streamer Oreo Express said on their livestream on Thursday. 

“Nobody associated with this convoy is going to Eagle Pass, period,” said Kim Yeater, one of the organizers, on Zello on Wednesday. “There is no desire to conflict with the National Guard, or interrupt their operations or anything.” 

“I would rather see the convoy stay away from the border, but just bring attention to it,” Yeater said. It’s worth noting that although the Cornerstone Children’s Ranch is 20  minutes from Eagle Pass, it’s about 500 feet from the border with Mexico.

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Additional rallies will take place simultaneously at private properties in Yuma, Arizona, and San Ysidro, California. On Thursday, a group split off from the main convoy, which is currently in Dripping Springs, Texas, around 23 miles east of Austin, and headed to Yuma. A pep rally is planned at a brewery in Dripping Springs on Thursday night. 


Organizers have suggested that there may be separate groups of protesters or convoys who will rally in Eagle Pass, but it’s not clear who those groups are. Last week, Joshua Feuerstein, a radical far-right preacher and GOP candidate for the Texas House, announced on social media that he was ready and willing to lead “an armed civilian militia to the border” though it’s unclear where those plans currently stand. Meanwhile, a self-described “progressive evangelical group” is also heading to Eagle Pass, with the goal of countering the Christian nationalist rhetoric of the “God’s Army” convoy. 

For all their attempts to pre-emptively whitewash the event and separate themselves from any extremist elements, some organizers have indicated previously that they had no qualms about buddying up with militias. 

Devin Burghart, Executive Director of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, has been cataloging evidence of one of the organizers’ extensive ties to the militia movement. Burghart surfaced a December conversation between organizer Johnathon Alexander and Take Our Border Back Steering Committee member Mark Anthony, in which they discussed the need for Trump to “call up the militias” and deploy them to the border. 

Alexander has also been photographed over the years wearing various militia uniforms, sharing videos from militia training events, and posing for photos with known militia members and anti-government extremists, including Ammon Bundy.


Extremist leader Mike Forzano, who goes by “Mike America” on social media, has also taken on a leadership role for the convoy and rally, though he doesn’t appear to be an official organizer. He heads a southern California group called “Exiled Patriots,” and has brawled with leftist protesters, shown up to rallies armed with knives, and spearheaded violent anti-LGBTQ rallies that brought together Proud Boys and white supremacists. 

Forzano released a video Wednesday laying out rules for this weekend’s rally, and says that for the last few days he’s been staying at the ranch where the convoy will take place.

And, one of the admins for the Zello channel is AJ Andrews, who identifies himself as the founder of the National Patriots Coalition, a 3% group. Andrews ran communications for a massive pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, in January 2020, according to a report by On The Media’s Micah Loewinger. 

Militias have long maintained a presence at the U.S.-Mexico border, and regularly engage in vigilante activity like patrols and intercepting migrants. But one of the most visible border militias, Patriots for America, will be keeping their distance from events around Eagle Pass and similar rallies this weekend.

“[Patriots for America] will not be anywhere near that event,” the group’s leader Samuel Hall told VICE News. “We do not operate or ‘join up’ with anyone on our Southern border that have not been put through our organization’s strict vetting process. We just hope that everyone that attends stays safe and the people there exercise wisdom and discernment.”

Overall, it’s still not entirely clear what this weekend will look like. The convoy got off to a sad start, with just a couple dozen vehicles departing Virginia Beach on Monday—a far cry from the 700,000 truck figure that was forecast on Fox Businesss. Many would-be participants have expressed concern that the convoy is a trap, or, in their words, a government psy-op. But despite the dampening effect of those conspiracy theories, the convoy has grown as it’s made its way through the south to at least 100 vehicles, with more saying they plan to join. 

How long people plan to stick around the border after the rallies is another question. Earlier this week, someone on Zello asked if the convoy was “permanent until the border is secured.” “There’s no telling how long this convoy will last,” responded A.J. Andrew, one of the admins. 

But Kim Yeater, one of the original organizers, made it very clear that the convoy—and the organizers’ responsibility to anyone involved—“ends this weekend.”