Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
Let me start with a preemptive apology. I caught Covid this week and am mentally fatigued and am having trouble with concentration. These emails normally take me about 2-3 hours to put together but has required significantly more effort and time this week. This week I've spread the time over several days and can tell I'm well below 100%.
One of the highlights of this week's email is the letter written to the parents of Benjamin Hill. In the letter, Herbert Horsley (1878-1962) wrote in part: "We want you to know that your son's name will go down in Border Patrol history as a martyr to the cause of justice and as an example of fearlessness in the enforcement of the Laws of our Country." What an incredible quote. Especially, coming from an organization that was barely five years old. The link to that document is in the Fallen Section.
Since its earliest years, the USBP has done well at honoring the fallen. I think that Horsley's quote above should be required to be memorized by every Honor Guard member.
Have a great week!
- As an open and continuous invitation to current and former USBP employees, I am always accepting photos to post in the USBP Photo Galleries and in the Upholding Honor First pages. I sure would appreciate you visiting those pages and sending me anything that you think I could post (just attach them to a reply to this email).
- As always, make sure to explore all of the hyperlinks to documents and pages.
- Finally, please forward this to whomever you think may enjoy it.
This is the section where I correct the mistakes from my last email. I will also use this section to provide other perspectives of USBP history.
I didn't find any errors of significance from last week. Surprisingly, I didn't receive any rebuttals or comments to the last email to post.
The workplace climate resulting from a combination of organizational pride and employee morale.
- Organizational pride is the positive feeling experienced by employees from being part of a meaningful team that is rich in history, tradition and culture.
- Employee morale is the feeling experienced by employee based in part on their perception of:
- Being valued by the organization,
- Fairly compensated, and
- Performing meaningful work.
Esprit de corps is reinforced through the shared goals, mission and values of the organization and its employees.
The definition turns Esprit de Corps into a simple formula and defines parts that comprise organizational pride and employee morale.
Esprit de Corps = Organizational Pride + Employee Morale
Esprit de Corps is the key to a healthy organization and engaged employees.
Honor First is foundational to the Border Patrol's organizational pride and integral to its Esprit de Corps.
- On June 2, 1924, El Paso District Director and future Chief of the Border Patrol George Harris (1876-1941) sent a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning the Border Patrol manpower in the district which was comprised of modern-day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors.
- On June 3, 1924, the San Antonio District Director sent a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning the Border Patrol manpower in the district which was comprised of modern-day Del Rio, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley Sectors.
- On June 2, 1925, William H. Wagner (1877-1956) wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning the positions and salaries within the Border Patrol. The memo also recommended a reduction in personnel due to an anticipated reduced budget.
- On May 29, 1926, the District Director for the Montreal District (District #1), Harry R. Landis (1880-1950), wrote a 5-page memo to the Commissioner-General concerning the newly disseminated General Order 61. Several items of interest are contained in the memo:
- District #1 covered Maine to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan,
- It telegraphs the creation (in name) of Houlton Sector, and
- Provides an interesting insight to the implementation of General Order 61.
- On June 2, 1931, a memo was written that reported Border Patrol Inspector Charles Askins, Jr's (1907-1999) shooting scores and qualifications from 1925. there were no accompanying documents to provide context.
- At the request of the Central Office, on June 3, 1931, El Paso District Director Grover Wilmoth (1884-1951) wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General reporting the shooting scores achieved by his personnel. Wilmoth went on to recommend sending Patrol Inspectors from all districts to the annual competition in Camp Perry, which would happen in four years later and be the birth of the U.S. Border Patrol Pistol Team.
- At the request of the San Antonio District Director, on June 3, 1931, the Laredo Sub-district Chief Patrol Inspector Hubert P. Brady (1895-1957) wrote a memo concerning top shooting scores for his sub-district. He reported only one Patrol Inspector having scored well enough to have been reported, James W. Leflar (1902-1966). Recordsfrom 1939 would show that Leflar became an Immigrant Inspector. It is unknown if he ever returned to the Patrol.
- On May 31, 1933, a memo was written to the Commissioner-General. The memo is signed by "Acting Director of Border Patrol, Canadian Border District", Ruel Davenport.
- Ruel Davenport (1878-1961) had been one of the first two "Chiefs of the Border Patrol" when General Order 61 was signed in 1926. He was the northern border Chief. The southern border Chief, George Harris (1876-1941). George Harris rotated out of his assignment in 1927 leaving Davenport to be the Patrol's sole Chief until 1932 when the short-lived two border district approach was implemented. Davenport was not selected to lead the Canadian Border District, Father of the Border Patrol Frank Berkshire (1870-1934) was selected to be the Director. Davenport was selected to be his second in command.
- On June 3, 1937, a memo was issued authorizing "the wearing of cross straps over the right shoulder by those officers who are left handed".
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
- An organization’s values are codified in its awards system. Recognizing the achievements, service and heroism of employees is important. It is critical for those in positions of leadership to value the workforce. Awards are a fundamental manner for leaders to demonstrate appreciation to the workforce for upholding the organizational values. – U.S. Border Patrol Honorary Awards
Border Patrol Agent
Theodore E. Huebner
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1991, seven-year-old Adrian Rose and his stepfather, Randy Velasquez, had been fishing the Arizona bank of the Colorado River. Later that evening, they decided to swim to the California side. Adrian reiterated that they had not expected the river’s current to be so swift and were swept away into the main channel as they entered the water. He witnessed his stepfather cry out and then slip under the water and not resurface. Adrian managed to swim to a spot in the river where he was able to cling to a bush and keep his head above water. He spent several hours there calling for help and described the water as very cold and very fast.
Border Patrol Agents Jose Cisneros and Theodore E. Huebner were performing Border Patrol operations along the Arizona side of the Colorado River, near the Morelos Dam on June 4, 1991. At approximately 2:30 a.m., they heard Randy’s cries for help coming from the California side of the river. Border Patrol agents working the California side were summoned for assistance. After a coordinated effort between the agents, they pinpointed the location of the cries. Agents observed a child in the river, up to his chest in the swift moving water. Agents on the California side of the river, nearest the child, made several attempts to reach him but were hindered by the thick brush that lined the river’s bank.
Realizing that time was vital if they were going to rescue the boy from drowning, Agents Theodore Huebner and Jose Cisneros elected to attempt the rescue from their side of the river. Disregarding their own safety, in the hours of darkness, they unselfishly entered the river into unseen hazards. By wading and swimming, they crossed approximately 200 yards of river to reach seven-year-old Adrian Rose and carried him to safety. The location of the rescue was about ¾ of a mile north of Morelos Dam, where water from the Colorado River is diverted into Mexico. The Imperial County Diver’s Team estimated the water’s temperature on that day at 55 degrees and flowing at a rate of 1.5 feet per second.
The river at this point varies in depth, is approximately 200 yards wide, and is covered with quick sand and deep holes. Due to the varying strong undercurrents, these conditions change constantly and are unpredictable.
This stretch of the Colorado River has been the site of numerous boating mishaps and drownings. Although this information is common knowledge to the general public and Border Patrol agents alike, Agents Huebner and Cisneros knowingly entered the river without regard for their personal safety, to accomplish the rescue of Adrian Rose.
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic.
About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard Agent Kirpnick order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
As of May 16, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 152* fallen.
- 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
- 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
- 100 Border Patrol Agents have fallen since 1970
- 1 Enforcement Analysis Specialist
The facts regarding each officer are presented without major editing of the "language of the day" found in the reports detailing the circumstances of each event. This is done to provide the reader an association with historical timeframes.
Employees who died in the line of duty due to being exposed to deadly illnesses will not have the cause of death listed.
*With the exception of two of the fallen immediately below, all names are listed (or in the process of being included) on the official Honor Roll of U.S. Border Patrol Fallen and inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The U.S. Border Patrol should fix these discrepancies. HonorFirst.com honors both of the fallen.
- Joe R. White - He is recognized as officially fallen by the U.S. Border Patrol but his name is not inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.
- John Charles Gigax - He is not recognized as officially fallen by Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol. He is remembered by all except his own agency with his name is inscribed on the:
Benjamin T. Hill
Date of Birth: October 23, 1901
Entered on Duty: May 14, 1929
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: May 30, 1929
Historic documents of the shooting.
Patrol Inspector Benjamin T. Hill was shot and killed near the international boundary, El Paso, Texas, on May 30, 1929, while pursuing a narcotics smuggler he had seen cross the Rio Grande River. While being pursued on foot through an alley, the smuggler suddenly wheeled and shot Inspector Hill through the heart, killing him instantly.
Date of Birth: September 9, 1970
Entered on Duty: September 25, 1996
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: June 3, 1998
On June 3, 1998, Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic. About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol Agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard him order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Agent Kirpnick, an immigrant from the Ukraine, was a graduate of the 322nd session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.