- On December 3, 1913, an announcement was issued for the position of “Junior Inspector”. This announcement would play into USBP history in August 1924. In 1924, Border Patrol Inspectors had no immigration authority. By law, authority rested with employees who had the title "Immigrant Inspector" who were paid more than Border Patrol Inspectors. In order that Border Patrol Inspectors might receive legal authority without being paid more, the Commissioner-General wrote a proposal to the Second Assistant Secretary of the Department a Labor requesting to resurrect a plan that was used in 1913 for Mounted Watchmen, and to rename Border Patrol Inspectors, Junior Immigrant Inspectors. See this August 1924 document.
- The earliest evidence of widespread detention space overcrowding and suggested actions are described in this November 29, 1918 memo written by Frank Berkshire (the Father of the Border Patrol). The detention space overcrowding was driven by the newly enacted Passport Act and regulations (see this Wikipedia article’s sources for a deep dive). The main solution was to allow aliens to “voluntarily return” when deemed appropriate.
- As per the Twelfth Supplement to General Order 10 (November 29, 1927), releasing aliens from custody on their own recognizance (OR) has been a practice for many decades. This supplement addresses aliens that were OR’d so that they could voluntarily return to Mexico. Even then, it was known that many illegal aliens had no intention of returning to Mexico. This supplement was designed to identify those individuals for further action.
- This document describes a brief gunfight that occurred November 29, 1927 in El Paso. Two Border Patrol Inspectors were involved and one alcohol smuggler. No injuries were reported.
- On December 1, 1927, a gunfight occurred in El Paso between two Border Patrol Inspectors and alcohol smugglers. This document describes the encounter.
- On November 28, 1928, a gunfight occurred in El Paso between two Border Patrol Inspectors and approximately eight alcohol smugglers. This document gives a very brief description of the shooting and how approximately 100 rounds were exchanged.
- On November 30, 1928, Border Patrol Inspector Herschel Patterson was on annual leave (off-duty) when he engaged alcohol smugglers. Twenty shots were exchanged with no injuries. See this document.
- On December 3, 1929, Grover Wilmoth, the District Director of the El Paso District (Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sub-districts), authored a proposal to build a border fence. The proposal goes into great detail concerning costs and design.
- In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, there were numerous bills introduced in the house concerning the USBP. Some would have the Patrol merge and fall under the Coast Guard. H.R. 6318 from December 4, 1929, would have the Patrol be an agency.
- This December 1, 1931 document from the Seattle District is in response to an earlier and unfound memo from the Central Office (Immigration Service HQ). The document defines a shooter qualifying “expert” as having attained “80%”. The document lists the names and scores of the Inspects that qualified as experts.
- On December 3, 1934, the District Director for St. Paul sent a memo to Chief of the Border Patrol, Willard Kelly (the first Border Patrol Inspector to have become Chief, 1933-1943) . The memo was the result of a vote of Border Patrol Inspectors to discontinue wearing boots or putties during (wearing slacks) during the summer months. Slacks would be authorized on the northern border in 1936.
- A photograph (courtesy of the Border Patrol Museum) of a Border Patrol training class that was in session December 3, 1934 - March 17, 1935, is mistakenly used as the birthdate of the USBP Academy. That photograph is the earliest picture of one of El Paso District’s (Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sub-districts) classes to train their employees. Camp Chigas had been used by the El Paso District to train district employees for years before. The concept of creating a national academy had been discussed and researched in 1934 (see this document and this document). Records were not kept that identified the date that Camp Chigas began training all Border Patrol new hires and therefore became the national Academy. However, 1936 is the year that documents support that having occurred.
- On November 28, 1951, Harlon Carter (Chief of the Border Patrol 1950-1957 and the first to have graduated the BP Academy) wrote a memo concerning proposed changes to the BP uniform. The memo confirms that:
- Border Patrol Inspectors of the time had to pay for their uniforms,
- Khaki uniforms (Army Sun Tan), were authorized on the Mexican border only, and
- Pith helmets were not popular. “…A certain segment of the public was prone to jest at them and their “lion-tamer” hats”.
- On December 1, 1954, a memo was written concerning the wearing of military ribbons on the Border Patrol uniform. It was reported, “…the Department or Defense does view with favor the wearing of ribbons on police uniforms”.
- On December 2, 1954, a new Border Patrol uniform policy was issued. The policy also identifies Border Patrol field ranks/positions of the time.
- Military Ribbons on the USBP uniform
- Two uniforms authorized, official uniform (dress) and rough duty
- Task force (ball cap) authorized
- Sun tan uniforms to be retired by May 1, 1955
(Upholding Honor First)
Border Patrol Agent
On November 29, 2017, Three Points Border Patrol Agent Osbaldo Rios displayed exceptional composure and courage, saving the lives of his partner and himself. Agent Rios was performing patrol duties in an area located approximately 50 miles southwest of Tucson, and about 15 miles north of the international border with Mexico. Agent Rios and two partners had responded to a ground sensor activation in a remote canyon of the Baboquivari Mountains when they observed a group of five suspected illegal aliens. As the agents closed in, the suspects scattered in multiple directions. The agents gave chase and three suspects were apprehended. One agent maintained custody of those suspects while Agent Rios and his other partner continued pursuit of the remaining two.
His partner observed a suspect and immediately gave chase, physically engaging the suspect as he was attempting to descend a steep embankment. During the physical encounter, Agent Rios partner rolled down the embankment, with the suspect ending atop of him. As the struggle ensued, the suspect struck the agent several times in the face. The event was observed by an Air and Marine Operations aircraft, and relayed to the other agents. During the encounter, the suspect gained control of the agent's sidearm.
As Agent Rios approached his partner's location, he observed the suspect with a firearm pointed at his partner. Agent Rios called out to the suspect to draw his attention and avert him from firing. The suspect looked toward Agent Rios, now aiming the weapon at him. Without hesitation, Agent Rios discharged his service weapon, neutralizing the threat. Agent Rios swift and decisive action resulted in preventing the death or injury of his partner, and himself.
- 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
- 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
- 97 Border Patrol Agents have fallen since 1970
- 1 Enforcement Analysis Specialist
The names that appear below hold a place of honor. They have made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to fulfill the oath each officer took to protect and defend the United States of America.
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 - His name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial (see link) but he is not recognized as officially fallen by the U.S. Border Patrol. His EOW was November 7, 1999.
Oscar T. Torres
Date of Birth: April 19, 1937
Entered on Duty: June 19, 1969
Title: Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 30, 1974
Details:Patrol Agent Oscar T. Torres was assigned the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift on November 30, 1974, in the El Paso Station area. At approximately 2:30 a.m., he proceeded to the West Railroad Bridge to assist in opening the gates for a train inbound from Mexico.
Agent Torres and Patrol Agent (Trainee) Robert M. Worsham walked onto the bridge to open the gates while Worsham's partner, Patrol Agent Wayne Winn, Jr., remained with an apprehended alien in a Border Patrol vehicle at the end of the bridge. After opening the gates and while walking back toward the vehicle, Agent Torres stumbled and fell headfirst through an opening in the bridge to the river bottom, a distance of 25 feet. The fall was witnessed only by the alien, as Trainee Worsham and Agent Winn were not facing toward Torres when the accident took place.
The officers immediately went to the aid of Agent Torres, and an ambulance soon removed him to Providence Memorial Hospital. He expired at 4:55 a.m., the cause of death being listed as concussion.