January 9 - January 15
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 employees based in part on their perception of being valued by the organization, fairly compensated and performing meaningful work.
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 January 15, 1908 an announcement for a Guard with the Immigration Service was issued. Those guards shouldn’t be confused with the Mounted Guards. The position of Guard would be long serving with the Immigration Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Detention Enforcement Officers, Immigration Enforcement Agents and modern ICE/ERO agents/officers could trace their lineage to the position.
- On January 13, 1930, the District Director of the El Paso District, Grover Wilmoth, wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning training the employees in his district which covers modern-day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors. The memo concentrated on Spanish instruction but also mentioned a law manual which could be carried by officers. This memo demonstrates the importance in training that the El Paso District placed on training. Within 5 years, the El Paso District would create a training school at Camp Chigas (click on the document to see its location), the location of the El Paso Sub-district HQ and the El Paso Station.
- See these early documents from the district:
- It should be noted, Grover Cleveland Willmoth was an employee of the Immigration Service/Immigration and Naturalization Service from January 20, 1908 until his death on January 21, 1951, 43 years! He became the District Director of the El Paso District in 1926. He was the El Paso District Director 1926-1951.
- He was the supervisor of future Chiefs of the Border Patrol George Harris, John W. Nelson and N. Donald Collaer.
- He submitted plans for border fences and provided opinions of immigration enforcement activities that were felt nationwide.
- In the position, every decision and initiative originating from his district was influenced and approved by him, to include:
- The Border Patrol motto - Honor First
- The El Paso District training school sometime between 1930-1934
- The National Border Patrol Academy in 1936
- Grover Wilmoth is the one of the most, if not the most, influential person to the development of U.S. Border Patrol’s culture in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
- On January 10, 1931, in El Paso, Texas, Senior Patrol Inspector Ammon Tenney and Patrol Inspector Charles Askins engaged in a gunfight with smugglers where approximately 12 rounds were fired and no injuries reported. See this file for the cover memo and sworn statements describing the incident.
- On January 9, 1941, most likely in anticipation of changing from Department of Labor to Department of Justice badges, Lemuel B. Schofield (Assistant to the Attorney General) issued a memo stating that if the, “…loss of a badge or credentials occurred through carelessness or negligence, the Central Office will take such disciplinary action as the circumstances surrounding the loss may seem to warrant, but in no instance will the penalty be less than suspension from duty and pay for a period of two days…” Plus, the officer would be required to pay for the lost items.
- Since April 4, 1928, the badges, cap insignia and buttons for Patrol Inspectors were, “Oxidized silver for Patrol Inspectors and Senior Patrol Inspectors; gilt as at present, for Chief Patrol Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents.”
- Although they are known to have existed, there are no known examples of Department of Labor, gilt (gold) Patrol Inspector badges. My guess is that the tenants of Honor First prevailed, all old Department of Labor badges were turned in by the employees (none “lost” as keepsakes), the old badges destroyed by the Central Office.
- See the documents in the file to see the Organizational Chart and map of all the District 13 employees and work locations. District 13 was the St. Paul District and primarily included the modern-day Grand Forks Sector.
- In the early 1950’s, there was a significant initiative to construct fencing on the border with Mexico. This document from January 11, 1954, shows the specs of one of the proposals.
(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
There are no Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries for the week. However, I would like to take the opportunity to use myself as a positive example.
On January 13, 2000, I was involved in a harrowing, nighttime, swift water rescue of two people (a brother and a sister). For that action, I was recognized with a $100 cash award and declared Agent of the Month. Fair to say, that should be considered an under-recognition for any employee risking their life in such a circumstance. However, at the time, it was the best those supervisors could offer.
In 2018, the USBP Honorary Awards policy enabled the Patrol to correct past wrongs through two separate sections (see below). In an example of the USBP valuing its workforce and upholding Honor First, my action was recognized 19 years later with the USBP Commendation with a “V” device, the Patrol’s second highest award for heroism. This was and is possible because the USBP Honorary Awards policy allows the Border Patrol to take care of its employees by recognizing past actions:
- Section 4.14 of the policy allows any current employee that has under-recognized or unrecognized acts of heroism to be nominated, approved and presented the appropriate Honorary Award using the modern criteria.
- Section 5.3 of the policy allows any current employee that has received a significant past recognition to be nominated, approved and presented the appropriate Honorary Award using the modern criteria.
Citation for extraordinary heroism
On January 13, 2000, while performing line watch duties near Laredo, TX, Agent Gill observed two subjects struggling to stay afloat in the Rio Grande River. At great personal risk, Agent Gill entered the river to rescue the individuals who were facing certain death. Upon reaching the victims, he kept them both above water by lifting them over his head while submerging himself. He remained underwater gaining footholds the river boom to propel them to the riverbank, only surfacing to take gasping breaths. Agent Gill's actions brought great credit to himself and the United States Border Patrol.
That was my story, how many others are there?
As of December 8, 2021, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 151* fallen.
- 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
- 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
- 99 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 - 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.