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Esprit de Corps
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.
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 April 5, 1904, the Secretary of Commerce and Labor wrote a letter to Marcus A. Smith concerning the appointment of Jeff Milton as a Chinese Inspector. The Secretary’s letter was response to a February 23, 1904 letter of recommendation from Mr. Smith.
- Contrary to Border Patrol lore, as per documents that supported Jeff Milton's retirement in 1932, he was neither a Border Patrol Inspector nor a member of the Border Patrol. He was a well-known law enforcement officer in the El Paso District, which encompasses modern day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors. It is thought that the leaders of the newly formed Border Patrol used Jeff Milton's rugged independence as an example for new inspectors to follow. This led to lore mistakenly identifying him as the first Border Patrol Inspector.
- On April 5, 1932, the Inspector in Charge of in San Diego, California wrote a multipage memo addressing the enforcement cooperation between the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration Service. He also disagreed with a suggestion that the merging of the two organization could result in efficiencies through the reduction of manpower. The last paragraph in the memo references Frank Berkshire’s “Border Patrol” idea which would be realized about two years after this letter.
- On April 7, 1928, the Jacksonville District Director wrote a report to the Commissioner-General concerning the district’s manpower, assignments and locations. The district had three sub-districts, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach and Tampa. (Sub-districts would be renamed sectors in the 1940’s). This is the earliest, most complete report know for the area that is now Miami Sector.
- On April 3, 1929, Grover Wilmoth, the El Paso District Director issued a memo concerning the care, condition and operation of motor vehicles. The El Paso District contained three sub-districts that correspond to modern day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors.
- On April 4, 1935, the District Director of the Jacksonville wrote memo concerning the courses of study in two of the district’s three sub-districts. The Jacksonville memo was in response to a memo written December 22, 1934, by Supervisor (Chief) of the Border Patrol Willard Kelly requesting information concerning the manner in which new Border Patrol Inspectors were trained.
- On April 7, 1936, Supervisor (Chief) of the Border Patrol Willard Kelly wrote a clarification memo concerning positions (ranks) within the Border Patrol. The memo makes the unofficial position of “Assistant Chief Patrol Inspector” an official position. It also makes two classes of Chief Patrol Inspectors, a concept that still exists today with GS-15 and SES Chief Patrol Agents (even though they share the same two-star rank insignia). Further, the memo references the position of “District Supervisor of Border Patrol”. Although not defined in the memo, the position of Assistant Superintendent, originally created in General Order 61, was most likely renamed District Supervisor of Border Patrol with this memo.
(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
John K. Crowther
Border Patrol Agent
Del Rio Sector
Border Patrol Agent John K. Crowther was recognized for his courage in attempting to rescue two men from the Rio Grande River. On the night of April 6, 1993, Agent Crowther was performing river patrol when he spotted three individuals attempting to illegally enter the U.S. at a weir dam located upriver from the Del Rio, Texas International Bridge. Two of the subjects tried to get away by diving into the water near the dam. This part of the river, filled with strong currents and dangerous undertows, had caused numerous drowning deaths. Knowing the danger involved and putting his own life at risk, Agent Crowther entered the water and attempted to rescue the two men. He managed to grab one of the men and pull him to safety. Agent Crowther tried to rescue the other man but could not locate him. Agent Crowther put his own life at risk to save another person from certain death, exhibiting great courage with his act of heroism.
Border Patrol Agent
El Centro Sector
Forrest J. Mauldin
Border Patrol Agent
El Centro Sector
At approximately 12:15 a.m. on April 8, 1994, Agents Marshall Tjaden and Forrest J. Mauldin observed a group of nine suspected narcotics smugglers approximately one mile west of Drop 4 on the All American Canal. The nine suspects were ferrying large bundles of contraband, in this case marijuana, across the canal in a rubber raft. Agents Tjaden and Mauldin advised SBPA Donn Hoberg of the situation, who then instructed Agents Arballo and Lee to respond and assist Agents Mauldin and Tjaden.
At the point on the canal where this activity was taking place, the canal is approximately one hundred yards wide, deep, and had an extremely swift moving current. It should also be pointed out that on this particular night, the weather conditions were poor. The wind was strong, gusting up to 30 miles per hour and the temperature was in the forties.
Agents Tjaden and Mauldin maintained surveillance on the group until all nine suspects, with large bundles of contraband and the rubber raft were all out of the canal and on the north side of the north berm of the canal. Agents Tjaden and Mauldin began to sneak up on the group and got into position less than eight feet from them. They made their move and apprehended two of the nine suspects and 366.5 pounds of marijuana.
While Agents Tjaden and Mauldin were securing the apprehension scene and checking the immediate area for the seven suspects who had fled, they heard screams coming from the direction of the canal. Agent Tjaden climbed to the 40-foot berm and saw an individual in the berm. The person was screaming for help and appeared to be drowning. Agent Tjaden called for Agent Mauldin to assist him. Agent Mauldin climbed to the top of the berm while Agent Tjaden ran down to the canal bank.
At this point, Agents Arballo, Lee, and SBPA Hoberg arrived on the scene. Agent Mauldin guided Agent Arballo to his location on the north side of the canal. He then directed Agent Lee and SBPA Hoberg to the south side of the canal as the drowning man appeared closer to that side. Agent Tjaden was telling the man in the water not to fight the current, but to swim with it.
Agents Arballo and Mauldin were preparing to make another rescue attempt. This time, the drowning man was able to grab onto a small outcropping of brush, which slowed him down considerably.
Without hesitation, Agent Arballo again jumped into the icy water while Agent Mauldin anchored the tow strap. This time, Agent Arballo was successful in reaching the man. He grabbed the man and yelled for Agent Mauldin to start pulling. Agent Mauldin pulled as hard as he could, and after several minutes, managed to pull Agent Arballo and the drowning victim to safety.
Because of the extremely cold water, the distance they had traveled, which was over one mile, and because this entire ordeal had lasted approximately 30 minutes, Agents Arballo and Mauldin were physically exhausted.
Agents Arballo and Mauldin acted on instinct more than anything else. They disregarded the fact that a large load of narcotics had just been apprehended and the fact that the drowning man was probably one of the drug smugglers. They saw a person in desperate need of help, rushed to his aid, and saved his life.
What Agents Arballo and Mauldin did was extremely dangerous. However, they acted without hesitation. They thought about what there were going to do, planned their moves, and executed them to the best of their ability.
Marco A. Perez Jr. - photo, award certificate
Border Patrol Agent
San Diego, CA
On April 6, 2021, at approximately 6:58 A.M., beyond the call of duty, Border Patrol Agent Marco Perez put his own life at great personal risk and acted without hesitation to save a woman from certain death as she attempted to end her life. By leaning over the edge of the 459 foot Pine Valley Bridge and grabbing the suicidal victim that had just let go, Agent Perez placed himself in great personal danger. Agent Perez's conspicuous lifesaving actions brought great credit upon himself and the U.S. Border Patrol.
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 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.
Joseph P. Riley
Date of Birth: October 23, 1894
Entered on Duty: October 8, 1924
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: April 6, 1925
During the evening of April 4, 1925, Patrol Inspectors William A. Blundell and Joseph P. Riley were patrolling in a government owned car about 1 1/2 miles from Eureka, Montana, when the tie rod broke, causing the automobile to leave the roadway. The vehicle continued over a high bank and then into a ditch and turned over, pinning Inspector Riley under the steering wheel. Patrol Inspector Blundell was not seriously injured.
Patrol Inspector Riley sustained a fractured cervical vertebra and a spinal cord injury. He was conveyed to the Eureka Hospital, which was nearest the scene of the accident. The attending physician advised that Inspector Riley's condition was so serious that facilities were not available for providing proper attention at Eureka and he recommended moving the patient to Spokane, Washington. On April 5, Inspector Riley was transported by train to Spokane, Washington, where he was placed in the Sacred Heart Hospital. He succumbed at 6:00 a.m. on April 6, 1925, from respiratory paralysis.
Survivor benefits - As per this document, his mother received $20 per month for 8 years
Jason C. Panides
Date of Birth: December 27, 1974
Entered on Duty: March 9, 1998
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: April 4, 2001
On Wednesday, April 4, 2001, at 12:36 a.m., Border Patrol Agent Jason C. Panides was killed after assisting in the apprehension of a group of illegal aliens on Interstate Highway 35, north of Laredo, Texas. Agent Panides was in the southbound lane of the east access road when he was struck by a southbound truck. He was killed instantly.
Agent Panides was a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and was a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in criminal justice and psychology. He was a graduate of the 368th session of the Border Patrol Academy at Glynco, Georgia. At the time of his death, he was stationed at the Laredo North Border Patrol Station.