May 8 - May 14
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
There are no Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries this week. But, I am highlighting five recipients from 1984 whose dates of action are unknown or whose actions spanned a timeframe. I should also mention that a Newton-Azrak Award recipient, George E. Evancheck (award statuette, notification letter), had somehow been omitted from any lists and was at risk of being forgotten. I have added him to the the HonorFirst Newton-Azrak Award page and will add more information once its found.
Also, among the anniversaries of the fallen are Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas, Jr. who fell due to the same incident in 2011. A sad fact is that the USBP has lost two Agents/Inspectors due to the same event nine times (18 fallen). Their names are listed below:
Have a great week!
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.
Esprit de Corps
The workplace climate resulting from a combination of organizational pride and employee morale.
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.
Newton-Azrak Award Action Anniversaries
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
There are no Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries for the week. However, there are many actions for which the date is unknown. I will highlight some of those below. In 1984, five people were presented Newton-Azrak Awards and their dates of action are not known.
Investigator Mark Cangemi was recognized for a successful undercover operation resulting in the break-up of two major smuggling rings operating in the U.S., which moved more than 175 aliens per month, and grossed over $700 thousand monthly. Cangemi, at risk to himself, worked undercover as a transporter for a major smuggling organization operating out of Chicago from July 1983 to May 1984. He transported illegal aliens, had numerous contacts with organization members, including the Mexican connection, and met other members who were involved in the sale of narcotics, firearms, and counterfeit documents. As a result of this extremely dangerous assignment, the Service was able to uncover the widespread movement of hundreds of Yugoslavian aliens into the U.S. through Mexico from Europe.
Oscar H. Garza Jr.
Stephan A. Peregoy
Investigator Oscar H. Garza Jr. and Investigator Stephan A. Peregoy were recognized for their unusual courage in a life-threatening situation involving investigation of a violence-oriented alien smuggling organization named “Las Tejas.” The investigation resulted in the arrests of over 100 organizational principals, apprehension of 2,000 aliens, and the seizure of 85 vehicles. Additionally, the Government of Mexico agreed to prosecute the organization head, who was continuing to direct the operation from the sanctuary of Mexico.
John A. Kalabus
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent John A. Kalabus was recognized for saving a potential drowning victim from the Colorado River. While patrolling along the Mexican Border, Kalabus encountered two illegal aliens, one of whom jumped into the river attempting to return to Mexico. He was caught in a whirlpool and unable to get free. Without thought to his own safety, Kalabus swam to the alien and after several efforts, was successful in breaking the alien and himself free from the strong undertow and returning safely to shore.
Michael A. Lewis
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent Michael A. Lewis was recognized for his courageous actions in saving three aliens from possible drowning. During a farm and ranch check, a number of illegal alien workers began fleeing when Lewis spotted three who had jumped in a nearby 16-foot deep canal. Two of the aliens were able to reach the other side but the third was floundering helplessly in the middle of the canal. Lewis, at risk to his own life, jumped into the water and upon reaching the panic-stricken alien, was able to gain control and pull him to safety. He then proceeded to assist the other two individuals, who were still in the canal, by swimming to them with a lifeline and pulling them to safety.
As of December 8, 2021, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 151* fallen.
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.
Charles L. Hopkins
Date of Birth: February 23, 1881
Entered on Duty: December 24, 1912
Title: Mounted Watchman
End of Watch: May 8, 1919
On May 8, 1919, at 10:15 p.m., Mounted Watchman Charles Lloyd Hopkins was shot by smugglers on the banks of the Rio Grande River, near Laredo, Texas. He died three hours later in Mercy Hospital, Laredo. Reportedly, the shot that killed Mounted Watchman Hopkins was the first one fired in a general gun battle between smugglers and federal officers in which a United States Public Health Service Guard, Ira Hill, and several of the Mexican smugglers were also killed.
Richard A. Lugo
Date of Birth: August 14, 1935
Entered on Duty: July 18, 1966
Title: Patrol Inspector (Trainee)
End of Watch: May 14, 1967
On May 14, 1967, Patrol Inspectors (Trainee) Richard A. Lugo and Bruce A. Plaskett were assigned to maintain sign cutting drag strips and to deliver tire drags to selected sites. They were enroute from their official station, Yuma, Arizona, to Andrade, California, traveling north on Levee Road at approximately 40 miles per hour. Without advance indication that anything was wrong, the right rear tire of the 1966 International Scout suddenly deflated, causing the rear end of the vehicle to swerve radically. Trainee Lugo lost control of the vehicle, which skidded and overturned. The vehicle came to rest on its left side with the top crushed in almost to the level of the body. Trainee Lugo was killed instantly, his head having been crushed when the vehicle overturned.
Xavier G. Magdaleno
Date of Birth: September 9, 1950
Entered on Duty: September 15, 1980
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 10, 1995
On May 10, 1989, Border Patrol Agent Xavier G. Magdaleno and his partner were driving their vehicle alongside the railroad tracks in an area of the El Paso Sector known as the “slag pits.”
The agents were driving east between the slag piles and outbound tracks. A train was coming toward them on these tracks. Once clear of the slag piles, Agent Magdaleno tried to execute a 180-degree turn. The wheels of the vehicle began to slide in the soft slag. The vehicle would not respond to the steering wheel; instead, it plowed forward, alongside the incoming tracks. The agents did not see the incoming train because of the slag piles and the curve of the track until it was about 75 yards from the vehicle. Agent Magdaleno put the vehicle into reverse in an attempt to get out of the train’s way. However, the train struck the vehicle on the passenger side and threw the rear of the vehicle toward the track, striking it again. On the initial impact, Agent Magdaleno’s partner was thrown out of the vehicle away from the train. The second impact threw Agent Magdaleno out of the vehicle, and it came to rest on top of him. He was pinned under the wreckage for 45 minutes. When freed, he was taken to R.E. Thomason General Hospital, where surgery was performed. He was paralyzed from the neck down, requiring ventilator assistance. He died from his injuries on May 10, 1995. Agent Magdaleno was a graduate of the 139th session of the Border Patrol Academy and was assigned to the El Paso Station at the time of his death.
Richard M. Goldstein
Date of Birth: September 10, 1969
Entered on Duty: March 25, 2002
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 11, 2007
On May 11, 2007, Agent Richard M. Goldstein drowned in the Coachella Canal near Niland, California, east of the Salton Sea. After he went missing, Agent Goldstein’s canine partner was found sitting alongside his vehicle, which was parked and idling near the canal. The Customs and Border Protection and California Highway Patrol Air divisions assisted several Border Patrol Agents in the search for the missing agent. A short time later, he was found drowned a few miles from his vehicle.
Agent Goldstein’s K-9 partner, Carlo, was wet, and markings in the area indicated the dog had been in the water and struggled to get out of the canal. Early reports indicated that Agent Goldstein entered the canal in order to rescue his K-9 partner.
Agent Goldstein was a five-year veteran of the Border Patrol and was assigned to the El Centro Sector’s Indio Station.
Hector R. Clark
Date of Birth November 16, 1971
Entered on Duty: August 20, 2001
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 12, 2011
On the morning of May 12, 2011, Border Patrol Agent Hector R. Clark, and his partner Lead Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Rojas, Jr., were killed when a freight train struck their government vehicle. The accident occurred near the intersection of Interstate 8 and Paloma Road, approximately nine miles west of Gila Bend, Arizona. Agents Clark and Rojas were assisting other agents in pursuit of a group of suspected illegal aliens at the time of the accident.
Agent Clark, a native of the Yuma, Arizona community, began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on August 20, 2001, as a member of the 481st Session of the Border Patrol Academy. Following his graduation, he was assigned to the El Centro Station in the El Centro Sector. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the Yuma Station in the Yuma Sector. Agent Clark was 39 years old and is survived by his wife and two children.
Eduardo Rojas, Jr.
Date of Birth October 14, 1976
Entered on Duty: April 9, 2000
Title: Lead Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 12, 2011
On the morning of May 12, 2011, Lead Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Rojas, Jr., and his partner Border Patrol Agent Hector R. Clark, were killed when a freight train struck their government vehicle. The accident occurred near the intersection of Interstate 8 and Paloma Road, approximately nine miles west of Gila Bend, Arizona. Agents Rojas and Clark were assisting other agents in pursuit of a group of suspected illegal aliens at the time of the accident.
Agent Rojas entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on April 9, 2000, as a member of the 432nd Session of the Border Patrol Academy. Upon graduating from the academy, he was assigned to the Yuma Station in the Yuma Sector. Agent Rojas was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector at the time of his death. He was a native of El Paso, Texas, and a graduate of Irvin High School. Agent Rojas was 34 years old, and is survived by his wife and two children.
Date of Birth: June 28, 1977
Entered on Duty: June 16, 2002
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 8, 2021
Agent Vasquez entered on duty on June 16, 2002, as part of the 515th Session of the Border Patrol Academy. The circumstances of his passing were reviewed by an executive panel and the CBP Commissioner who determined that this death occurred in the line of duty. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the El Paso Station, El Paso Sector, Texas. His line-of-duty death occurred on May 8, 2021.
He is survived by his wife: Inez; sons: Alexander, Christopher, and Abram; daughter: Samantha; parents: Jose and Maria Vasquez; and brothers: Jose and Frank Vasquez.
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Blog author, retired U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief and, current U.S. Border Patrol employee advocate.
Site founder and owner, former Senior Patrol Agent and retired Immigration Special Agent.
U.S. Border Patrol historian and retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent.
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