June 26 - July 2
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
I thought I’d start this week’s update by repeating an answer to a question that was posed to me, “Why do you do this?” That question was in reference to helping Ray Harris manage HonorFirst.com, moderate the Applicant's Forum and Agent’s Forum, regularly contacting some you active folks, and generally remaining very engaged with the U.S. Border Patrol. For example, it takes me over two hours to create these weekly updates (and I still don’t catch all of the typos). Here’s the answer... <cue the patriotic music>…
The last three years of my career my motivation for doing the job, and pushing my chain of command was because I cared, in an Esprit de Corps sense, for the Patrol and the workforce (uniformed and non-uniformed). Interestingly, in a know thyself moment, I realized that I cared about the workforce more than the work. I cared more about those doing and who had done the job, than the job. That's what keeps me here. That's why I send emails to the active folks, author these emails, take daily USBP phone calls/emails, etc... I care because I care about the U.S. Border Patrol and its current and former employees, just like you. I send emails to current leadership and take calls nearly everyday, in the belief that I may have just a smidgeon of influence to make the being part of the USBP better for the workforce (past and present). The value to me is intrinsic. I makes me feel good to do good for “them". It makes me feel good when I can right wrongs or merely offer assistance.
Before I retired I used to say, “I’m an unapologetic advocate for the workforce.” In retirement, I realize that I never shed that identity.
<patriotic music fades to silence>
Thank you for your patience. Now to the update!
Notice that I've added a bit of commentary in the Esprit de Corps section. Take a short moment to read it. No matter where you work, the concepts are transferable.
The main highlight this week are:
We also remember the anniversaries of the actions that led to four agents receiving Newton-Azrak Awards. Three of those agents also were awarded the USBP Purple Cross for wounds received in the scope of duty.
Finally, we remember fallen Border Patrol Inspector Charles F. Inch.
Have a great week!
It's easy to scroll by this section as you get to the meat of the email. But realize, I purposely include this section every time because I think it's important. Organizations that lack organizational pride and high employee morale (Esprit de Corps) are not as effective and successful as otherwise possible. They will forever fail to meet full potential.
Those in positions of leadership have the obligation and responsibility to be vigilant in driving organizational pride and addressing employee perceptions. If not, the organization can be likened to a ship without a rudder that is destined to run aground on the rocks of low retention, high attrition and a multitude of other issues.
The definition of Esprit de Corps below is meant to be a guide and a constant reminder. Without comprehensive, deliberate and sincere effort by leadership, Esprit de Corps will slowly deteriorate.
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.
Charles A. Rodgers Jr.
Border Patrol Pilot
Del Rio Sector
On July 2, 1988, while patrolling the Rio Grande River near Del Rio, Texas via Service helicopter, Border Patrol Pilot Charles A. Rodgers Jr. located three persons, one male and two females, who had recently landed on the United States side of the river illegally by the use of tire inner tubes.
As he circled the area, he advised the party of three, utilizing the helicopter public address system, against attempting to return to Mexico by swimming because of the depth and swiftness of the river. He noticed that the male subject, who did not heed the warning and proceeded to swim across the river towards Mexico, was having difficulty remaining above the surface. Rodgers lowered the helicopter and advised the victim to grab the landing skid. The victim managed to grasp the skid but due to exhaustion could not hold fast. Rodgers made a final attempt to save the male subject by hovering dangerously above the surface and lowered the skid into the water, but the victim apparently lost consciousness and did not surface again. He gained altitude in order to direct the rescuer and allow him to help the victim, but the rescuer was also having difficulty staying afloat. With total disregard for his personal safety, Rodgers lowered the Service helicopter perilously to the surface of the river. The rescuer was able to clutch the skid and was taken to safety on the Mexican shoreline.
Juanita Santana - photo
Border Patrol Agent
On June 29, 1995, Border Patrol Agent Juanita Santana of the Tucson Border Patrol Station, was assigned to patrol a major smuggling route south of Tucson, Arizona.
Shortly after 5:00 p.m., Agent Santana observed a suspicious vehicle and conducted a normal vehicle stop. When she reached the rear door of the car, the driver, without warning, pointed a handgun out of his window and immediately began firing at her. Two shots struck her in the chest directly over her heart. Both bullets were stopped by a bulletproof vest she was wearing. A third shot struck her left forearm and completely penetrated it below the elbow. The fourth shot struck her ammunition pouch, which was fastened to her gun belt. This fourth bullet disintegrated on impact and Agent Santana was struck in the abdomen by shrapnel from the bullet.
Although struck four times and seriously wounded, Agent Santana drew her revolver and returned fire at the driver. Agent Santana ran back to her patrol vehicle and immediately began to pursue the fleeing suspects. She radioed for assistance and informed the Communications Center that she had been shot. Even though she was injured and bleeding heavily, she maintained her composure and clearly broadcast all pertinent suspect information.
She also received the USBP Purple Cross for this action.
Christopher D. Brinkhoff
Border Patrol Agent
Juan H. Villa
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent Christopher D. Brinkhoff and Border Patrol Agent Juan H. Villa were recognized for extraordinary courage and valor during the performance of their duties on June 30, 2005, when they discovered evidence that there were narcotics smugglers in the remote desert area of Nogales, Arizona. At approximately 12:25 p.m., the agents encountered a group of 10 to 12 individuals. Immediately, an unknown number of the group began to fire at the agents. During the exchange of gunfire, both Agents Brinkhoff and Villa were shot in the right leg. The agents, suffering from shattered femurs, relayed via radio that they were down and needed assistance. A subsequent search of the area revealed 498.1 pounds of marijuana hidden in the brush.
Both agents received USBP Purple Crosses for the action.
As of May 16, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 152* fallen.
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 F. Inch
Date of Birth: April 8, 1902
Entered on Duty: October 14, 1930
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: June 26, 1932
The limited information available relative to Patrol Inspector Charles F. Inch indicates that he was attempting to board a moving freight train but was thrown from it, the wheels passing over his body. He was pursuing two aliens who were attempting to enter illegally from Canada. The fatal accident occurred in the Michigan Central tunnel yard at Detroit, Michigan, on June 26, 1932.
Survivor benefits - As per this document, his mother and father received $46.50 per month.
Help spread the word!
Blog author, retired U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief and, current U.S. Border Patrol employee advocate.
Site founder and owner, former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent and retired Immigration Special Agent.
U.S. Border Patrol historian and retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent.
I prefer that you leave comments. However, if you wish to contact me, please do so by emailing Cliff@HonorFirst.com.