September 11 - September 17
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
*** News Flash ***
On September 8, 2022, Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean L. McGoffin presented Newton-Azrak Awards to the following Border Patrol Agents:
I do not have a description of their actions yet, but will update the HonorFirst Newton-Azrak Award page once I receive them.
Including them, there have been 190 people that have received the Newton-Azrak Award; 164 Border Patrol Agents and 26 INS employees. See the Honor First Newton-Azrak Award page for more information.
Recently, I have been referencing retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Joe Banco's USBP history books in the these emails. If you haven't already, please visit and explore his website at - www.migrajoe.com and visit the Border Patrol Museum's Gift Shop to purchase his books. Thanks!
Now to the intro...
Yesterday, I watched the latest What's Important Now (WIN S2 E9) video from the Border Patrol Academy. Academy Chief Patrol Agent Ryan Landrum interviewed Tony Barker, the Acting Chief of the Law Enforcement Operations Directorate which is the USBP's #3 position. Near the end of the video, at the 42:30 mark, Chief Barker speaks of what keeps him up at night. He began his answer with, "the health of the organization". He was referring to the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol, the workforce. He wants them to be, "healthy, resilient, strong, confident." Which got me thinking...
Every week, I include the Esprit de Corps section. That's how important I believe it to be. The interesting thing about Esprit de Corps, organizational pride, and employee morale, is that they are not based on facts... They are based on employees' perceptions. They are based on how employees feel. They may be gauged, in large part, on the employees' answers to the following questions:
It is the challenge of every leader that their employees answer each of those questions with a resounding "Yes". Anything short of a resounding "Yes" may be evident in such things as:
There are other examples I could provide, but you get the point...
Now, the USBP is second to none in responding to emergencies experienced by the workforce. There is a cadre of incredible Border Patrol Chaplains and Peer Support members to respond at a moment's notice, especially when an employee suffers a crisis. When a USBP employee is killed in the line of duty, the Honor Guard will never leave the fallen's side until the time of interment. These are great and fantastic supports! But, valuing the workforce is more than supporting them during emergencies, it's being there, supporting them, every day.
Using myself as an example... I retired at 51 years old, from a position that I had proposed and was approved, and that I absolutely loved. I was the USBP's Historian, regularly visiting the National Archives, uncovering gems of the Patrol's history that had been lost. I was Patrol's Awards Coordinator, tirelessly advocating to better recognize the incredible and worthy actions of the workforce. But I answered one of the questions above in the negative. My perception remained unchanged until retirement was the best option for me. However, it would have been very easy for my leadership to have changed my perception...
While assigned to HQ, we would commonly brief leadership on various initiatives. There was a catch phrase, Getting them to the "yes", which meant convincing leadership to approve the proposal. Years later and I realize, Getting them to the "yes", has another meaning that may be more important to the Patrol. It's not about getting leadership to the "yes", it's about leadership getting the workforce to the "yes". Leadership, for the benefit of the workforce and the organization, must get employees to the "yes"!
Employees ask themselves:
Forgive me for getting a bit soapboxy there. My passion for the Patrol and the workforce was ignited. Hopefully, you found it informative and/or inspiring.
Now to this week's email!
This week begins with a 1911 document modifying the per diem rate for Mounted Inspectors. It was 43 years ago this week that authorization was given to create BORTAC. We also celebrate the Newton-Azrak Award anniversary by which 8 Blythe Station agents were involved in a harrowing gunfight.
We also remember four of our fallen on the anniversaries of their deaths.
Have a great 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.
Felix A. Ortiz
Border Patrol Agent
Rafael De Leon
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent
Victor H. Herrera
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent
Border Patrol Agent - Intelligence
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
On September 13, 2017, at approximately 1:20 a.m., Arizona's La Paz County Sheriff s Office called requesting assistance. The Arizona Department of Public Safety had a subject being held at gunpoint subsequent to a traffic stop on Interstate 10 westbound at Mile Marker 57 in Arizona. Shots were fired at the trooper by the driver of a vehicle, who then fled the scene. The trooper remained on scene with one subject at gunpoint, unable to initiate pursuit of the fleeing vehicle. Agents from the Blythe Integrated Targeting Team (ITT) responded to the call for assistance.
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Michael Rosamond assigned Blythe ITT agents to areas he believed the vehicle may be fleeing. Agent Rosamond witnessed a vehicle matching the description of the fleeing vehicle pass his position.
Agent Rosamond tried to initiate a vehicle stop; Border Patol Agents Juan Zuniga and Felix Ortiz assisted as secondary/backup agents. The driver failed to yield. Then, the vehicle began to pull to the shoulder, then slow rolled to a stop, in the westbound lanes. As the subject rolled to a stop, the driver exited the vehicle, shooting at the agents approximately four to five times. While under fire and with their vehicle being struck by gunfire, Agent Zuniga was able to return two rounds of fire. The driver fled toward the eastbound lanes on foot and hijacked a big-rig. Agents Zuniga and Ortiz continued the pursuit of the big-rig; Agent Rosamond remained with the vehicle and the driver of the big-rig to secure the scene as evidence.
As the driver was absconding in the hijacked big rig there was an exchange of gunfire with Border Patrol Agent Reyes Fimbres on the Exit 17 off-ramp.
Blythe ITT Border Patrol Agents Victor Herrera, Erik Herrera, Juan Zuniga, and Felix Ortiz experienced a further exchange of gunfire with the subject on Main Street in Quartzsite, Arizona. At this time the subject was driving the big-rig in reckless regard for public safety, creating the potential of injury, death and significant property destruction. Blythe ITT agents Rafael De Leon and Alberto Lorona arrived on scene to assist. After the final exchange of gunfire, the subject was in custody. Agents rendered first aid on the scene and Emergency Medical Service responded shortly thereafter. Despite their life-saving efforts, the subject succumbed to his injuries while in route to the hospital.
Honor First note - This is the last Newton-Azrak Award given to a group. In 2018, the award's criteria changed. Since then, the award can only be given to individuals based on their specific actions during an event.
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.
James F. Mankin
Date of Birth: April 5, 1902
Entered on Duty: July 28, 1924
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: September 14, 1924
At about 4:30 p.m., September 14, 1924, Patrol Inspector James F. Mankin was killed by the accidental discharge of a service rifle. The accident occurred about 18 miles northeast of Laredo near the Rio Grande River where Patrol Inspector Mankin, along with Patrol Inspectors Buck West and Ralph R. Dockum, were patrolling in a government vehicle. The officers, upon reaching the banks of the river, alighted from the car to determine whether any crossings had been made. Upon returning to the car, Patrol Inspector Mankin, who had been driving, entered the vehicle and seated himself behind the steering wheel. Patrol Inspector Dockum prepared to enter the back seat of the car from the left side and Patrol Inspector West was to enter the back seat from the right side of the automobile. There were two rifles in scabbards in the back of the car along with camping gear and other articles.
The two officers were rearranging the items in the back of the car in order to make more room for themselves when a .30 caliber government rifle slipped out of the car, the hammer striking the running board and discharging the gun. The bullet struck the back of the front seat about six inches below the top. The bullet split, one part ricocheting to the left, striking the bow over the back seat and passing within a few inches of Dockum's face. The other part of the bullet ricocheted to the right through the upholstering of the front seat, striking Inspector Mankin behind the right ear.
Inspector Mankin died less than thirty minutes after the accident.
NOTE: For several years, Inspector Mankin was not carried in the rolls of the Immigration Service's honored fallen. This is evident by his name being omitted in the 1927 Commissioner-General's Annual Report to the Secretary of Labor (pg 18).
Survivor benefits - As per this document, his mother received $20 per month for 8 years.
Trena R. McLaughlin
Date of Birth: April 3, 1950
Entered on Duty: October 14, 1984
Title: Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: September 14, 2009
On July 14, 1994, Border Patrol Agent Trena McLaughlin was stuck with a syringe while searching a vehicle in Temecula, California. As a result of this incident, Agent McLaughlin tested positive for Hepatitis C in 1998.
After medically retiring from the Border Patrol in 2002, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Trena McLaughlin died of liver failure on September 14, 2009.
Agent McLaughlin served with the United States Border Patrol for 18 years and was a member of the 167th session of the Border Patrol Academy assigned to the Temecula Station later renamed the Newton-Azrak Station in the San Diego Sector.
Burial Details Unknown
Date of Birth February 6, 1987
Entered on Duty: September 1, 2008
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: September 15, 2012
On September 15, 2012, Border Patrol Agent Jeffrey Ramirez, died at the age of 25. Agent Ramirez had been hospitalized in Laredo, Texas since the onset of a heat-related illness on August 22, 2012.
Agent Ramirez entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on September 1, 2008, as a member of Border Patrol Academy Class 810. Following graduation from the Academy, he was assigned to the Hebbronville Station in the Laredo Sector.
Agent Ramirez is survived by his parents, sister, two brothers, son and a girlfriend. His brother is a Border Patrol Agent at the Freer Station.
Tyler R. Robledo
Date of Birth May 1, 1980
Entered on Duty: September 8, 2011
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: September 12, 2014
On September 12, 2014, Border Patrol Agent Tyler R. Robledo was involved in a two-vehicle accident near Carrizo Springs, Texas. Agent Robledo died of his injuries at the hospital shortly after the accident. The driver of the other vehicle also died. Agent Robledo was 34 years old at the time of his death and leaves behind his wife and two children.
Agent Robledo entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on September 8, 2011, as a member of the 988th session of the Border Patrol Academy. He was stationed at the Carrizo Springs Station at the time of his death.
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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 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.