October 10 - October 16
Newton-Azrak Award Actions
Border Patrol Agent
On October 14, 1979 at approximately 10:30 p.m. a call was received by Border Patrol Agents at Rouses Point, New York that two men were walking in a sparsely populated rural area south on Cannon Corners Road near Mooers Forks, New York. Border Patrol Agent (BPA) Myron Merchant and another agent responded to the call. BPA Merchant took a surveillance position at the intersection of Cannon Corners Road and Route 11. Soon afterwards, BPA Merchant saw two men walking a short distance from his location. Suddenly the men ran into the woods. BPA Merchant notified the other agent by radio of the circumstances and followed the suspects into the woods. About fifty feet from the road BPA Merchant came under close range gunfire. One shot struck him in the upper abdomen, knocking him to the ground. One of the assailants walked toward him and raised his weapon in an apparent attempt to kill him. BPA Merchant instinctively rolled on the ground as the assailant fired narrowly missing him. BPA Merchant drew his weapon and returned the gunfire, killing the assailant. While seriously wounded, BPA Merchant marked the position of the dead man with his flashlight and then crawled on his back to the road where he was met by the agent he had earlier radioed.
During the gunfire the second man fled. He was captured later at a New York State Police roadblock in Mooers, New York. BPA Merchant’s ability and presence of mind to be able to give a description of the second man greatly contributed to his capture. The two men were later identified as two escapees who had been charged with murdering a Montreal, Quebec police officer and seriously wounding two other officers of that city. BPA Merchant’s actions that evening reflect his great personal courage and presence of mind during an emergency life and death situation.
Robert H. Arnold Jr.
Senior Patrol Agent
El Paso Sector
Herbert L. Williams
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
El Paso Sector
Senior Patrol Agent Robert H. Arnold Jr. and Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Herbert L. Williams were recognized for their acts of bravery and heroism during the pursuit of a narcotics load vehicle after it illegally entered the U.S. with 1,900 pounds of marijuana.
On October 12, 2002, Agent Arnold and his partner Border Patrol Agent Valerie Jaramillo pursued a narcotics load vehicle back to the Rio Grande River after it had entered the United States illegally. This occurred approximately 27 miles east of the Ft. Hancock, Texas Port of Entry.
The driver abandoned the vehicle (containing 1,900 pounds of marijuana) and crossed back into Mexico. The driver, along with several other armed assailants, began shooting into the United States at these agents. Agents Arnold and Jaramillo were ambushed and came under heavy gunfire. Agent Jaramillo was shot in the leg and the same bullet narrowly missed Agent Arnold. Additional rounds struck the engine compartment and battery, disabling their vehicle.
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Herbert L. Williams entered the area as back up and took heavy fire. Agent Arnold returned fire from cover. Agent Williams positioned his vehicle in the line of fire to provide additional cover so that Agent Jaramillo could be extracted safely. Agents in self-defense of the heavy automatic gunfire fired over 240 rounds. Agent Arnold removed Agent Jaramillo to Agent Williams vehicle and then left the scene to meet with a medical helicopter. Agent Williams provided cover fire as they left the area, at which time they were continuing to take heavy fire from Mexico. Agent Williams was able to safely get out of the line of fire and Agent Jaramillo subsequently recovered from her gunshot wound.
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.
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