November 13 - November 19
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
I started authoring these newsletters/blogs as an email in September 2021. The emails were clunky and formatting issues were common. Most of the recipients had not asked to be on the list, meaning I was sending out unsolicited emails (spam!?!). But I knew I had all of this great information that I thought people would like to receive and I was trying to share it with people that I thought wanted to receive it and could put it to good use.
In April 2022, I paid the website/email provider extra to be able to format the emails as a newsletter, what you're viewing right now. Before, I had been limited to 100 recipients per email and the formatting struggles had become tiresome. Surprisingly, under the new system, the provider had a requirement that all recipients must request or agree to receive these newsletters, an instruction the I follow seriously and think is good (I'm not a spammer). I only want to send these to people who want to receive them. With the new capability, I can send the newsletters to up to 500 people (there are less than 250 people on the list right now).
As I've written before, I author these newsletters and help maintain HonorFirst.com because I have the perception that I'm making a difference for the current and former workforce. I think of myself as an advocate for the Patrol and the workforce and this is one of the ways for me to contribute.
I started writing these intro pieces several months ago with the intention of improving organizational pride and employee morale by influencing and/or inspiring current USBP leadership to act: to define and drive culture, and to focus on the workforce. My approach has been to highlight a problem and to provide a solution.
I do not know how successful or influential these newsletters have been or are. Even though he didn't say, I like to think that Chief Ortiz reversed his prohibition of recognizing the worthy past acts of USBP employees due in part to these newsletters, and my postings on Instagram and Twitter (also see this newsletter).
Unfortunately, very few USBP personnel in leadership positions have asked to receive these newsletters. Sadly, no Senior Executives or GS-15's at HQ have asked or are on the list... That means that those in significant positions of influence are unaware of the information and suggestions that have been shared here. People like:
Those aforementioned folks sit in key positions for formulating decisions and policies over nearly every subject I've covered. None of them receive this newsletter. They are able to provide solutions to the Patrol's woes, driving beneficial change throughout the organization. Or, those are the people who are the proverbial "They" when referring to who is responsible when things go bad in the Patrol.
Now, I do know that many of you are far more connected and influential than me. So, if I should happen to write something that you think would benefit the workforce, please forward it to someone who can do good for the Patrol! Maybe, one of those folks above?
Remember, morale is based not on fact, but on employee perceptions. Where do you think the USBP workforce is right now? I found the 3-minute video below to be very insightful.
This week starts with Jeff Milton's 1905 permanent appointment as a Chinese Inspector. We have a 1928 letter indicating early training of Border Patrol Inspectors. And, we have a 1956 document that is believed to be the Patrol's 4th uniform policy.
We do not have any Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries. However, I am highlighting retired Border Patrol Agent Lazaro Alvarez, who was recognized with the Newton-Azrak Award in 1993.
We also remember four of our fallen on the anniversaries of their deaths.
Enjoy the blog and have a great week!
Two items I want to mention from last week:
Theo D. Hudson - nomination memo, 1992 commissioner's awards pamphlet
Senior Patrol Agent
Presented on March 19, 1992, to Senior Border Patrol Agent Theo D, Hudson for his outstanding and innovative contributions to the Intelligence Program in the Tucson Sector of the United States Border Patrol. His innovations have greatly enhanced the law enforcement efforts of this Sector in combatting narcotic and undocumented alien smuggling. During the period April 1, 1990 to March 31, 1991, while assigned to duties as Intelligence Agent, Theo D, Hudson designed and developed a "situation board" for tracking and documenting narcotic and undocumented alien entries into the United States which successfully evaded our apprehension. This system now enables the Tucson Sector to identify the trends, patterns and methods used by smugglers to avoid detection. It has been directly linked to the detection of three (3) major air smuggling routes through southeastern Arizona, the-seizure of numerous tons of marijuana and the apprehension of hundreds of undocumented aliens and their smugglers. Smugglers are now forced to resort to more radical and unconventional methods of smuggling, such as the recently discovered "Cocaine Tunnel" in Douglas, Arizona. Due to the proven value of this system of intelligence gathering in the Tucson Sector, Agent Hudson's system is currently being considered for service wide implementation.
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 this week. However, numbers Newton-Azrak Award recipients do not have a date associated with their actions. Such is the case with Border Patrol Agent Lazaro Alvarez, who is highlighted this week.
I am attempting to locate him so that I may be able to enrich HonorFirst.com with documents and photographs better detailing his significant contributions to USBP history.
Border Patrol Agent
In 1993, while off duty and at home, Border Patrol Agent Lazaro Alvarez heard a loud explosion at the Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park across from his residence. Agent Alvarez quickly responded and assisted three burned, elderly people get away from the burning building. He then learned that another elderly woman was trapped underneath the collapsed building. Agent Alvarez quickly gathered help to assist him with removing debris until he was able to extract her from the burning site and carry her to safety. Agent Alvarez continued rendering first aid to other injured residents until emergency medical technicians arrived.
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.
Ned D. Henderson
Date of Birth: December 19, 1905
Entered on Duty: December 26, 1929
Title: Autogiro Pilot
End of Watch: November 18, 1945
Ned D. Henderson, Autogiro Pilot, died on November 18, 1945, from injuries he received two days earlier when the autogiro he was piloting crashed near Sullivan City, Texas. Pilot Henderson was enroute to his official station at McAllen, Texas, following a detail to San Antonio. He was alone in the plane when it crashed at about 1:00 p.m., November 16, 1945.
A witness to the accident, Mr. Francisco Flores, stated that he noticed the aircraft coming from the west just before or about the time it hit an electric highline. The autogiro hit the ground and turned over about two times before it came to rest. Mr. Flores stopped his truck and ran over to the aircraft. He rushed over to Pilot Henderson, who was rolling on the ground just outside of the autogiro, his clothes and gloves on fire. Mr. Flores extinguished the flames and then improvised a shade from a blanket he had in his truck. Pilot Henderson was later removed to the McAllen Municipal Hospital by ambulance.
A physician's certificate indicates that Pilot Henderson suffered extensive burns about the face, neck, arms and legs; fracture of the right arm below the shoulder; and a deep cut across the forehead and right cheek. Death occurred at 1:30 a.m., November 18, 1945, about 36 hours after the accident.
James M. Kirchner
Date of Birth: December 15, 1931
Entered on Duty: November 3, 1954
Title: Patrol Inspector (Trainee)
End of Watch: November 15, 1954
While waiting to attend a training session at the Border Patrol Academy that was scheduled to commence in December, Trainee Kirchner and other new appointees were assigned to work with older and more experienced officers in and around El Paso.
On November 15, 1954, Trainee Kirchner was assigned to work the 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with Inspector Dove. Trainee Kirchner saw three persons coming from the direction of Mexico. The persons were up in the hills and estimated to be about 1/2 mile away. Inspector Dove and Trainee Kirchner proceeded on foot, separating. Inspector Dove intercepted the suspects and determined that they were of Mexican extraction and citizens of the United States. Trainee Kirchner was observed near the top of the hill and instructed, through hand signals, to return. During the descent, Trainee Kirchner was out of the view of Inspector Dove. When Trainee Kirchner did not return in a reasonable time and did not respond to being called, Inspector Dove began searching for him. Trainee Kirchner was found slumped to the ground, face forward. After a hurried examination, Inspector Dove applied artificial respiration in an effort to revive Trainee Kirchner but was unsuccessful. Leaving one of the citizens with the body. Inspector Dove went to the McNutt Oil Refinery and called Border Patrol Headquarters. He then returned to the scene and waited until Trainee Kirchner's body was removed.
Date of Birth November 7, 1972
Entered on Duty: February 12, 1996
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 16, 2016
On November 15, 2016, Agent Gomez suffered a heart attack while on bicycle patrol duty near El Paso, Texas. He subsequently passed away at a local hospital on November 16, 2016.
Border Patrol Agent Gomez was assigned to the El Paso Station of the El Paso Sector. He entered on duty on February 12, 1996, as a member of Border Patrol Academy Class 299.
He is survived by his wife, three children and parents.
Date of Birth January 15, 1981
Entered on Duty: August 12, 2013
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 19, 2017
On November 18, 2017, Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was patrolling along Interstate 10 in a remote area outside of Van Horn, Texas, when fellow agents were alerted that he and another agent were in distress. When fellow agents located Agent Martinez, he was unresponsive and severely injured. Agent Martinez was taken to the local hospital in Van Horn and later transported to a medical center in El Paso, Texas, where he succumbed to his injuries on November 19, 2017.
Agent Martinez entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on August 12, 2013, as a member of the 1018th session of the Border Patrol Academy, and he was assigned to the Van Horn Station in the Big Bend Sector. Agent Martinez served with the United States Border Patrol for over 4 years.
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.