Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
This past week saw the 191st Newton-Azrak Award presented when Border Patrol Agent Leobardo Jacinto was recognized for a harrowing action that occurred in 2010. The 12th anniversary of his action is November 20th and is listed below with the other Newton-Azrak Award anniversaries.
Last week, I glossed over an incredible anniversary for the Patrol as as I wrote about Border Patrol Agent John "Charlie" Gigax. I glossed over is what I consider to be the genesis story of the Patrol. Rather than speak of a single document, I'm going to share the story...
For a quick background, I wrote the article in 2018 after having visited the National Archives several times beginning in December 2017. In my first research visit to the Archives, I found many of the documents in the article below. I would also find documents that would correct inaccurate Border Patrol history and folklore. Such as...
Where the Legend Began - Leading up to the Border Patrol's 75th anniversary in 1999, El Paso Sector was planning events and initiatives for the benchmark date. Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David B. Ham was assigned as the sector's lead. As part of the pending celebration, El Paso's Chief Patrol Agent tasked Chief Ham with creating a slogan for El Paso. Based on the common and incorrect belief that El Paso was the location of the first sector and station, as well as the location of the first National Border Patrol Training School, he coined the phrase, "Where the Legend Began".
However, historical documents show that El Paso was neither the location of the first "sector" nor the first station. When funding (pg. 240) was received in 1924, all of the first 32 "sectors" and stations came into being, simultaneously nationwide.
Not to lessen the value of the City of El Paso in Border Patrol history, it is believed that Frank Berkshire authored his proposals to create the Border Patrol while in his office El Paso. Evidence suggests that the building in which his office was located is still standing, the Mills Building. Please see the letterhead in this document. The story is in the article below...
The Father of the border Patrol
Frank Walton Berkshire
As early as February 1918, Berkshire had informed the Commissioner-General of the Bureau of Immigration of the need to form a unit with the intent of preventing violations of "…Customs, Immigration, Public Health and other Federal Statutes…" by patrolling the border. Berkshire was familiar with the mounted inspectors (also called mounted guard and mounted watchmen) and the Chinese inspectors. In addition, there was an immigration patrol of which Berkshire thought highly. His solution to control the border was not a suggestion to evolve or increase the size of any of those forces, but instead to create something entirely new, a border patrol.
On April 29, 1918, after numerous discussions with the Commissioner-General, Berkshire submitted a "Proposal to Establish an Immigration Service on the Land Boundaries." This first proposal recommended that a force of 1,608 men would be necessary to patrol the border. The plan suggested patrolmen should be paid between $900 to $1,500 per year dependent upon whether the government provided a horse and equipment. As the Supervising Inspector of the Mexican Border, his plan did not include staffing estimates for the Northern Border. In addition, no records have been located to indicate a similar Supervising Inspector existed for the Canadian Border.
Berkshire's proposal sparked a series of meetings in Washington, DC that included representatives from the Departments of Justice, State, War, Treasury, Navy, and Labor (see this document). The proposal was unanimously agreed upon and declared the most practicable that had been suggested. Interestingly, the Commissioner-General stated that the Bureau of Immigration had submitted a very similar plan to the Department of Labor in 1914 and 1915, which the Department had approved. However, the author of the plan was never identified, nor records of the plan located in the National Archives.
On June 7, 1918, Berkshire submitted his first detailed plan to implement the "proposed Border Patrol." It is in this document that the "Border Patrol" was presented as a proper noun, with capital letters. Berkshire's proposal included numerous patrol inspector ranks, guards, cooks, clerks and stablemen. The plan also included equipment such as automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, wagons, and horses. The plan specified the locations and numbers for all personnel and equipment. The total came to 1,950 employees at a cost of $4 million, including equipment.
On October 6, 1918, the Commissioner-General further defined the need to create a patrol force on the Canadian and Mexican Borders to enforce the Passport-Permit Regulations, Immigration and Chinese Exclusion Laws, and to "aid in the enforcement of other distinctly wartime measures." (see this document)
On November 3, 1918, in response to the Commissioner-General's directive to modify the earlier plan to the "least possible number of men," Berkshire submitted another proposal to create a Border Patrol of only 264 men. To save additional money, Berkshire's plan recommended absorbing the 71 mounted watchmen employed or authorized into the Border Patrol so that only 193 new personnel would need to be hired. His plan also specified where to station inspectors, by city, on the Southern Border. The plan was reduced from the original $4 million to a mere $700,000. (see this document) The Commissioner-General agreed with the plan and submitted it to the Secretary of Labor on November 8, 1918. The Commissioner-General's memorandum recommended that $500,000 budgeted to enforce the Passport Permit Regulations be used to fund the Border Patrol. (See this document)
On November 12, 1918, Acting Secretary John W. Abercrombie approved the plan and authorized the creation of the Border Patrol within the Bureau of Immigration. (See the second page of this document) However, as history shows, the Border Patrol was neither created nor funded in 1918, even with the Acting Secretary's approval.
By 1920, there were few Chinese inspectors and mounted watchmen, and the immigration patrol had been disbanded, yet Berkshire still saw a need for more to be done to address people surreptitiously entering the United States. In an effort to define the Immigration Service's responsibility and to frame the problem, Berkshire explained that nearly every person arrested near the border for violating an agricultural, customs, health or prohibition law, had also violated an immigration law. Berkshire expressed concern another Federal agency would overshadow the Immigration Service and would inevitably take the lead for border enforcement. (See this document)
From 1920 to 1922, a committee comprised of representatives from the Public Health Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Customs Service, the Prohibition Enforcement Service, the Federal Horticultural Board, and the Immigration Service held meetings about how best to approach enforcement near the border. (see this document) The Commissioner-General of the Bureau of Immigration was commonly present at these meetings and Berkshire's Border Patrol concept formed the agency's viewpoint. (see this document) By October 1922, the committee recommended the formation of a border patrol. (see this document)
On May 28, 1924, Congress passed an appropriations bill (Public Law 68-153, see page 240) providing funding to increase the "land-border patrol" functions the Bureau of Immigration had been conducting, in one manner or another, for years. Using this funding, the vision of Frank W. Berkshire was realized when the Commissioner-General ordered the hiring of patrol inspectors, and the Immigration Border Patrol was born.
This week we remember three Newton-Azrak Award recipients on the anniversaries of their actions.
And we remember Border Patrol Agent Thomas K. Byrd on the anniversaries of his death.
Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving!
- As an open and continuous invitation to current and former USBP employees, I am always accepting photos to post in the USBP Photo Galleries and in the Upholding Honor First pages. I sure would appreciate you visiting those pages and sending me anything that you think I could post (just send them to email@example.com).
- As always, make sure to explore all of the hyperlinks to documents and pages.
- Finally, please forward this blog to whomever you think may enjoy it.
The workplace climate resulting from a combination of organizational pride and employee morale.
- Organizational pride is the positive feeling experienced by employees from being part of a meaningful team that is rich in history, tradition and culture.
- Employee morale is the feeling experienced by employee based in part on their perception of:
- Being valued by the organization,
- Fairly compensated, and
- Performing meaningful work.
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.
- The subject of this document from November 25, 1918 isn’t as important as some of the other information it contains.
- This document identifies George Harris (1876-1941), the only “chief” of the Border Patrol to serve nonconsecutive terms, as being the “Assistant Supervising Inspector”. Approximately 1909-1922, future Chief and Father of the Border Patrol Frank Berkshire (1870-1934) was the Supervising Inspector of the Mexican Border District.
- The document also identifies the work location of Harris and Berkshire as the Mills Building in El Paso. That building is still standing and is the location in which Berkshire authored his proposals to create the Border Patrol in 1918 justifying that the City of El Paso is “Where the legend began”.
- The subject of this document from November 25, 1925 isn’t as important as some other information it contains.
- George Harris (1876-1941) was the District Director of the El Paso District (modern-day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors).
- A mechanic could and was appointed as an Acting Border Patrol Inspector.
- On November On November 21, 1929, El Paso District Director Grover Wilmoth (1884-1951) repeated a warning to all district employees concerning reading unofficial documents and engaging in unofficial conversation. This warning covered modern-day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors.
- This November 20, 1930, memo Jacksonville District Director Thomas V. Kirk (1862-1947) shows all Border Patrol positions and locations in the State of Florida. There were three sub-districts (sectors), Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa.
- Early documents like this one May 6, 1926, show that a Patrol Inspector’s career path would require becoming a Immigrant Inspector (later renamed an Immigration Inspector) to achieve higher Border Patrol positions. This document from November 26, 1956 demonstrates the difficulties of that promotional approach as different laws were enacted such as those effecting law enforcement retirement.
- On October 23, 1956, the Hungarian Revolution or Hungarian Uprising began. The first Patrol Inspectors were in place <to assist> on November 21, 1956, when the first plane load of Hungarian refugees arrived at nearby McGuire Air Force Base.
- From - HONOR FIRST: The Story of the United States Border Patrol - Volume II by Joseph Banco
- On November 21, 1983, Chief of the Border Patrol Roger P. "Buck" Brandemuehl (photo), signed a memo for the Implementation of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC).
- Many erroneously believe that U.S. Customs Service was disbanded or dissolved like the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This public law from November 25, 2002, clearly shows that the Customs Service was renamed the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, not disbanded/dissolved and assigned the U.S. Border Patrol to it (see page 186).
- Convicted in the murders of Border Patrol Inspectors Newton and Azrak:
- Mationg showed his lack of remorse or regret during a November 22, 2003, interview stating “Self-preservation motivated us. It had to be them or us....I deserved to be released like the others. I served my time. What do you want? Blood out of a rock? I can’t bring those people back.” Mationg would not be paroled and would complete his sentence on December 9, 2010, with his death while still incarcerated.
- From - HONOR FIRST: The Story of the United States Border Patrol - Volume II by Joseph Banco
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
- An organization’s values are codified in its awards system. Recognizing the achievements, service and heroism of employees is important. It is critical for those in positions of leadership to value the workforce. Awards are a fundamental manner for leaders to demonstrate appreciation to the workforce for upholding the organizational values. – U.S. Border Patrol Honorary Awards
Robert E. Lindemann
Senior Patrol Agent
On November 24, 1994, two small children were kidnapped in Windsor, Ontario, Canada by a suspect who had three warrants in Canada for Threats to Cause Death and Assault. The suspect, with the abducted children, then illegally entered the United States by running through the Port of Entry at Detroit, Michigan, in his vehicle.
Senior Patrol Agent Robert E. Lindemann immediately commenced an investigation into the incident. After a diligent investigation, utilizing numerous sources, Agent Lindemann was able to locate the abducted children in a barricaded house where he safely rescued the children. Agent Lindemann then returned the children back to the Canadian Police authorities and their grateful mother.
During this international incident, Agent Lindemann exhibited exemplary self-motivation in initiating this investigation. His professional demeanor in this incident reflects the highest standards of competence of the Border Patrol.
Border Patrol Agent
For heroic actions to save a deputy and hospital staff from a violent felon. On November 21, 2012, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Armando Ledezma was assigned to hospital watch duties at Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, Arizona. He heard a nurse shouting for security and immediately responded to the room from which the nurse had exited. As he entered the room, he saw a tall, heavyset man moving on the floor. As Agent Ledezma attempted to gain control of the man, he discovered that the subject was an inmate who had pinned an exhausted sheriff’s deputy to the floor and was struggling for the deputy’s holstered service weapon. At great personal risk, Agent Ledezma kept the inmate from getting the deputy’s weapon. Agent Ledezma grabbed one of the inmate’s hands, allowing the deputy to secure his weapon and control the inmate’s other hand. Agent Ledezma then handcuffed the inmate, ending the scuffle. Agent Ledezma’s brave actions and quick thinking saved the deputy from death or injury.
Leobardo Jacinto - photo, photo 2, award set
Border Patrol Agent
El Centro, CA
On November 20, 2010, while off duty, Border Patrol Agent Leobardo Jacinto quickly took action to assist two civilians whose vehicle had driven off the road into a canal. Without regard for his own safety, BPA Jacinto entered the canal and extracted the two occupants from the vehicle before it became completely submerged. He then performed CPR on one of the victims until emergency medical services arrived. BPA Jacinto exemplifies what it means to be a hero and the core values of the Border Patrol. BPA Jacinto's decisive actions brought great credit upon himself and the United States Border Patrol.
As of May 16, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 152* fallen.
- 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
- 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
- 100 Border Patrol Agents have fallen since 1970
- 1 Enforcement Analysis Specialist
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.
- Joe R. White - He is recognized as officially fallen by the U.S. Border Patrol but his name is not inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.
- John Charles Gigax - He is not recognized as officially fallen by Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol. The Border Patrol Foundation and the Border Patrol Museum also fail to recognize him. He is remembered by all except organizations containing "Border Patrol" in their title. He is remembered by the:
Thomas K. Byrd
Date of Birth: September 12, 1954
Entered on Duty: August 19, 1983
Title: Border Patrol Agent (Trainee)
End of Watch: November 21, 1983
Border Patrol Agent (Trainee) Thomas K. Byrd was struck by an eastbound vehicle at about 5:00 p.m. on the afternoon of November 21, 1983, when the motorcycle on which he was a passenger, lost control. The owner and driver of the motorcycle, Border Patrol Agent (Trainee) James Hearne, was unable to see a vehicle making a left-hand turn as he and Agent Byrd left the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to drop off a payment for class T-shirts that had been promised to the vendor by close of business on that date. Apparently, when Agents Hearne and Byrd left the training center, the sun was positioned in front of them in such a manner as to make visibility very difficult. When Agent Hearne realized that a vehicle in front of him was about to make a stop (or turn) it was too late to make a safe stop. Agent Hearne made a correction to the left side of the vehicle in an effort to avoid the collision, but lost control of the motorcycle in the attempt. The motorcycle fell to the ground throwing Agent Hearne into the path of the oncoming traffic. However, Agent Byrd was struck by a vehicle in the oncoming traffic and dragged for some distance. He was rushed to Brunswick Memorial Hospital by ambulance, where all efforts to save him failed. He was pronounced dead at approximately 7:00 p.m. by the attending physician. Both Agents Byrd and Hearne were attending the 151th Session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, Glynco, Georgia, when the accident occurred. Border Patrol Agent (Trainee) Byrd was a high academic achiever and was regarded with high esteem by the members of his class.