December 19 - December 25
“Organizational pride is the positive feeling experienced by employees from being part of a meaningful team that is rich in history, tradition and culture.” - Honor First and Esprit De Corps
- Although written about 16 years before the creation of the Border Patrol, this request for an extension of leave without pay contains two names of Border Patrol significance. On December 20, 1908, Jeff Milton was on annual leave and requested an extension without pay. The memo was to be route through channels to the Secretary of Labor but was approved by Frank Berkshire who would become the Father of the Border Patrol and the third person to be Chief of the Border Patrol.
- It should be noted, as per documents that supported Jeff Milton's retirement in 1932, he neither had been a Border Patrol Inspector nor a member of the Border Patrol. However, he was a well-known law enforcement officer in the El Paso District, which encompasses modern day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sectors. It is thought that the leaders of the newly formed Border Patrol used Jeff Milton's rugged independence as an example for new inspectors to follow. This led to him mistakenly being considered the first Border Patrol Inspector. Concerning a first Border Patrol Inspector, evidence indicates that there was not a "first" Border Patrol Inspector that hirings were conducted simultaneously throughout the nation.
- On December 21, 1927, three Border Patrol Inspectors were involved in a close-quarters gunfight with four alcohol smugglers in El Paso, Texas. This document which contains several cover memos and sworn statements, describes the encounter where one smuggler was killed, two incapacitated with strikes to the head and one apprehended without injury. Concerning the action, Acting Commissioner-General (and former “Chief” of the Border Patrol) George Harris wrote:
- The Bureau is satisfied that the shooting was justified in every way and the officers involved are hereby commended for their good judgement, coolness and self-restraint under most trying conditions.
- Earliest known reference to create a Border Patrol Academy
- On December 22, 1934, Chief of the Border Patrol Willard Kelly wrote a memo to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The memo is significant in that it demonstrates that the Border Patrol did not have a national training school and it identifies that the training plan developed by the El Paso District was, “… extensive, the subjects well chosen, and the plan of instruction excellent.”
- Later that same day (December 22, 1934), under the direction of the Commissioner, Chief Kelly sent a memo to all of the border districts (except for the El Paso District). The memo shared the El Paso District training plan, requested all other districts to explain how they trained new inspectors and invited them to give suggestions and comments.
- It should be noted, a photograph (courtesy of the Border Patrol Museum) of a Border Patrol training class that was in session December 3, 1934 - March 17, 1935, is used as the birthdate of the USBP Academy. It is unknown if Camp Chigas had been used by the El Paso District (Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend Sub-districts) to train district employees before that photo. However, the concept of creating a national academy had been discussed and researched in 1934 (see this document and this document). Records were not kept that identified the date that Camp Chigas began training all Border Patrol new hires and therefore became the national Academy. Nevertheless, 1936 is the year that documents support that having occurred.
(Also see 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
- No Newton-Azrak Award anniversaries for the week.
As of December 8, 2021, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 151* fallen.
- 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
- 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
- 99 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 - His name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial (see link) but he is not recognized as officially fallen by the U.S. Border Patrol. His EOW was November 7, 1999.
Robert H. Lobdell
Date of Birth: May 15, 1898
Entered on Duty: June 16, 1928
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: December 25, 1928
Patrol Inspector Lobdell was shot and killed instantly on the night of December 25, 1928, near Roseau, Minnesota, by an individual who was suspected of being an alien entering the United States illegally. Inspector Lobdell was shot while he was attempting to get the individual into the patrol car for transportation to Warroad, Minnesota. The murderer was apprehended the following day, but he denied his guilt and steadfastly refused to make any statement that would reveal his past history. He was later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota. Reportedly, he subsequently corresponded with the judge of the court in which he was tried, confessing that he had killed Patrol Inspector Lobdell.
As per this document, his wife received $52.50 per month upon his death.
George R. DeBates
Date of Birth: November 19, 1972
Entered on Duty: April 25, 1999
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: December 19, 2004
On December 19, 2004, Agent George R. DeBates was involved in a single-vehicle accident while on patrol near Pisinimo, Arizona. He died as a result of his injuries.
Agent DeBates was working on a camp detail while assigned to the Casa Grande Station. Agent DeBates is the fourth Department of Homeland Security employee to die in the line of duty since the Department was created in March 2003.
Originally, from Wisconsin, Agent DeBates was a graduate of the 403rd session of the Border Patrol Academy. A four-year veteran of the Border Patrol, Agent DeBates was assigned to the Casa Grande Station, on detail to the Ajo Station.
Luis O. Peña Jr.
Date of Birth: July 16, 1977
Entered on Duty: January 27, 2003
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: December 23, 2019
On December 23, 2019, Border Patrol Agent Luis O. Peña Jr. succumbed to complications related to significant injuries he received from a vehicle accident (roll over) on the Tohono O’odham Nation on October 18, 2007. BPA Peña was medically retired on October 8, 2010.
Agent Peña entered on duty with the United States Border Patrol on January 27, 2003, as a member of the 538th session of the Border Patrol Academy. He was assigned to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station in the Tucson Sector following his graduation. Agent Peña served with the United States Border Patrol for over seven years.