I hope you’re having a great holiday season. I also hope you enjoy receiving these emails.
Ray and I are always striving to make HonorFirst.com a better site for the thousands of people who visit it each month. Especially, for the USBP applicants and, current and former agents/inspectors. As an open and continuous favor/requests, will you take a little time to visit the HonorFirst Photo Galleries and the the pages under Upholding Honor First? If you have any photographs or pictures of USBP related awards, please send them to me. I really want to grow these pages. Additionally, we really depend upon the active employees to keep the site current. Please let other active folks know that we’d love to post their photographs and awards here.
Finally, this week is the anniversary of the action for the most recent Newton-Azrak Recipient, Agent Michael Linder. I only saw his award pop up on social media. For the active folks again, please let me know whenever a new Newton-Azrak Award recipient is recognized so I can keep the page up to date and highlight the incredible works of the Patrol’s employees!
Enjoy this week’s update and have a happy New Year!
“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
- On December 31, 1910, Frank Berkshire (Father of the Border Patrol and the third person to be Chief of the Border Patrol) wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning the posting of a new civil service announcement for the position of “mounted inspector”. Here is the announcement.
- On December 27, 1927, two Border Patrol Inspectors engaged in a brief gunfight with approximately six alcohol smugglers. After an exchange of about four shots, the smugglers abandoned their load of alcohol which was seized. No injuries were reported. See the Border Patrol Inspector’s report here.
- On December 30, 1927, see the report of two Border Patrol Inspectors engaged in a brief gunfight with an alcohol smuggler. The smuggler was apparently wounded. Two aspect of the report stand out:
- “This report will indicate how liquor smugglers could very easily be shot from the rear without any reflection upon the officers doing the shooting.”
- “We captured 24 pints of tequila and six pints of American Straight Whiskey. Also one mouse-colored overcoat ad one Oxford shoe, left foot.”
- This undated list of uniform venders is believed to be from 1927.
- This undated map of the El Paso District contains tons of historic information for modern day Tucson, El Paso and Big Bend sectors.
- On December 27, 1933, Border Patrol Inspectors Mosely, Smith and Walthall engaged in a gunfight with smugglers Jose Estrada, Ramon Rice and Fidel Ortega near Cordova Island in El Paso, Texas. During the exchange of gunfire, Inspector Walthall and smuggler Jose Estrada were killed and, Inspector Smith and smugglers Ramon Rice and Fidel Ortega were wounded. Please see the following historic documents that are related to the incident:
- El Paso Sub-District, Chief Patrol Inspector Horsley’s report of the shooing.
- Diagram of the shooting
- Sworn Statement of Border Patrol Inspector Louis A. Smith
- Sworn Statement of Border Patrol Inspector Curtis D. Mosely
- Sworn Statement of smuggler Ramon Rico
- Sworn Statement of Maria Estrada de Lopez, mother of Jose Estrada, who was caught and admitted to tampering with evidence
- Sworn Statement of Carlotta Montes, girlfriend of Jose Estrada
- Sworn Statement of Eulalia Gasca, girlfriend of Ramon Rice
- These five pages of sketches and notes were found at the National Archives surrounded by documents from 1938. The documents appears to be the notes concerning updating the USBP uniform and includes insignia and “Ernie” associating the silver bar with a “jackass”. Most importantly is on page five which is believed to be the earliest sketch of what would become the U.S. Border Patrol Patch. See the HonorFirst History Page for more information.
- On December 27, 1944, longtime El Paso District Director Grover Wilmoth wrote a memo to INS HQ concerning arguments for and against consolidation of the Customs Border Patrol with the Immigration Border Patrol, and for and against a consolidated Border Patrol. His closing paragraph is – “I believe the arguments I have set forth against the consolidation of the Customs Border Patrol with the Immigration Border Patrol will apply as reasons against a consolidation of the both agencies under either the Justice or the Treasury Department.”
- Of course, the USBP would be incorporated with the U.S. Customs Service some 59 years later in 2003 when this public law renamed the Customs to CBP and assigned the U.S. Border Patrol to it (see page 186).
- On December 29, 1944, El Paso District Director Grover Wilmoth wrote a memo to Assistant Commissioner for Alien Control Willard Kelly (Chief of the Border Patrol 1933-1943) concerning the “Proposed consolidation of the Border Patrols”. His last paragraph was:
- On the whole, a reconsideration of the entire subject after the lapse of several years inclines me to agree with Mr. Hudson that each Service should maintain its own separate patrol. On the other hand, if there must be a consolidation, there is no doubt in my mind that the consolidated patrol would best operate in the Immigration Service, especially in view of our larger volume of apprehensions, and what I consider to be our better training methods. If the patrols are to be maintained separately I would suggest that there be a conference of responsible officials of the Customs Service and our Service and the Bureau of the Budget, to work out a plan of operation that will prevent conflict such as have occurred in the past.
(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
Mark M. Jones
Border Patrol Agent
Sevin K. Neufner
Border Patrol Agent
On December 30, 1998, Border Patrol Agents Mark M. Jones and Sevin Neufner were assigned boat patrol duties in the McAllen area of responsibility. While patrolling and area known for alien and narcotic smuggling activities, Agent Neufner, using night vision equipment, observed what appeared to be an individual in distress in the middle of the river. He informed his partner, Agent Jones, who was operating the boat and directed him to the person, who was struggling to stay afloat. While attempting to close the distance between the boat and the person, Agent Neufner observed him slip beneath the surface for several seconds and then reappear still struggling to stay afloat. Upon reaching this person, Agent Neufner observed him go underwater for a second time and acting instinctively, jumped into the river and grasped him by his shoulders, rotating his body to a position where his face was out of the water. Agent Jones assisted his partner by throwing in a line and pulling Agent Neufner and the person into the boat. Once safe inside the boat, the person began coughing out water he had swallowed and regained consciousness.
Michael G. Linder - photo
Border Patrol Agent
New Orleans, LA
On December 31, 2020, while off duty, Agent Linder witnessed a vehicle skid to a stop after impacting a highway center-divider at high speed. Agent Linder immediately stopped and ran to the scene to render aid. Upon arrival at the vehicle, Agent Linder found it teetering precariously on the divider, still running, and with the engine compartment smoldering. Without regard for his own safety, Agent Linder took charge of the scene, supervising rescue effort and personally extracting the single male occupant from the burning vehicle. Agent Linder directed efforts to call 911 and extinguish the fire. Agent Linder's quick, decisive, and selfless actions ensured that the driver lived to fully recover from this harrowing event. Agent Linder's actions reflect great credit upon himself, New Orleans Sector, and the United States Border Patrol.
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 names that appear below hold a place of honor. They have made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to fulfill the oath each officer took to protect and defend the United States of America.
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.
Bert G. Walthall
Date of Birth: February 27, 1900
Entered on Duty: July 31, 1931
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: December 27, 1933
Historical documents of the shooting - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
On the evening of December 27, 1933, Patrol Inspectors Bert G. Walthall, Louis A. Smith, and Curtis D. Mosely were patrolling the international boundary near Cordova Island at El Paso, Texas. Cordova Island is not in fact an island, but Mexican territory left on the north side of the Rio Grande River when the river changed its course. The boundary here was an imaginary line and a person could step across from one country to another.
At about 8:45 p.m., the officers noticed two men cross the line with sacks on their backs and depart in a waiting automobile. The officers attempted to stop the car by blowing their horn but the smugglers only increased their speed. After a chase of a couple of blocks, the patrol car overtook the smugglers, who pulled over to the side of the road. Before the patrol car could be stopped, it had arrived alongside the smugglers' car, about ten feet to the left of it. Inspector Mosely was driving, Inspector Walthall was sitting beside him, and Inspector Smith was in the back seat. When the patrol car stopped, Officers Walthall and Smith alighted from the right side. They were met by a blast of rifle fire from the smugglers that instantly killed Inspector Walthall and wounded Inspector Smith. Inspector Mosely had gotten out of the car on the left side and opened fire on the smugglers, whose car was then in motion. Inspector Mosely continued shooting with his rifle and pistol until his weapons were empty and then turned his attention to his fellow officers.
Survivor benefits - As per this document, his wife received $67.50 per month for her and their child.
George E. Pringle
Date of Birth: August 24, 1896
Entered on Duty: June 5, 1936
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: December 28, 1940
During the evening of December 25, 1940, Patrol Inspector George E. Pringle was working alone near Parker, Arizona. He was engaged in conversation with a Special Agent for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, when he indicated he was going to follow a car that had just passed. The vehicle was known to both men as belonging to a group of aliens suspected of illegal activities in connection with the Parker Dam.
Inspector Pringle was next observed driving south on Parker Road. Two witnesses indicated the government vehicle being driven by Inspector Pringle veered toward the center of the road and swerved to the right off the roadway overturning several times. Inspector Pringle sustained multiple injuries including contusions of the upper frontal region of the skull and a fracture at the base of the skull. He died of injuries received in the accident on December 28, 1940.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the accident occurred as a result of a blow out of the right front tire that was caused by the tire passing over a broken bottle in the roadway.