This Week in USBP History, Vol. 39
May 29 - June 4
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
Let me start with a preemptive apology. I caught Covid this week and am mentally fatigued and am having trouble with concentration. These emails normally take me about 2-3 hours to put together but has required significantly more effort and time this week. This week I've spread the time over several days and can tell I'm well below 100%.
One of the highlights of this week's email is the letter written to the parents of Benjamin Hill. In the letter, Herbert Horsley (1878-1962) wrote in part: "We want you to know that your son's name will go down in Border Patrol history as a martyr to the cause of justice and as an example of fearlessness in the enforcement of the Laws of our Country." What an incredible quote. Especially, coming from an organization that was barely five years old. The link to that document is in the Fallen Section.
Since its earliest years, the USBP has done well at honoring the fallen. I think that Horsley's quote above should be required to be memorized by every Honor Guard member.
Have a great week!
This is the section where I correct the mistakes from my last email. I will also use this section to provide other perspectives of USBP history.
I didn't find any errors of significance from last week. Surprisingly, I didn't receive any rebuttals or comments to the last email to post.
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.
Border Patrol Agent
Theodore E. Huebner
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1991, seven-year-old Adrian Rose and his stepfather, Randy Velasquez, had been fishing the Arizona bank of the Colorado River. Later that evening, they decided to swim to the California side. Adrian reiterated that they had not expected the river’s current to be so swift and were swept away into the main channel as they entered the water. He witnessed his stepfather cry out and then slip under the water and not resurface. Adrian managed to swim to a spot in the river where he was able to cling to a bush and keep his head above water. He spent several hours there calling for help and described the water as very cold and very fast.
Border Patrol Agents Jose Cisneros and Theodore E. Huebner were performing Border Patrol operations along the Arizona side of the Colorado River, near the Morelos Dam on June 4, 1991. At approximately 2:30 a.m., they heard Randy’s cries for help coming from the California side of the river. Border Patrol agents working the California side were summoned for assistance. After a coordinated effort between the agents, they pinpointed the location of the cries. Agents observed a child in the river, up to his chest in the swift moving water. Agents on the California side of the river, nearest the child, made several attempts to reach him but were hindered by the thick brush that lined the river’s bank.
Realizing that time was vital if they were going to rescue the boy from drowning, Agents Theodore Huebner and Jose Cisneros elected to attempt the rescue from their side of the river. Disregarding their own safety, in the hours of darkness, they unselfishly entered the river into unseen hazards. By wading and swimming, they crossed approximately 200 yards of river to reach seven-year-old Adrian Rose and carried him to safety. The location of the rescue was about ¾ of a mile north of Morelos Dam, where water from the Colorado River is diverted into Mexico. The Imperial County Diver’s Team estimated the water’s temperature on that day at 55 degrees and flowing at a rate of 1.5 feet per second.
The river at this point varies in depth, is approximately 200 yards wide, and is covered with quick sand and deep holes. Due to the varying strong undercurrents, these conditions change constantly and are unpredictable.
This stretch of the Colorado River has been the site of numerous boating mishaps and drownings. Although this information is common knowledge to the general public and Border Patrol agents alike, Agents Huebner and Cisneros knowingly entered the river without regard for their personal safety, to accomplish the rescue of Adrian Rose.
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic.
About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard Agent Kirpnick order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
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.
Benjamin T. Hill
Date of Birth: October 23, 1901
Entered on Duty: May 14, 1929
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: May 30, 1929
Historic documents of the shooting.
Patrol Inspector Benjamin T. Hill was shot and killed near the international boundary, El Paso, Texas, on May 30, 1929, while pursuing a narcotics smuggler he had seen cross the Rio Grande River. While being pursued on foot through an alley, the smuggler suddenly wheeled and shot Inspector Hill through the heart, killing him instantly.
Date of Birth: September 9, 1970
Entered on Duty: September 25, 1996
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: June 3, 1998
On June 3, 1998, Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic. About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol Agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard him order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Agent Kirpnick, an immigrant from the Ukraine, was a graduate of the 322nd session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Blog author, retired U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief and, current U.S. Border Patrol employee advocate.
Site founder and owner, former Senior Patrol Agent and retired Immigration Special Agent.
U.S. Border Patrol historian and retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent.
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