August 20 - August 26
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
A Legacy of Service, Innovation, Fellowship, and Community Building
The week of August 20-26, 2023, is a fitting time to reflect on the legacy of Retired Immigration Special Agent Ray Harris. This week not only commemorates the 25th anniversary of his innovative Delphi forums but also celebrates a pioneering effort that transformed the landscape of communication within the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP). Harris's creation of two distinct forums—one dedicated to Border Patrol applicants and the other to current and former agents—served as more than a mere platform. It became a virtual meeting ground that not only facilitated the unofficial engagement with potential recruits but also nurtured a sense of camaraderie and community among those who have worn, and continue to wear the badge. His vision, still resonant today, continues to honor the principles of connection and unity that are at the heart of the USBP's mission
A Life of Service
Innovation in Recruitment and Community Building:
The Creation of HonorFirst.com and Delphi Forums
In the mid-1990s, Harris recognized a gap in information about the USBP's hiring process. He created a simple website, leading to an overwhelming response from applicants. To manage the flood of inquiries, Harris turned to Delphi forums, launching the first forum for Border Patrol Agents on August 25, 1998.
A Longtime Member and Supporter of FORBPO
Ray's influence within the Border Patrol community reaches far and wide. As a former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent, his innovative creation of Delphi forums has been a landmark achievement. Yet, his contributions don't end there. Ray continues to lend his expertise to the Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers (FORBPO), where he once served as a webmaster and still provides invaluable behind-the-scenes assistance. His unwavering commitment to both active and retired Border Patrol professionals is evident in every aspect of his work. Whether through fostering online engagement or his steadfast support of FORBPO, Ray's multifaceted involvement underscores a willingness to contribute in various capacities. His enduring legacy is a beacon of community and collaboration that inspires all who serve.
A Lasting Impact
Ray Harris's legacy is a testament to innovation, dedication, fellowship, and community building. His creation of HonorFirst.com and the Delphi forums has had a profound impact on U.S. Border Patrol recruitment efforts and has fostered a sense of camaraderie among agents.
Ray's efforts have brought great credit upon himself and have benefited the U.S. Border Patrol in immeasurable ways. As we celebrate the anniversary of the Delphi forums, we honor Ray Harris's enduring contributions to the USBP, FORBPO, and the broader community.
!!! Thank you Ray !!!
This week, we journey through the multifaceted history of the U.S. Border Patrol. We'll explore the 1921 debate over unifying federal agencies along the Mexican border, the 1935 request to build a fence in Nogales, Arizona, and the 1942 memos concerning 12-hour workdays for Patrol Inspectors. These highlights, and much more, deepen our understanding of the Border Patrol's evolution and legacy.
This week, we honor Criminal Investigator Lee R. Prejean for his courageous and selfless efforts in 1987 as part of Operation Castoron. His undercover activities led to the successful conclusion of a large-scale conspiracy investigation, demonstrating unusual courage and competence.
During this week, we take a moment to reflect, as there are no line-of-duty death anniversaries. Let us continue to remember and honor all those who have served.
Enjoy and have a great week!
P.S. - 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 the 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.
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.
THROWBACK PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Guardians of the Border
A Legacy in Flight
Taken around 2003, this striking image showcases five Eurocopter AS350 AStar helicopters, proudly bearing U.S. Border Patrol branding. A symbol of a bygone era, these aircraft embody decades of pride, tradition, and a unique connection between air and ground agents. Before taking to the skies, Border Patrol pilots were required to serve as regular agents for three years, forging a bond that transcended their roles. In 2006, all USBP pilots were absorbed into CBP's Air and Marine Operations, marking the end of an era but leaving behind a legacy that continues to resonate.
1942 - A special thanks to Joe Banco for sharing the documents for the entries below.
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
This week, there are no known Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries. However, some actions do not have a specific date, and I would like to take this opportunity to highlight one from 1987.
Lee R. Prejean
Criminal Investigator Lee R. Prejean conducted undercover activities as part of Operation Castoron, which commenced as a marriage fraud investigation and grew into a visa fraud, smuggling, gunrunning, narcotics and terrorist investigation. Through his devoted and selfless efforts, he was able to infiltrate the large-scale conspiracy organization posing as a corrupt immigration officer. During the period of his undercover activities, he held hundreds of consensually monitored conversations, both telephonic and in person, with criminal elements involved in the investigation. He received pay-offs for alleged misconduct on his part, and was able to elicit the support and fidelity of the criminal principals in the case to such an extent that much valuable information was supplied to him willingly by these individuals which, in effect, led to the successful conclusion of this investigation. His involvement was so thorough that he placed a separate telephone and answering machine in his home in order that he might be available to the principals at any time.
Mr. Prejean demonstrated unusual courage and competence while in the line of duty and under very trying circumstances.
As of March 6, 2023 the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 155* fallen.
The following names hold a distinguished position, as they have made the ultimate sacrifice in their unwavering commitment to uphold the oath each officer took to protect and defend the United States of America.
The facts concerning each officer are presented with minimal editing to preserve the "language of the day" found in the original reports, providing readers with a sense of historical context.
In compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the cause of death for employees who lost their lives in the line of duty due to exposure to lethal illnesses will not be disclosed.
* Please note that despite their deaths meeting the criteria for Line-of-Duty-Deaths at the time, Patrol Inspector Garvis Field Harrell and Border Patrol Agent John Charles Gigax are not officially recognized as fallen by either the Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol. However, HonorFirst.com respectfully recognizes and includes both Inspector Harrell and Agent Gigax among those who have fallen in the line of duty.
There are no line-of-duty death anniversaries this week.
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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 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.