November 26 - December 2
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
Chief Jason Owens' Vision for a United Border Patrol
Chief Jason D. Owens, the 26th Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, exemplifies leadership and dedication in securing our nation's borders. Appointed on July 2, 2023, after more than 27 years of distinguished service, he oversees operations along both the Canadian and Mexican borders, commanding a team of over 20,000 agents and staff. His extensive experience, from leading the Del Rio Sector to the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, has shaped his unique perspective on border security. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Chief Owens is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and a family man, with two sons serving in the armed forces. Significantly, Chief Owens extends his leadership beyond active agents, reaching out to retired Border Patrol officers and organizations like the Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officer (FORBPO), demonstrating his commitment to a unified and inclusive Border Patrol community.
Building Lasting Relationships: Chief Owens' Ongoing Outreach to Retirees
Chief Jason Owens is charting a new course in leadership within the Border Patrol by fostering enduring connections with retired officers. His initiative, which transcends traditional protocols, is aimed at weaving retirees into the ongoing narrative of the organization.
It's noteworthy to mention that some of the Border Patrol's 20 sectors have been engaging with their retirees in a similar fashion for as much as a decade. These sector-level efforts have laid a foundational groundwork for connecting past and present members of the Border Patrol. Chief Owens' decision to implement this practice at the headquarters level, however, elevates it to a national example for all sectors to emulate. His leadership in this regard is not just about following a successful model but about setting a standard and showcasing the immense value of such connections on a larger scale.
Events like the Headquarters Morale, Welfare & Recreation (HQMWR) USBP Holiday Party and the Change of Command Ceremony are more than just gatherings; they serve as reunions, rekindling the retirees' connections to the Border Patrol and its members. In my role as FORBPO's webmaster, I've seen the enthusiasm and sense of belonging this outreach has sparked among our 1,000-plus retirees, and Chief Owens' national approach promises to amplify this sentiment across the entire organization.
Personally, attending Chief Owens' Change of Command was a poignant experience. His words and gestures during the ceremony resonated deeply with me, highlighting the importance of maintaining a personal connection with active duty agents, especially those in leadership positions. As someone deeply involved with FORBPO and HonorFirst.com, these connections are vital.
Moreover, my wife and I have already made reservations for the upcoming HQMWR USBP Holiday Party. We look forward to not only rekindling old relationships but also building new ones. These events are more than social gatherings; they are opportunities to weave the rich tapestry of our shared history and future.
Crucially, this is not a one-off gesture. I anticipate that Chief Owens will continue this approach, extending even more invitations to retirees for future events. This sustained engagement is a testament to his commitment to keeping the legacy and wisdom of retired officers alive and integrated within the Border Patrol. It is a strategy that not only honors the past but also strengthens the bonds of camaraderie and shared purpose across generations within the Border Patrol.
Chief Owens' Leadership: Bridging Generations in the Border Patrol
Chief Jason Owens' initiative to involve retired Border Patrol officers in key events positively impacts both the organizational culture and the active workforce:
Chief Owens’ strategy of engaging retirees in Border Patrol functions is a testament to his vision of a cohesive, well-informed, and resilient force, adept at navigating both current challenges and those ahead.
Conclusion: A Forward-Looking Border Patrol
Chief Jason Owens' initiative to involve retirees in the U.S. Border Patrol's activities is a visionary step, promising significant long-term benefits. This approach not only preserves the rich legacy and wisdom of the organization but also strengthens its cultural fabric. By connecting past and present members, it enhances the morale and professional development of the active workforce, fostering a sense of continuity and pride.
Looking ahead, these efforts are poised to make the Border Patrol a more cohesive and resilient force, respected for its deep-rooted history and its commitment to growth and excellence. Chief Owens' strategy embodies a forward-thinking approach that values all members of the Border Patrol family, setting a solid foundation for the future.
This week we focus on a few key moments: In 1913, Jeff Milton transitions from Texas Ranger through various positions to Immigration Inspector. The year 1927 features a challenging confrontation in El Paso between Border Patrol Inspectors and smugglers. In 1951, changes to the Border Patrol uniform policy are proposed by Chief Harlon Carter, reflecting shifts in operational needs. The 1980s are highlighted by the Oakdale and Atlanta Federal Detention Center riots, testing the operational capabilities of BORTAC. These events and more paint a vivid picture of the Border Patrol's evolving history.
This week, we honor Border Patrol Agent Osbaldo Rios on the anniversary of his Newton-Azrak Award action.
Also, we solemnly remember four of our fallen on the anniversaries of their deaths.
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
A 1980s Border Patrol Adventure in the Air
Flashback to the '80s, when memo-worthy moments looked like this! "Dear Chief, during a routine patrol on my trusty three-wheeler, I accidentally took a brief, unintended detour into the air. A testament to the adventurous spirit of border patrolling in the 80s. Rest assured, my respect for gravity – and protocol – remains firmly grounded."
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
Osbaldo Rios - award set, presentation 1, presentation 2
Border Patrol Agent
On November 29, 2017, Three Points Border Patrol Agent Osbaldo Rios displayed exceptional composure and courage, saving the lives of his partner and himself. Agent Rios was performing patrol duties in an area located approximately 50 miles southwest of Tucson, and about 15 miles north of the international border with Mexico. Agent Rios and two partners had responded to a ground sensor activation in a remote canyon of the Baboquivari Mountains when they observed a group of five suspected illegal aliens. As the agents closed in, the suspects scattered in multiple directions. The agents gave chase and three suspects were apprehended. One agent maintained custody of those suspects while Agent Rios and his other partner continued pursuit of the remaining two.
His partner observed a suspect and immediately gave chase, physically engaging the suspect as he was attempting to descend a steep embankment. During the physical encounter, Agent Rios partner rolled down the embankment, with the suspect ending atop of him. As the struggle ensued, the suspect struck the agent several times in the face. The event was observed by an Air and Marine Operations aircraft, and relayed to the other agents. During the encounter, the suspect gained control of the agent's sidearm.
As Agent Rios approached his partner's location, he observed the suspect with a firearm pointed at his partner. Agent Rios called out to the suspect to draw his attention and avert him from firing. The suspect looked toward Agent Rios, now aiming the weapon at him. Without hesitation, Agent Rios discharged his service weapon, neutralizing the threat. Agent Rios swift and decisive action resulted in preventing the death or injury of his partner, and himself.
As of November 14, 2023 the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 157* 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 although the circumstances surrounding their deaths met 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. Additionally, despite Border Patrol Pilot Howard H. Gay losing his life in the action that earned him the Newton-Azrak Award, his death is not officially recognized either. Nonetheless, HonorFirst.com respectfully recognizes and includes Inspector Harrell and Agent Gigax among those honored as having fallen in the line of duty.
Oscar T. Torres
Date of Birth: April 19, 1937
Entered on Duty: June 19, 1969
Title: Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 30, 1974
Patrol Agent Oscar T. Torres was assigned the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift on November 30, 1974, in the El Paso Station area. At approximately 2:30 a.m., he proceeded to the West Railroad Bridge to assist in opening the gates for a train inbound from Mexico.
Agent Torres and Patrol Agent (Trainee) Robert M. Worsham walked onto the bridge to open the gates while Worsham's partner, Patrol Agent Wayne Winn, Jr., remained with an apprehended alien in a Border Patrol vehicle at the end of the bridge. After opening the gates and while walking back toward the vehicle, Agent Torres stumbled and fell headfirst through an opening in the bridge to the river bottom, a distance of 25 feet. The fall was witnessed only by the alien, as Trainee Worsham and Agent Winn were not facing toward Torres when the accident took place.
The officers immediately went to the aid of Agent Torres, and an ambulance soon removed him to Providence Memorial Hospital. He expired at 4:55 a.m., the cause of death being listed as concussion.
John D. Keenan
Date of Birth: February 11, 1953
Entered on Duty: November 16, 1987
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 27, 1989
At about 3:50 a.m., on November 27, 1989, Border Patrol Agent John D. Keenan was involved in an automobile accident on U.S. Highway 83 at FM-492 near Mission, Texas. He was operating a Service vehicle and was driving east on U.S. Highway 83 when a northbound vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed on FM- 492 failed to yield the right-of-way, causing the accident. Patrol Agent Keenan died at the scene from multiple injuries sustained in the accident.
Entered on Duty: April 28, 2003
Title: Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 29, 2021
SBPA Barrios entered on duty on April 28, 2003, as part of the 548th Session of the Border Patrol Academy. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the Brian A. Terry Station in the Tucson Sector, Arizona. SBPA Barrios served his country in the United States Navy from 1990 to 1995 prior to joining the United States Border Patrol. The circumstances of his passing were reviewed by an executive panel and the CBP Commissioner who determined that this death occurred in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife Gaby; children: Marty and Samantha; and siblings: Laura and Corina.
Salvador Martinez Jr.
Entered on Duty: June 24, 2002
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: November 30, 2021
Agent Martinez entered on duty on June 24, 2002, as part of the 516th Session of the Border Patrol Academy. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the Alamogordo Station in the El Paso Sector, Texas. The circumstances of his passing were reviewed by an executive panel and the CBP Commissioner who determined that this death occurred in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife Leonor; daughter: Itzel; Father: Salvador; siblings: Elva and Lourdes; and cousins Border Patrol Agent Jesus Aguilar and CBP Management and Program Analyst Fabian Aguilar Sr. Agent Martinez was preceded in death by his mother Julia.
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.
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