December 24 - December 30
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
Embracing Positivity in the Face of Adversity
A Personal Journey
As we bid farewell to another year, it's a time for reflection – not only on the significant events but also on our personal growth and the challenges we've overcome. My journey this year has led to a profound transformation in my worldview, particularly in how I process and understand the world around me.
Breaking Free from Confirmation Bias:
For a considerable time, I found myself in the grip of confirmation bias, gravitating towards information that resonated with me, reinforced my existing beliefs, and dismissing opposing views. This tendency was fueled by media sources that echoed my perspective. However, a crucial realization dawned upon me: these sources were often more opinionated than factual. Recognizing this was a pivotal moment, prompting me to break away from this one-sided narrative.
A Shift to Factual, Unbiased Information:
In my quest for truth and balance, I redirected my attention to media outlets renowned for their dedication to factual reporting, consciously avoiding those with evident biases. My fundamental rule was straightforward: if a news source stirred up anger or fear rather than simply informing me, it leaned more towards sensationalism than genuine journalism. This shift was about anchoring my perspectives in reality and facts.
To illustrate this point, consider a non-political, benign story: let's say, a local community event. In a factual report, the event would be described in its actual context – the purpose of the event, the activities involved, and its impact on the community. This kind of reporting informs and may evoke a range of emotions based on the facts of the story. For instance, if the event was a fundraiser for a noble cause, it might naturally elicit feelings of empathy or inspiration.
Contrast this with the same story presented in a sensational manner. The focus might shift to minor controversies or conflicts, perhaps blowing them out of proportion or speculating on negative outcomes. Such a report, while based on the same event, is designed to provoke a strong emotional response – often anger or anxiety – rather than providing a straightforward account of the event. The facts become secondary to the emotional reaction the story is intended to provoke.
This distinction is crucial. Becoming upset or moved by the factual aspects of a news story is a natural response to the events of our world. However, feeling consistently agitated or fearful due to the way facts are presented is an indicator that the news source may be prioritizing sensationalism over factual reporting. Recognizing this difference has been key in my pursuit of balanced and truthful information. It's not about avoiding news that might be upsetting; it's about discerning whether the emotional response is due to the nature of the news itself or the manner in which it's presented.
Navigating Relationships with New Perspectives:
This transition wasn't without its challenges, particularly in my personal relationships. For instance, when I requested a friend to refrain from sharing articles from sources I found overly biased, it unfortunately led to some tension. My wife, understanding my stance, respects this decision. It's a delicate act – respecting the viewpoints of others while firmly holding onto your principles.
The Power of a Positive Outlook:
Adopting a positive outlook has been a journey of enlightenment. I've come to recognize the inherent goodness in people, understanding that differences in opinion don't necessarily stem from ill intentions. This realization has altered the way I approach disagreements, leading to greater empathy and patience.
Recognizing our tendency to hastily judge others based on limited information has been a key lesson. We often fill in the unknown with negative assumptions, which can lead to misunderstandings. By taking a step back to gather more information and consider different perspectives, I've often discovered that perceived negativity is merely a difference in experience or viewpoint.
A Light-Hearted Clarification:
I'm not envisioning a perfect world of endless harmony – that would be unrealistic. Instead, I advocate for a spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and compromise. It's about finding common ground and working together despite our differences.
Balancing Positivity with Realism:
While I aim to maintain a positive outlook, I also recognize that not all viewpoints align with mine. This realization doesn't undermine the importance of positivity; rather, it adds a necessary layer of realism. It's about understanding and respecting others while acknowledging and accepting our differences.
This journey of overcoming biases and embracing a more positive perspective has profoundly impacted my sense of happiness and peace. It has taught me to appreciate the complexity of various issues and the diversity of viewpoints. As we step into the new year, I encourage each of us to reflect on our biases and how they shape our views. Let's strive for a balance of positivity and realism, treating others with empathy and respect, while staying true to our own beliefs and values. Here's to a year of continued growth, learning, and a deeper understanding of the world and each other.
This week in USBP history, we explore significant moments that have shaped the Border Patrol's enduring legacy. On December 27, 1927, Patrol Inspectors James W. Walsh and James W. Metcalfe courageously faced off against alcohol smugglers, a testament to the Patrol's early enforcement challenges. In 1933, a deadly encounter near Cordova Island highlighted the risks faced by agents, with both Patrol Inspectors and smugglers suffering casualties. Fast forward to 1944, the discussions on the consolidation of the Customs and Immigration Border Patrols by Aubrey S. Hudson and Grover W. Wilmoth foreshadowed future organizational transformations. Additionally, the Tule Lake Segregation Center incident on December 27, 1944, underlines the Patrol's broader role during World War II. These events, along with the introduction of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952 and pivotal legal decisions in 1999, are just a few of the many milestones in the Border Patrol's rich history.
This week we honor Border Patrol Agents Mark M. Jones and Sevin K. Neufner on the anniversary of their Newton-Azrak Award action.
Also, we solemnly remember three 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
Marching Beside History
U.S. Border Patrol Pipes and Drums on July 4, 2008
On Independence Day in 2008, the U.S. Border Patrol Pipes and Drums band marched in Boston, MA, with the USS Cassin Young (DD-793), a storied World War II Fletcher-class destroyer, in the background. This historic vessel, named after Medal of Honor recipient Captain Cassin Young, served with distinction in the Pacific, surviving two Kamikaze attacks and playing a pivotal role in the Okinawa campaign. As the band marched in step to the drumbeat, they not only celebrated America's freedom but also echoed the valor and resilience symbolized by the USS Cassin Young, a testament to our nation's enduring spirit and heritage.
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
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.
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, Border Patrol Agent John Charles Gigax, and Border Patrol Pilot Howard H. Gay, who lost his life in the action that earned him the Newton-Azrak Award, are not officially recognized as fallen by either the Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol. Nonetheless, HonorFirst.com respectfully recognizes and includes Inspector Harrell, Agent Gigax, and Pilot Gay among those honored as having fallen in the line of duty.
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.
Survivor benefits - As per this document, his wife received $52.50 per month.
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.
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.