This Week in USBP History, Vol. 85
April 16 - April 22
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
The structure of the U.S. Border Patrol's (USBP) rank insignia might be mind-boggling as can be seen on the USBP's Wikipedia page, but have you ever wondered about its origin and evolution? As I was gathering my research to present in this blog, I realized I had already delved into this topic in "This Week in USBP History. Vol. 59" back in October 2022. I encourage you to read that blog post to learn how the Patrol's rank insignia has evolved through the decades.
Interestingly, the modern rank insignia of the Border Patrol isn't based on a position's pay grade, which typically reflects the scope and complexity of a role. Instead, it is title-centric and closely tied to the perceived prestige of a position. For instance, a GS-13 supervising fewer than 10 people wears the same insignia as a GS-15 responsible for over 600 people. Similarly, a GS-15 Chief Patrol Agent of the Ramey Sector, with fewer than 100 employees, wears a two-star insignia, while some Senior Executive Service (SES) Deputy Chief Patrol Agents and SES HQ Deputy Directorate Chiefs wear a one-star insignia.
This prestige-based system arguably diminishes the recognition that the military-style rank insignia aimed to provide for supervisory and staff Border Patrol agents, as stated in 1980 memo that implemented military style rank insignia in the Patrol. In contrast, the Office of Field Operations (OFO) has a more logical rank insignia system based primarily on pay grade. For example, an OFO employee with silver eagles is a GS-14, while one with a silver star is a GS-15. Those wearing two or more silver stars are members of the Senior Executive Service. You can find more information about OFO's rank insignia in the final two pages of this document. I have created a table based off the document below.
Our journey through the USBP's history starts in 1918, with the Commissioner-General and Frank Berkshire discussing the creation of the Border Patrol. Pith helmets were authorized for wear in 1930, and legislative action was introduced to build a new USBP Academy in 1956. The title of "Border Patrol Inspector" was changed to "Border Patrol Agent" in 1970, and much more!
We celebrate eleven Newton-Azrak Award recipients on the anniversaries of their actions.
We remember six of our fallen on the anniversaries of their deaths.
Enjoy and have a great week!
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.
Throwback Photo of the Week
A new section that I hope you'll enjoy!
This fascinating photograph from the late 1930s, compliments of the Border Patrol Museum, was taken in front of the famous Camp Chigas. It is noteworthy for a few reasons. Firstly, it showcases the different uniforms approved at that time. All the inspectors are wearing Pershing hats, which were phased out in the early 1940s. Every inspector, regardless of their rank, donned shoulder ornaments and collar discs. There are no puttees (leather wraps for the lower legs) visible, suggesting the photo was taken after 1936. Interestingly, only one person is seen wearing a rank insignia. The individual fourth from the left has loops on their sleeve, the insignia of a Senior Patrol Inspector.
DOCUMENTS AND EVENTS
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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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