THIS WEEK IN USBP HISTORY, VOL. 90
May 21 - May 27
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
(Cue the music!)
The Legacy and Future of Honor in the U.S. Border Patrol
As a cherished member of the United States Border Patrol family, you are undoubtedly familiar with the challenges we face today. Amidst these trials, it is essential to remember the vital role we play in our nation's security and the proud history that guides our efforts. This piece is an affirmation of our past, a nod to our present, and a beacon for our future. It is an exploration of our organizational motto "Honor First," the deeply embedded esprit de corps within our ranks, and the evolving landscape of our duties.
Steeped in History, Bound by Honor
Our motto "Honor First" dates back to 1926. It became the cornerstone of our ethos, resonating with integrity, honesty, righteousness, and trustworthiness. With it, we have navigated through the turbulent and challenging times of our duty, always upholding the laws, rules, and policies of our land. Its influence is imprinted in our historic 1928 document that emphasized integrity in our guidelines for Border Patrol Inspectors. It speaks of our unwavering commitment to righteousness and virtue, regardless of the challenges we face.
Our Statutory Mandate and Purpose
The U.S. Code encapsulates our primary duties as a crucial arm of law enforcement in our nation. According to 6 U.S. Code § 211, we serve as the primary force responsible for interdicting persons attempting to illegally enter or exit the United States. It is our mandate to deter and prevent the illegal entry of terrorists, contraband, and unauthorized persons. Yet, our responsibilities extend beyond this. We carry out other duties and powers as prescribed by the Commissioner, demonstrating our versatility and resourcefulness in protecting our nation's borders.
Addressing Today’s Challenges
We are not blind to the feelings of being overwhelmed in the face of an unprecedented surge in illegal entrants. The sheer magnitude of the task at hand, coupled with perceived and real constraints, can lead to feelings of frustration and inefficacy. It is essential to remember, though, that every challenge we face is an opportunity for us to grow stronger and adapt. Each individual effort, each apprehension, contributes to our overall mission. Our task might seem Sisyphean, but we are not alone in this struggle. Our collective strength lies in our unity, resilience, and dedication.
A Mandate for Leadership
A profound concept offered by Simon Sinek teaches us that leadership is not about being in charge, but about taking care of those in our charge. It's a principle that needs to be brought to the forefront of our organization, especially now when our workforce is strained under an enormous challenge.
To the leaders within the United States Border Patrol, this is our mandate: Recognize that the strength of our organization lies squarely in the dedicated men and women serving on our frontlines. In the face of unprecedented pressures, your commitment must be to these individuals, first and foremost. Understand that the state of their well-being, morale, and sense of fulfillment directly impacts the execution of our mission.
Every effort, every shift, every day that our workforce serves is a testament to their unwavering dedication. They are not just serving as border patrol agents; they are upholding our national values in one of the most challenging environments possible. This dedication must be seen, acknowledged, and celebrated.
The role of leadership is not to just direct; it's to care, to support, to inspire. Create an environment where our agents feel valued and supported. Invest in their well-being and professional development. Engage with them, listen to their concerns, appreciate their efforts, and make it abundantly clear that they are our most valued asset.
It is time to realign our leadership strategy with this principle. When we, as leaders, prioritize taking care of our people, they will excel in taking care of our mission. In doing so, we are not just upholding our sacred responsibility as leaders; we are also honoring the essence of our motto, "Honor First".
The Humanitarian Aspect of Our Mission
While enforcement is a key aspect of our duties, let's not forget the humanitarian component of our work. We encounter individuals and families in desperate situations, and we strive to treat each person with the respect and dignity they deserve, even as we uphold our laws. This display of humanity distinguishes us, elevating our mission beyond routine law enforcement. Our compassion showcases the spirit of the Patrol and encapsulates the honor we bear with our uniform.
Pride in our Past, Faith in our Future
The challenges we face today are not new. Our work has been a topic of national significance for over a century, as reflected in Frank P. Sargent’s 1905 report. This historical perspective offers comfort and wisdom as we navigate current events. We have faced significant challenges before and emerged stronger, and there is no reason we cannot do so again.
Today, more than ever, we need to remember the lessons of our history, the value of our people, and the importance of the humanity we extend in our duty. We are more than law enforcement officers; we are the guardians of our nation's borders and the protectors of our nation's values. Let us find renewed strength in our shared commitment to protect and serve, embodying our motto, "Honor First," in every aspect of our duty.
(The music fades to silence...)
We remember five of the Patrol's heroes on the anniversary of their Newton-Azrak Award actions.
We remember three of the Patrol's 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.
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
The image above captures a historical moment from 1940, showcasing five Border Patrol Inspectors undergoing training on the Thompson submachine gun. This photograph is thought to be closely linked to this memorandum, detailing the procurement of 25 such submachine guns.
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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I prefer that you leave comments. However, if you wish to contact me, please do so by emailing Cliff@HonorFirst.com.