May 28 - June 3
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
History is a vast tapestry of intricate tales, and when it comes to the Patrol, the richness and depth of its narrative are truly captivating. On the Patrol's 99th anniversary, this blog invites you on a unique journey. Immerse yourself in remarkable historical facts and enthralling stories that continue to shape the legacy of the U.S. Border Patrol. You're just a click away from an unprecedented exploration of the past – a past marked by bravery, honor, and duty, intricately woven into the fabric of American history. If you've ever wondered about the men and women who guard our borders, their origin, the evolution of their roles, or the proud history of the Border Patrol – look no further! The journey begins now.
Unveiling the Intriguing Past of the U.S. Border Patrol
The Evolution of the Border Patrol:
As you step into this historical tour on the HonorFirst.com's USBP History Page, you'll unearth the progression of the USBP from its early days. See how the title of Border Patrol Inspectors transitioned to Border Patrol Agents in 1970 and how this paralleled the evolution of law enforcement procedures.
A Legacy of Inclusion and Diversity:
Find out about the pioneering individuals who broke racial and gender barriers, marking significant milestones for the Border Patrol. Discover when the first African American and the first female agents joined the ranks, setting precedent for the inclusive workforce the Border Patrol boasts today.
Intriguing Operations and Initiatives:
Did you know the USBP conducted intelligence work as early as 1926? Or that the Border Patrol had a formidable Pistol Team that debuted in 1935? Dive into these intriguing aspects of the Patrol's operations, all documented in rich detail on the USBP History Page.
A Timeless Emblem:
Trace the creation and evolution of the Border Patrol's official emblem – a symbol of honor, duty, and integrity, and the evolution of the USBP uniform that has changed over the years to meet the demands of a dynamic and challenging border environment.
A Pivotal Character:
Don't forget to check out the rich contributions of Joseph Banco, a retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent and prolific author who has detailed the fascinating history of the USBP in his book series "HONOR FIRST: The Story of the United States Border Patrol." You can find his well-researched books sold here at the Border Patrol Museum and learn more about him here. Also, make sure you visit Joe's website at www.migrajoe.com.
A Memorable Journey:
Each click, each page, each story on the USBP History Page unfolds like a chapter from an epic tale – a tale of courage, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the security and sovereignty of the United States. Start your journey now and share in the proud history of the U.S. Border Patrol!
Visit HonorFirst.com's USBP History Page and our photo USBP Photo Galleries!
This week, join us on a fascinating journey through the U.S. Border Patrol's history. We'll explore key memos from the 1920s outlining manpower and financial challenges, delve into the competitive spirit of the Patrol in 1931, and uncover the dynamics of leadership in 1933. We'll touch upon the solemn tribute to fallen officers in 1936, and the unexpected regulations for left-handed officers in 1937. Fast-forward to "The Airlift" initiative of 1951, we'll uncover innovative solutions to border control. We'll conclude in the late 20th century with Operation Short Stop and the groundbreaking Enforcement Case Tracking System. Discover these intriguing stories and more in this week's exciting exploration!
We remember four of the Patrol's heroes on the anniversary of their Newton-Azrak Award actions.
We remember four 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 firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
Did you know that a U.S. Border Patrol Air Transport fleet was established on September 17, 1954, with the transfer of a C-46 military surplus plane (N-1804M) from the U.S. Air Force.
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
Border Patrol Agent
Theodore E. Huebner
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1991, seven-year-old Adrian Rose and his stepfather, Randy Velasquez, had been fishing the Arizona bank of the Colorado River. Later that evening, they decided to swim to the California side. Adrian reiterated that they had not expected the river’s current to be so swift and were swept away into the main channel as they entered the water. He witnessed his stepfather cry out and then slip under the water and not resurface. Adrian managed to swim to a spot in the river where he was able to cling to a bush and keep his head above water. He spent several hours there calling for help and described the water as very cold and very fast.
Border Patrol Agents Jose Cisneros and Theodore E. Huebner were performing Border Patrol operations along the Arizona side of the Colorado River, near the Morelos Dam on June 4, 1991. At approximately 2:30 a.m., they heard Randy’s cries for help coming from the California side of the river. Border Patrol agents working the California side were summoned for assistance. After a coordinated effort between the agents, they pinpointed the location of the cries. Agents observed a child in the river, up to his chest in the swift moving water. Agents on the California side of the river, nearest the child, made several attempts to reach him but were hindered by the thick brush that lined the river’s bank.
Realizing that time was vital if they were going to rescue the boy from drowning, Agents Theodore Huebner and Jose Cisneros elected to attempt the rescue from their side of the river. Disregarding their own safety, in the hours of darkness, they unselfishly entered the river into unseen hazards. By wading and swimming, they crossed approximately 200 yards of river to reach seven-year-old Adrian Rose and carried him to safety. The location of the rescue was about ¾ of a mile north of Morelos Dam, where water from the Colorado River is diverted into Mexico. The Imperial County Diver’s Team estimated the water’s temperature on that day at 55 degrees and flowing at a rate of 1.5 feet per second.
The river at this point varies in depth, is approximately 200 yards wide, and is covered with quick sand and deep holes. Due to the varying strong undercurrents, these conditions change constantly and are unpredictable.
This stretch of the Colorado River has been the site of numerous boating mishaps and drownings. Although this information is common knowledge to the general public and Border Patrol agents alike, Agents Huebner and Cisneros knowingly entered the river without regard for their personal safety, to accomplish the rescue of Adrian Rose.
Border Patrol Agent
On June 3, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic.
About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard Agent Kirpnick order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Javier A. Padilla - award set 1, award set 2
Border Patrol Agent
On May 30, 2022, Border Patrol Agent (BPA) Javier Padilla was performing the duties of a Field Training Officer (FTO) for two BPA trainees in the vicinity of Amado, Arizona, when he observed a Chevrolet Trailblazer crash into a ditch. As Agent Padilla rushed to render aid, he realized there was a fire beneath the SUV and the doors had been rendered inoperable by the crash. Amid rapidly increasing heat and smoke, Agent Padilla led the effort to extract and relocate to safety a total of seven subjects seconds before the entire accident scene was engulfed in flames. Without his immediate and decisive action taken with no regard for his own safety, seven people would have perished. Border Patrol Agent Javier Padilla's courage and willingness to lay down his own life for others brought great credit upon himself and the United States Border Patrol.
As of March 6, 2023, HonorFirst.com solemnly acknowledges the loss of 154 brave individuals who have fallen in their line of duty:
The names listed below are respected and remembered for their ultimate sacrifice in fulfilling the oath to protect and defend the United States of America.
In preserving the historical context, the descriptions about each officer's circumstances are presented with minimal editing to maintain the original "language of the day".
Complying with the Privacy Act of 1974, any causes of death related to lethal illnesses contracted in the line of duty will not be disclosed.
It's noteworthy that Border Patrol Agent John Charles Gigax's name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial, yet his sacrifice is not officially recognized by the Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol.
However, HonorFirst.com proudly acknowledges and includes Agent Gigax among our memorialized heroes.
Benjamin T. Hill
Date of Birth: October 23, 1901
Entered on Duty: May 14, 1929
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: May 30, 1929
Historic documents of the shooting.
Patrol Inspector Benjamin T. Hill was shot and killed near the international boundary, El Paso, Texas, on May 30, 1929, while pursuing a narcotics smuggler he had seen cross the Rio Grande River. While being pursued on foot through an alley, the smuggler suddenly wheeled and shot Inspector Hill through the heart, killing him instantly.
Date of Birth: September 9, 1970
Entered on Duty: September 25, 1996
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: June 3, 1998
On June 3, 1998, Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic. About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol Agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard him order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Agent Kirpnick, an immigrant from the Ukraine, was a graduate of the 322nd session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
Alexander I. Giannini
Date of Birth October 14, 1989
Entered on Duty: October 16, 2008
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 28, 2014
On May 28, 2014, Border Patrol Agent Alexander I. Giannini, of the Willcox Station, was involved in an on-duty, single-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 near Benson, Arizona. He died of injuries at the hospital shortly after the accident. Another agent in the vehicle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Agent Giannini, 24, entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on October 16, 2008, as a member of the 822nd session of the Border Patrol Academy. He served the Willcox Station loyally throughout his career.
Agent Giannini is survived by his mother, father, sister and fiancée.
Burial Details Unknown
Juan M. Urrutia
Date of Birth: July 28, 1975
Entered on Duty: August 4, 2003
Title: Border Patrol Agent
End of Watch: May 28, 2021
Agent Urrutia entered on duty on August 4, 2003, as part of the 560th Session of the Border Patrol Academy. He was first assigned to the Falfurrias Station in what was then called the McAllen Sector in 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. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the Brownsville Station, Rio Grande Valley Sector, Texas. He was also a certified EMT/Paramedic.
He is survived by his wife: Shayla Lee Urrutia; Brothers: Martin J. Urrutia, Carlos Urrutia, David Urrutia: and his sisters; Juvita Urrutia and Maria Barron-Urrutia.
Help spread the word!
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.