June 18 - June 24
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!
The U.S. Border Patrol:
Upholding Honor First Amid Challenges
A Challenging Landscape
As you well know, the landscape has become increasingly challenging over the years. Encounters at the border have risen to more than two million, and the strain on the workforce has been significant, particularly with the decrease in the number of agents from over 21,000 in 2011 to just over 18,000 today.
Leadership and the USBP Strategy
In response to these challenges, the leadership of the USBP has shown unwavering commitment to their mission and the well-being of their personnel. The 2022-2026 U.S. Border Patrol Strategy emphasizes that every Border Patrol Agent and employee plays a critical role in ensuring national security. The leadership must also embody the principles of Simon Sinek: "It's not about being in charge, it's about taking care of those in your charge". This philosophy underscores the importance of each individual in the organization and their contribution to the collective mission, demonstrating a focus on supporting and caring for the members of the USBP.
The Spirit of Honor First and Esprit de Corps
Despite these challenges, the USBP continues to embody its motto of "Honor First" and the principle of "Esprit de Corps". This spirit is present in every apprehension they make, every migrant they process, and every patrol they conduct. In the face of adversity, the USBP stands firm in their commitment to protect the nation and its people.
The U.S. Border Patrol, despite facing numerous challenges, continues its vigilance in maintaining the security of the U.S. borders. Its agents, driven by a strong sense of duty and purpose, embody the spirit of "Honor First". As we look forward to a future with continued challenges, the U.S. Border Patrol stands ready to face them, always putting the nation and its people first.
Call to Action
For those of you currently serving and those who have served, we invite you to engage with us. Share this post within your network, engage in constructive conversations, and share your insights and experiences. Your firsthand knowledge is invaluable in fostering understanding and positive change.
We encourage you to leave your comments below. Share your thoughts, ask questions, or offer insights. Let's engage in a constructive dialogue about the challenges faced by the U.S. Border Patrol and the path forward. Your engagement is crucial in fostering understanding and positive change.
This week's history starts in 1909 with an announcement for the position of Immigration Guard. We navigate through key milestones including the initial debates in 1918, a significant uniform change in 1936, and administrative challenges in 1956. We wrap up our journey in 1998, when the funding for the Border Patrol's 75th Anniversary Medals was questioned. Join us as we uncover these historical gems and much more.
We remember two of the Patrol's heroes on the anniversary of their Newton-Azrak Award actions.
We remember two 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.
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
Just a bit more than a decade ago we discovered Border Patrol Tahoes are NOT suitable for amphibious use and we preserve every 'damp' moment. Here's to camaraderie, candid cameras, and lake-bound Tahoes!
Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.
Robert E. Jolicoeur
Border Patrol Agent
Del Rio Sector
On June 21, 1990, Border Patrol Agent Robert E. Jolicoeur responded to a call for assistance from the Eagle Pass Police Department concerning a possible hostage situation. After lengthy negotiations with the heavily armed suspect by local policy authorities had failed, Agent Jolicoeur risked his life to disarm and subdue the individual. His professionalism and unselfish dedication resulted in the successful termination of a critical situation without injury or loss of life.
Jay Visconti - photo, statuette
Border Patrol Agent
San Diego Sector
On June 24, 1999, Border Patrol Agent Jay Visconti observed an automobile driving erratically on northbound Interstate 15, in San Diego, California. Agent Visconti was on-duty and returning from firearms training. Agent Visconti maneuvered his marked Border Patrol sedan closer to the erratically moving automobile and was able to ascertain that the driver of the vehicle was in serious distress. Agent Visconti then observed that the front seat passenger was attempting to steer the vehicle.
Agent Visconti realized that this was an extremely grave situation. Traffic was very congested during this time and there was a great deal of danger to the safety of the motoring public. Agent Visconti activated his overhead lights and created a traffic break. The erratically moving vehicle did not stop, but pulled over to the shoulder of the road and continued at a slow rate of speed. Agent Visconti pulled over and, exiting his vehicle, ran alongside of the offending vehicle until he was able to jump in through the passenger window and turn off the ignition.
The driver was apparently suffering from a heart attack. Agent Visconti immediately activated the emergency medical system and proceeded to render first aid treatment. When the San Diego Police and Fire Departments arrived, the driver was in full cardiac arrest and Agent Visconti was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on her.
Tragically, the afflicted driver of the automobile did not survive. Upon being relieved of performing CPR, Agent Visconti was instrumental in directing the fast moving traffic around the scene of the stop and providing much needed support to the grieving passenger.
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.
Earl F. Fleckinger
Date of Birth: July 25, 1917
Entered on Duty: September 8, 1941
Title: Patrol Inspector
End of Watch: June 23, 1945
At about 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of June 23, 1945, Patrol Inspectors Earl F. Fleckinger and Wilbur E. Kinney were patrolling on U.S. Highway No. 98 about 1 1/2 miles east of Calexico, California, when they stopped and searched an automobile driven by a Mexican alien. Search of the automobile disclosed a quantity of liquor in the rear compartment, whereupon the alien was placed under arrest. The officers then started west toward Calexico with the alien. Inspector Fleckinger was driving the government automobile with the alien seated beside him and Inspector Kinney was following immediately behind in the alien's automobile. They had proceeded about one mile when Mr. Kinney heard two shots and observed the government automobile swerve off the road and into an adjacent canal bank.
Mr. Kinney stopped the alien's car about 10 or 15 yards ahead of the government car, and while he was attempting to get out of the automobile, the alien fired four shots, which failed to hit him. Inspector Kinney pursued, caught and subdued the alien, and left him in an apparently unconscious condition lying prone in the center of the highway. Mr. Kinney then went to the aid of Inspector Fleckinger, at which time his attention was drawn back to the alien who was observed to be staggering across the international boundary into Mexico.
Inspector Fleckinger was taken to a hospital in Calexico by a passerby. He had been shot in the head, which resulted in his death about 6:15 p.m. on the same day.
Kenneth L. Carl
Date of Birth: September 5, 1926
Entered on Duty: August 17, 1953
Title: Airplane Pilot
End of Watch: June 18, 1961
During the hours after midnight on Saturday, June 17, 1961, several jeep teams composed of Patrol Inspectors from Calexico, California, tracked two illegal aliens to an alfalfa field near El Centro, California. Personnel of the jeep patrol encircled the field and prevented possible egress of the aliens. At dawn on June 18, 1961, officers at the scene initiated a radio message to Sector for aerial patrol assistance in spotting the aliens.
Pilot Kenneth L. Carl was airborne at approximately 5:30 a.m. in a Piper Supercub. He immediately initiated low observation passes over the field. In a short time, one of the illegal aliens raised his head above the level of the alfalfa and was spotted by the pilot and ground units. When the first capture had been accomplished, the Patrol Inspectors ascertained the description, dress, and name of the second alien and radioed that information to Pilot Carl. The pilot was reported to have been flying at reduced air speed and very close to the ground, when the aircraft stalled and struck the ground. Pilot Carl was pronounced dead prior to being removed from the scene of the accident. It was later ascertained that his heart had been crushed within the rib cage on impact with the instrument panel.
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.