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Juanita Santana - photo Border Patrol Agent Tucson Sector On June 29, 1995, Border Patrol Agent Juanita Santana of the Tucson Border Patrol Station, was assigned to patrol a major smuggling route south of Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., Agent Santana observed a suspicious vehicle and conducted a normal vehicle stop. When she reached the rear door of the car, the driver, without warning, pointed a handgun out of his window and immediately began firing at her. Two shots struck her in the chest directly over her heart. Both bullets were stopped by a bulletproof vest she was wearing. A third shot struck her left forearm and completely penetrated it below the elbow. The fourth shot struck her ammunition pouch, which was fastened to her gun belt. This fourth bullet disintegrated on impact and Agent Santana was struck in the abdomen by shrapnel from the bullet. Although struck four times and seriously wounded, Agent Santana drew her revolver and returned fire at the driver. Agent Santana ran back to her patrol vehicle and immediately began to pursue the fleeing suspects. She radioed for assistance and informed the Communications Center that she had been shot. Even though she was injured and bleeding heavily, she maintained her composure and clearly broadcast all pertinent suspect information.
To all who shall see the presents, greeting: This is to certify that the Chief of the United States Border Patrol has awarded the Purple Cross Medal to William N. Purdy for wounds sustained during the performance of his official duties as a Border Patrol Inspector on September 30, 1962, in Oxford, Mississippi. Inspector Purdy was shot and wounded by a sniper during a riot at the University of Mississippi. Throughout this harrowing ordeal, Inspector Purdy exhibited exemplary inner strength and courage, which are in keeping with the finest traditions of, and reflect, highly upon, the United States Border Patrol.
Note - Inspector Purdy also received a Letter of Appreciation from President Kennedy for this action. Follow this link to see that recognition.
Paul E. Conover Chief Patrol Agent, Swanton Sector, Swanton, Vermont (then Border Patrol Agent, Marfa Sector, Presidio Station, Presidio, Texas)
Place and Date of Incident: Near Redford, Texas, August 17, 1982
Citation: Border Patrol Agent Paul E. Conover sustained life-threatening injuries as a direct result of a hostile, armed conflict while performing his official duties. At approximately 5:15 p.m., Agent Conover and his partner were searching for a murder suspect at a river crossing along the Mexican border. The subject was known to carry a fIrearm at all times and was belleved to be accompanied by another armed subject. Approximately 5 miles east of Redford, Texas, Agent Conover and his partner observed two subjects cross the river in a boat. The area is very remote, desolate, and rugged with tall, thick brush. As the agents approached a clearing in the brush, one of the subjects immediately opened fire on Agent Conover with a .30 caliber M-1 carbine rifle. Agent Conover was first struck in both legs and fell to the ground. Despite his serious wounds, he immediately began returning fire with his 12-gauge shotgun. Again Agent Conover was struck by the subject's rifle fire; the round ended up in his lower back. Agent Conover continued to return fire, striking his assailant. The subjects then attempted to flee back into Mexico. The assailant was captured before reaching the river. Agent Conover was placed in an ambulance for transportation to a hospital in Alpine, Texas, when this ambulance broke down. He was then transferred to a Border Patrol unit for part of the trip. He then immediately had to be transported to El Paso, Texas, via ground ambulance for a 3-hour trip. During this transport, this ambulance also broke down, and he had to be transferred again to another vehicle. Agent Conover finally arrived at the medical facility in El Paso, where he was hospitalized for 8 weeks as a result of these injuries. Throughout this harrowing ordeal, Agent Conover exhibited exemplary inner strength and courage, which were in keeping with the finest traditions of, and reflect highly upon, the U.S. Border Patrol. Honor First!
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