August 7 - August 13

This Week in USBP History

Good morning!
Welcome to another This Week in USBP History!  

Today we start with a focus on leadership.

!!! Don't Be The A$$hole !!!

That's great leadership advice from Simon Sinek. He has a two-minute video on the subject of "performance and trust" that describes his understanding of how U.S. Navy SEALs make selections for leadership positions in SEAL Team Six.  Take a couple of minutes and watch the embedded video below or watch it here.  It will be time well spent.  Plus, it will put that shocking opening sentence into context.

    Leadership is about people. It's about relationships. As Simon says, "Leadership isn't about being in charge.  It's about taking care of those in your charge." If a person in a position of leadership takes care of those in their charge, then employees and the organization can be expected to do well, having high levels of Esprit de Corps. Conversely, if an organization and its employees are suffering, having low levels of Esprit de Corps, then it safely can be assumed that those in positions of leadership are not taking care of those in their charge.

    Driving the point home, a reader of This Week in USBP History, who happens to be a retired agent and bona fide Border Patrol hero, shared a true USBP story from years ago...  See below, (I edited it for brevity and to conceal identities):

    At the beginning of the shift, a supervisor berated an agent in front of twenty of the agent's peers, for a perceived misstep or minor wrongdoing. This public scene lasted for several minutes until the agent asked that the discussion continue in private, but the supervisor would not stop. Reaching his limit, the agent told the supervisor, "If you can't be polite, then <expletive>",  and agent left to work his assigned area.  

    Subsequently, the supervisor wrote-up the agent and recommended a 3-day suspension.  When the CPA received the paperwork, it was the supervisor who received the 3-day suspension.  The CPA let it be known that if frivolous or otherwise unfair charges were submitted, that the initiator would receive the very same recommended punishment that they had submitted.  

    The lesson to be learned from today's focus is - Take care of those in your charge, don't be the a$$hole and protect your workforce from them!

    Simon has many other videos and concepts that I think are great.  If you wish, visit his YouTube channel here​.

    This is another great week in USBP history.  There's a gunfight in 1929 and rough duty uniforms being authorized in 1934.  We have Border Patrol Inspectors being the first Air Marshals in 1961 and recommendations to hold gains from Operation Wetback in 1954.  We also celebrate seven Newton-Azrak Award action anniversaries, two of which recognized the heroism of Immigration Officers during the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998.  Remember, of the 185 recipients of the Newton-Azrak Award, 26 were not Border Patrol Agents.

    Finally, we remember Border Patrol Agent Manuel A. Alvarez on the anniversary of his death.

    Have a great week!


    PS - 

    • 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 attach them to a reply to this email).
    • If this email doesn't render well, please follow the "View in Browser" link in the upper right corner.
    • As always, make sure to explore all of the hyperlinks to documents and pages.
    • Finally, please forward this email to whomever you think may enjoy it.

    House Keeping

    This is the section where I correct the mistakes from my last email.  I will also use this section to provide other perspectives of USBP history.

    My apologies!  I missed adding the hyperlinks to two entries last week.  I've included them in their entirety below (with the hyperlinks).


    • On August 4, 1920, future Chief and Father of the Border Patrol Frank Berkshire (1870-1934) wrote a strongly worded memo to the Commissioner-General.  the memo recommend that the Inspector in Charge in Laredo not attend a meeting scheduled in Galveston, Texas.  The memo contained several items of interest:
      • He stated that the Immigration Patrol was abolished on August 18, 1919.  That statement is evidence that the Immigration Patrol was separate from the Mounted Inspectors (also called Mounted Guard and Mounted Watchmen). About the Immigration Patrol, he wrote:
        • They, "...performed wonderfully effective service, --a service unparalleled in the history of affairs on the Mexican Border."  Clearly, he thought highly of that organization.
      • In an effort to define the Immigration Service's responsibility and to frame the problem, Berkshire explained that nearly every person arrested near the border for violating an agricultural, customs, health or prohibition law, had also violated an immigration law.  Berkshire expressed concern another Federal agency would overshadow the Immigration Service and would inevitably take the lead for border enforcement.


    • On July 31, 1956, Frank H. Partridge (1893-1994authorized the routine transfer of Assistant Chief Patrol Inspector Richard E. Batchelor (1919-2015) from Tucson Sector (GS-9) to Miami Sector (GS-11) to be assigned as the Intelligence Officer. The memo informed George F. Klemcke (1915-1967).  Points of interest in the memo are:
      • Similar to today's Chief Patrol Agent position with two classes (GS-15s and SESs), there were two classes of Assistant Chief Patrol Inspectors (GS-9 and GS-11),
      • George Klemcke had the title of "Chief of Border Patrol" in the memo (this may have been in an acting role).  Various newspaper obituary sources list him as the Deputy Chief of Border Patrol at the time of his death.

    Esprit de Corps

    The workplace climate resulting from a combination of organizational pride and employee morale.

    • Organizational pride is the positive feeling experienced by employees from being part of a meaningful team that is rich in history, tradition and culture.
    • Employee morale is the feeling experienced by employee based in part on their perception of:
      • Being valued by the organization,
      • Fairly compensated, and
      • Performing meaningful work.

    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.

    Click here to Visit the Honor First & Esprit De Corps Page



    • On August 13, 1919, Acting Supervisory Inspector George Harris (1876-1941) wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General asking for clarification concerning authorizing the entry of aliening into the United States.
      • Harris would be one of the first two "Chiefs" of the Border Patrol in 1926 and the only person to have been "Chief" twice (the position was called Supervisor in 1926 and Director in 1932). 
        • I would also mention that on his death in 1941, many newspapers referred to him as the "Father of the Border Patrol".  However, no documents have been discovered that demonstrate his contributions as exists to support Frank Berkshire (1870-1934) having the title "Father of the Border Patrol".
        • At the time of the memo, Harris was the Acting Supervisory Inspector in the absence of Berkshire.  The position was unique in the Immigration service with only Berkshire ever having held it.  The position covered the entire Mexican border.


    • On August 10, 1929, El Paso District Director Grover W. Wilmoth (1884-1951) wrote a memo to the Commissioner-General concerning a gunfight that occurred between alcohol smugglers, and Patrol Inspectors Charles W. Hayes and Richard R. Costa.  18 gallons of alcohol was seized.  the Inspectors believed that at least one smuggler was injured or killed.
      • Coscia would leave the Patrol and later be convicted of impersonating a federal officer in 1931.  He used his Border Patrol uniform to stop a person that was smuggling alcohol.  He told the smuggler to run away, stole the alcohol and was subsequently arrested.
      • Acting El Paso Sub-district Chief Patrol Agent Gottlieb Widmer Linnenkohl (1891-1952) wrote the initial report and took the sworn statement.
    • On August 10, 1929, Commissioner-General Harry E. Hull (1864-1938) sent a memo to the Secretary of Labor concerning pay raises for the Patrol Inspectors in District #1 (Montreal District).  The memo contains the names, titles, locations and salaries for the effected employees.  Further, it shows that the district had four sub-districts at the time, down from the five it had in 1924.


    • On August 9, 1933, as part of the reorganization that created the Immigration and Naturalization Service, all Border Patrol personnel were separated from the service and temporarily rehired the next day for a maximum of four months.  This was the beginning of the Benzine Boards in the Border Patrol.
      • Benzine was common cleaning agent.  Benzine Boards were designed to clean the Patrol of less-desirable employees through terminations and forced retirements.
        • Those Border Patrol personnel who were qualified for retirement with 30 years of government service or aged 60 or more were forced to retire. Those not retired were required to appear before a review board made up of scholars, politicians and civic activists, who would determine whether the Patrol Inspector would receive a permanent appointment.
      • From - HONOR FIRST:  The Story of the United States Border Patrol - Volume I by Joseph Banco
    • On August 11, 1933, Tampa Sub-district Chief Patrol Inspector Chester C. Courtney (1890-1969) wrote a memo to the Jacksonville District Director.  The memo reported the performance of a Border Patrol pistol team that had just competed in the second annual pistol match of the Florida Police Pistol League.  Competing for the Border Patrol was:
      • Chief Patrol Inspector Chester C. Courtney
      • Patrol Inspector Ervin A. Froshaug (1895-1977)
      • Patrol Inspector Edwin M. Redmond (1901-1968)
      • Patrol Inspector Carl H. Ray (1892-1973)
      • Patrol Inspector Carl A. Clyatt (1902-1953)
      • Patrol Inspector Frank Hornyak (1904-1963)


    • On August 13, 1934, a memo was issued authorizing Patrol Inspectors assigned to the Mexican border to wear rough duty uniforms.  The memo describes the uniforms and placement of badges and ornaments.


    • On August 13, 1945, the Commissioner of the INS sent a memo to the field requesting information concerning the eight-pointed cap that was being worn by Patrol Inspectors. Information has been received at the Central Office that Patrol Inspectors were dissatisfied with the cap.


    • Act of August 7, 1946 (60 Stat. 865; 8 U.S.C. 110), which amended the Act of February 27, 1925 (43 Stat. 1049-1050; 8 U.S.C. 110), continuing the basic authorities and finally codifying the following authorities:
      • (1)  Extended the power, without warrant, to arrest any alien in the United States in violation of any law or regulation made in pursuance of law regulating the admission, exclusion, or expulsion of aliens, and likely to escape before a warrant could be obtained for his arrest.
      • (2)  Reason to believe aliens were being brought into the United States in a conveyance was no longer necessary to board and search such conveyance; however, the search had to be made within a reasonable distance of an external boundary.
      • (3) Added the power, without warrant, to make arrests for felonies committed and cognizable under any law of the United States regulating the admission, exclusion, or expulsion of aliens, if the person making the arrest has reason to believe that the person so arrested is guilty of such felony and if there is likelihood of the person escaping before a warrant can be obtained for his arrest.
      • From - HONOR FIRST:  The Story of the United States Border Patrol - Volume I by Joseph Banco


    • On August 8, 1950, the El Paso District entered into a lease agreement with El Paso County for land near Ascarate Park to house the Border Patrol Training School.  the lease agreement was for $1.00 per year.
      • This land was never used as a location for the Academy.


    • On August 13, 1954, Los Angeles District Director Herman R. Landon (1899-1985) wrote a memo to the Commissioner of the INS providing three recommendations to hold the gains achieved with Operation Wetback.  Each recommendation includes various levels of manpower, equipment and fencing.


    • "August 3, 1961, as a result of the swift actions of the Border Patrol and FBI in El Paso, TX, an attempt to hijack a plane to Cuba was thwarted. Following this attempted hijacking, President Kennedy announced on August 10, 1961 that Border Patrol Agents would be placed on commercial airlines to prevent future hijackings. Twelve hours later armed Border Patrol Agents were in the sky, the forerunners of the Sky Marshals."  - Roger “Buck” Brandemuehl, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol 1980-1986 (Retired)

    I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Joe Banco for allowing me to reference his books in This Week in USBP History. Please consider purchasing his books for a deep dive into USBP History.

    CLICK HERE TO Visit the USBP History Page

    Newton-Azrak Award Action Anniversaries​

    Follow this link to see examples of USBP employees Upholding Honor First.

    • An organization’s values are codified in its awards system. Recognizing the achievements, service and heroism of employees is important.  It is critical for those in positions of leadership to value the workforce.  Awards are a fundamental manner for leaders to demonstrate appreciation to the workforce for upholding the organizational values. – U.S. Border Patrol Honorary Awards


    Robert B. LaBelle
    Border Patrol Agent
    Swanton Sector

    Peter R. Moran
    Border Patrol Agent
    Swanton Sector

    Donald A. Peck
    Border Patrol Agent
    Swanton Sector

    Border Patrol Agent Robert B. LaBelle was recognized for his exceptional courage in rescuing two Canadian residents whose boats had capsized in the midst of one of the most violent summer storms ever experienced in the Lake Champlain region.  On August 8, 1983, despite the extremely hazardous and life threatening weather conditions, he, along with Border Patrol Agents Peter Moran and Donald Peck, made numerous attempts before successfully rescuing the victims.


    Arthur G. Lopez
    Border Patrol Agent
    Tucson Sector

    On August 10, 1995, Border Patrol Agent Arthur G. Lopez displayed unusual courage during an incident in which he was critically wounded by gunfire along the U.S./Mexico international boundary.
    At approximately 2:00 pm, Agent Lopez proceeded to an area along the border commonly known as Smuggler’s Gulch. He was accompanied by BPA (T) Ronal Wehr and was assigned routine linewatch and patrol duties.
    Agents Lopez and Wehr observed activity on the Mexican side of the international boundary fence that appeared to be Mexican police chasing individuals on foot.  The Smuggler’s Gulch area is a notoriously known canyon leading into the U.S. from Mexico that empties near the residential and business areas of Nogales, Arizona.  It is frequently used by organized criminal groups for the purpose of smuggling undocumented foreign nationals, narcotics, and other contraband.  It is also a favorite lair for border bandits who prey on their victims (other illegal aliens) as they cross from Mexico into the U.S.
    As Agents Lopez and Wehr arrived at a high point on the U.S. side of the border that overlooks Smuggler’s Gulch, they observed armed, uniformed individuals chasing and shooting at other individuals.  The agents saw these uniformed individuals capture two, and then push and kick one of the people they were chasing.  Upon discovering that they were being observed by Agents Lopez and Wehr, at least one of the individuals, later identified as Mexican police officers, began shooting at Agents Lopez and Wehr.  BPA Lopez was critically wounded while attempting to run toward the steel border fence for cover.  Agent Lopez fell to the ground but was able to crawl to the fence.  He continued to give clear verbal instruction to BPA (T) Ronald Wehr the entire time.  After ensuring the safety of his trainee partner and himself, Agent Lopez proceeded to call for assistance via his hand-held radio.  He informed other units that he had been shot and that he was continuing to receive gunfire from the Mexican police.  He verbally directed the responding units to his location, advising them when it was clear to approach and the originating point of the assailant’s gunfire.
    His calm and composed actions during a very traumatic, critical moment most assuredly contributed to the safety of his partner, the responding units, and likely played a key part in saving his own life, as he was racing the clock against rapid loss of blood.  He never lost consciousness, did not panic, and was able to clearly communicate the situation to the benefit of the responding Border Patrol units and other agency units.


    James E. Lassiter Jr.
    Immigration Officer
    Rome District

    Mr. James E. Lassiter, while on official duty as the Assistant Officer-In-Charge, Nairobi, Kenya, Rome District, Office of International Affairs, courageously saved the life of Foreign Service National employee of the United States Government following the attack of the U.S. Embassy on August 7, 1998.
    Mr. Lassiter was in an interior section of the main floor of the Embassy when the explosion occurred.  Mr. Lassiter was buried under four feet of concrete bricks and ceiling material.  He was in total darkness, pinned to the floor from the waist down, and forced to breathe toxic, smoke-filled air.  When the smoke and dust cleared, Mr. Lassiter forcibly extricated himself from the heavy rubble and, although in shock, began climbing over bricks, glass, broken furniture, and mangled security bars towards daylight at the rear of the Embassy.
    When Mr. Lassiter reached the INS office and adjacent foreign commercial Service office areas, he could see that all interior walls had been blown down and broken desks and files were piled from two to eight feet deep.  Still in shock, he continued to make his way toward the light when he heard a cry for help from a Foreign Service National employee of the Foreign Commercial Service.  When Mr. Lassiter found the employee, he had blood streaming from his head and face and his left hand was partially severed at the wrist.  Mr. Lassiter assisted him to his feet, put the Kenyan’s arm around his neck, and helped him to reach the back wall.  Mr. Lassiter assisted him in climbing onto a high window ledge and then dragged and verbally directed the employee to crawl approximately 15 feet to a place where they could safely exit the building and then assisted him into an ambulance.  Despite severely bruised ribs and a smashed lower leg, Mr. Lassiter remained at the scene to assist in further rescue efforts.  He gave direction and information to rescue workers and security personnel regarding those individuals who were present on the main floor at the time of the blast, and the layout and condition of the interior of the main floor.  The Foreign Service National Employee was evacuated to Germany for medical treatment and has since regained his eyesight and use of his left hand.

    Joseph P. Martin
    Immigration Officer
    Rome District

    Mr. Joseph P. Martin, Officer-in-Charge, Nairobi, Kenya, Rome District, Office of International Affairs, is recognized for his unusual courage and bravery in his reaction to the terrorist bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 1998.
    Mr. Martin was in the Embassy at the time of the explosion and was able to exit the building; however, on three occasions, ignoring his own safety, he returned into the building to assist in the rescue operation of other trapped, injured, and deceased Embassy personnel.  Mr. Martin assisted in the evacuation of several Embassy personnel, including the wife of his Assistant Officer-in-Charge.  Additionally, concerned about the fate of another INS employee, Mr. Martin returned to the INS area of the building in an attempt to locate her.  The INS office was one of the hardest hit at the Embassy; however, Mr. Martin climbed a ladder back into the Embassy in an attempt to ensure the employee’s safety.

    Armando Moralez
    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
    San Diego Sector

    On the morning of August 8, 1998, at approximately 8:05 a.m., a serious injury two-vehicle accident occurred at the intersection of Ballantyne and Main in the city of El Cajon.  As a result of the accident, one of the vehicles which was occupied by an adult female driver and a three-year-old passenger, burst into flames.
    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Armando Moralez was on duty at the time of the two-vehicle accident.  As he came upon the scene, he positioned his vehicle to block the traffic flow to keep other vehicles from becoming involved in the accident scene.  Upon observing the fire and that the vehicle was occupied, SBPA Moralez immediately retrieved his fire extinguisher from his Border Patrol vehicle and began attempting to extinguish the fire.  During this time, SBPA Moralez and other law enforcement officers exposed themselves to the danger of the fire and possible exploding fuel.  SBPA Moralez continued to fight the fire until the rescue of the two victims was complete.
    During this stressful emergency, SBPA Moralez exercised great courage and bravery in the pursuit of a worthwhile objective fully knowing that he was placing himself in imminent peril of loss of life or great bodily injury in the line of duty.

    CLICK HERE TO VISIT the Newton-Azrak Page

    USBP Fallen​

    As of May 16, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol has suffered 152* fallen.

    • 3 Mounted Watchmen fell before 1924 and are carried as Border Patrol fallen
    • 48 Border Patrol Inspectors fell between 1924 and 1970
    • 100 Border Patrol Agents have fallen since 1970
    • 1 Enforcement Analysis Specialist

    The names that appear below hold a place of honor. They have made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to fulfill the oath each officer took to protect and defend the United States of America.

    The facts regarding each officer are presented without major editing of the "language of the day" found in the reports detailing the circumstances of each event. This is done to provide the reader an association with historical timeframes.

    Employees who died in the line of duty due to being exposed to deadly illnesses will not have the cause of death listed.

    *With the exception of two of the fallen immediately below, all names are listed (or in the process of being included) on the official Honor Roll of U.S. Border Patrol Fallen and inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.  The U.S. Border Patrol should fix these discrepancies. honors both of the fallen.

    • Joe R. White - He is recognized as officially fallen by the U.S. Border Patrol but his name is not inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.
    • John Charles Gigax - He is not recognized as officially fallen by Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Border Patrol. He is remembered by all except his own agency with his name being inscribed on the:
      • National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial (see this link),
      • Officer Down memorial Page (see this link), and
      • Texas Peace Officer's Memorial (see this link).


    Manuel A. Alvarez
    Date of Birth                 October 12, 1978
    Entered on Duty:          July 13, 2003
    Title:                             Border Patrol Agent
    End of Watch:              August 11, 2016
    On August 11, 2016, Border Patrol Agent Manuel A. Alvarez was killed in the line of duty near Casa Grande, Arizona. Agent Alvarez was involved in a vehicle accident and died at the scene. He was 37 years old and assigned to the Casa Grande Station.
    Agent Alvarez entered on duty July 13, 2003, as a member of U.S. Border Patrol Academy Class 557.
    He is survived by his wife, four children, parents and two sisters.


    CLICK HERE TO VISIT the USBP Fallen Page Links

    The green bubbles below are links.

    Click to explore!

    USBP Photo Galleries
    USBP Honorary Awards
    Upholding Honor First
    USBP History Blog & ARCHIVES

    For Your Consideration


    A special thanks to the Border Patrol Museum, a non-profit organization (CFC #16083) for the use of many of their images on the site.  Please consider visiting the Border Patrol Museum's Gift Shop.  The Border Patrol Museum receives no federal funds and relies on donations and gift sales to remain open.

    Retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Joseph Banco

    Fellow USBP historian and retired Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Joseph Banco has written a series of very well researched books on USBP history.  These include:

    • HONOR FIRST:  The Story of the United States Border Patrol -Volume I covering the Mounted Guards, the formation of the U.S. Border Patrol, and its first 25 years,
    • HONOR FIRST:  The Story of the United States Border Patrol -Volume II covering 1949-1974; and
    • HONOR FIRST:  The Unsung Heroes of Oxford telling the story of the U.S. Border Patrol deployment to the University of Mississippi in 1962 to defend the U.S. Constitution and ensure the enrollment of the first African-American at Ole Miss.  

    Joe is currently writing Volume III of the HONOR FIRST series, which will cover U.S. Border Patrol history from 1975-1999. Please visit his website at​ or visit the Border Patrol Museum's Gift Shop for information how to order the books.

    More about Joe

    Joseph Banco is a naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.   With over 38 years of government service, he retired from the U.S. Border Patrol in 2018 as the Deputy Chief of the New Orleans Sector after almost 24 years, having served on the Southern, Northern, and Coastal borders as well as assignments at Headquarters in Washington, DC, and overseas.  These included border assignments in Texas, California, Arizona, Washington, Florida, New York, Michigan, and Louisiana, working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while assigned as liaison at their Headquarters in Ottawa, Canada, negotiating international agreements with Canada, Mexico, and Central American nations and coordinating the posting of Border Patrol Agents around the world while assigned as Chief of Foreign Operations for the U.S. Border Patrol.  Prior to entering the U.S. Border Patrol, Joseph Banco served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for more than 14 years as a Law Enforcement Specialist/Supervisor and Disaster Preparedness Manager.  His service in the Air Force included assignments across the United States, in the European theater, and in Southwest Asia as part of Operation Desert Storm. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security.  Joseph Banco is a recipient of numerous awards to include the Outstanding American by Choice Award, the Secretary’s Award for Excellence, the DHS Partner Award, and the USBP Commendation Medal.

    About Ray Harris

    Retired Immigration Special Agent Ray Harris

    Ray Harris is a native of Columbia, South Carolina.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arizona, an Associate of Arts in Business Administration from Pensacola Junior College, and an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice from Pima County Community College.  He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps having achieved the rank of Gunnery Sergeant (E-7).

    He entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) as a member of Class 139 on September 15, 1980.  During his 17-year career with the USBP, he was assigned to five different stations: 

    • Presidio (1980-1982),
    • Nogales (1982-1988),
    • New Orleans (1988-1992),
    • Temecula (1992-1995), and 
    • Riverside (1995-1997) where he had been promoted to Supervisory Border Patrol Agent.

    In 1997, he transferred to Investigations within the Immigration and Naturalization Service as a Special Agent in San Bernardino, California.  He remained in the position until his retirement from federal service in 2002.

    He is a recipient of several Quality Step Increases and numerous performance awards.  In 2020, Ray Harris was awarded the Border Patrol's highest award for performance, the USBP Commendation Medal.  As of this writing, he is the only recipient to have received the recognition for efforts performed completely while retired.


    The Creation of the HonorFirst Website and Delphi Forums

    The internet saw its popularity begin to grow in the mid-1990.  About that time, Ray Harris realized that there were no sites that contained information on the U.S. Border Patrol and its hiring process.  To address that shortfall, sometime around 1998, Ray created a one-page website that consisted of a simple announcement that the Border Patrol was hiring.  The site had a green background with a green font and included his email address.  Here is a capture of the website from 1999​.

    After launching the site, Ray was soon was overwhelmed with applicants requesting additional information. In his attempt to answer the flood of applicants, Ray spent approximately four hours on the telephone per day speaking to applicants.
      Realizing the unsustainable pace was problematic, Ray found a solution with Delphi Forums.  In March of 1998, Ray created an open forum that evolved to be the Agent's Forum.   The idea behind the forum was for people who were in the hiring process, and agents, to offer assistance to new applicants in navigating the convoluted hiring process.  At the time, the Agent's Forum was the only LEO forum on Delphi.  In the following year, Ray created the Applicant's Forum.

    Ray realized that the government seemed to have no intention of creating a website to inform and assist applicants. Therefore, he expanded the information contained on and switched website providers.  was dedicated exclusively to assisting Border Patrol recruiting and helping applicants.  Since its inception, the Applicant's Forum has accumulated over 48,000 members, with over 3.7 million additional people visiting. 

    ​The significant impact of the site became apparent when Ray received a call from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) stating that was skewing their statistics.  To correct the anomalies, OPM assigned a code to collect statistics of applicants who applied from

    ​Years later, Ray received a call from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requesting to use content from to help establish what would evolve into today's CBP Border Patrol hiring page.  Since then, CBP's hiring websites have improved and are great sources of information for applicants. 

    In March 2021, Ray invited recently retired Assistant Chief Clifford Gill to assist in moderating the Delphi forums and to be a webmaster for  Cliff has built on the solid foundation created by Ray and has expanded to include pages to attract current and former Border Patrol agents as well as those interested in the USBP.

    About the Author

    Retired Assistant Chief Clifford Gill

    Clifford Gill is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the American Military University.  He is a veteran of the United States Navy.

    He entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) as a member of Class 377 on May 18, 1998. During his career, he worked in the Laredo Sector and at USBP Headquarters in Washington DC.

    In his final assignment at USBP Headquarters, he served as the Assistant Chief over the Awards and History Programs. He was the founding program manager for each of those programs. As the historian, he made numerous significant discoveries through hours of research at the National Archives. In his previous assignment as the USBP Fleet Program Manager he identified efficiencies in managing the fleet that earned him the Logistician of the Year Award given by the International Society of Logisticians, Washington DC chapter.  In addition to his regular duties he was a member of the USBP Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums (P&D).  He led the formation of the P&D in 2007 and was the founding Commander. 

    He is a recipient of the USBP Newton-Azrak Award, the USBP Commendation Medal with a "V" device, the USBP Achievement Medal with "2" device​ in lieu of a second award and the USBP 75th Anniversary Medal.

    In retirement, aside from sending USBP history mails, he assists Ray Harris in managing and in moderating the applicant's and agent's Delphi forums. To continue advocating for the USBP workforce, he maintains regular communication with active USBP employees of all levels/ranks through daily emails, telephone calls and via social media.

    USBP - W.I.N. E30: Ret. Assistant Chief Clifford Gill

    Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens, interviews Retired Assistant Chief Clifford Gill. Clifford Gill is considered the first Border Patrol Historian. Gill discusses several myths regarding Border Patrol history. Topics include the actual founder of the Border Patrol, and the first established Border Patrol Station.


    The photograph above was taken of Cliff in December 2018 at the National Archives in Washington DC.  At the time, he was the USBP's historian was discovering many of the documents that were used to create this email.  

    Joe Banco and Cliff have spent 100s of hours in that room constructing lost USBP history.