Thursday, December 16, 2010

America's Unsung Heroes

It's a known fact among our readers that Two Sisters From The Right is written by real life sisters who live a great distance away from each other.  Sister one lives in South Texas, a scant two hours drive from the border with Mexico.  Sister Two lives in Northern Illinois.  Because of her proximity with the border, Sister One is more familiar with the problems that exist in the area, and the courage of the men and women who serve in the United States Border Patrol. 

When word was received that a Border Patrol agent had been killed in Arizona,  this writer and her husband happened to be dining with a Border Patrol officer and his wife.  He immediately made a call and verified the details of the story.  It is the nature of the Border Patrol that when one officer is killed, all feel it, all know that without God's Grace, it could have been one of them.

All the members of the Border Patrol will pay tribute to their fallen fellow agent. Flags will fly at half mast. We feel that the members of the Border Patrol are America's unsung heroes.  On a daily basis, they face numerable dangers  protecting our border from illegal entry by individuals from various countries, from smugglers dealing with a variety of contraband, and from terrorists using our porous borders to enter our country illegally.  Quite often these intrepid men and women  are taken for granted by most Americans.  This is especially true in parts of the country where their distinctive green uniforms are not a part of the local scenery.

The bandits who killed this latest agent are not rare in the border regions.  Illegal immigrants are brought across the border by smugglers locally known as  "coyotes." They prey on the large number of illegals who want to cross the border daily in search of jobs in the U.S.  Their specialty is human smuggling.  Coyotes often abandon those who've paid for safe passage to the cities, which has frequently resulted in their dying in the desert or desolate lands.   

Border bandits  look for opportunities to ambush and rob these people as they make their way through the wilderness.  Smugglers like the coyotes, are also known to carry cash, as well as drugs and weapons. They are easy prey for the bandits who await them.  As one B.P. officer stated, these bandits are the "lowest of the low."  They are hardened criminals, not afraid to kill, and not afraid to shoot it out with the law.   Their mere existence increases the danger that Border Patrol agents face as they carry out their assigned duties. 

Agent Brian Terry, who was slain in Arizona was trained as part of the Border Patrol's Search, Trauma and Rescue team. Their duty is often to render aid to those who have been left to die.

Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit is a highly specialized unit capable of responding to emergency search and rescue situations anywhere in the United States. Created in 1998 in response to the growing number of migrant deaths occurring along our nation’s border, BORSTAR deploys to
areas of concern and provides assistance to those in distress.

BORSTAR is comprised of Border Patrol agents who volunteer to go beyond their regular duties. BORSTAR agents may receive additional specialized training after the academy, including paramedic, police safety diver, rescue watercraft/boat operator, and cold weather operations training.  BORSTAR national headquarters is located in El Paso, Texas. There are local BORSTAR teams at each Southwest Border sector.

Such was Agent Brian Terry's mission  in Arizona when they encountered the bandits and the subsequent gun battle ensued--a shoot out that would leave him mortally wounded.  

Border agent killed in gun battle in Arizona

By Tim Gaynor

Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:35pm EST

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot dead by suspected smugglers in a gun battle close to the Mexico border in southern Arizona and four suspects have been arrested, authorities said on Wednesday.

Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was shot dead after he confronted several suspects while on duty with a special tactical team in a mountainous area a few miles northwest of the border city of Nogales late on Tuesday night, local and federal police said.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
Police arrested at least four suspects, one of whom was wounded in the exchange of shots. They are searching for another who remains at large, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss," CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin said in a statement.

"Our commitment to Agent Terry and his family is that we will do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for this despicable act," he added.

The shooting comes amid growing concern in the United States over the potential for drug cartel violence to spill across the border from Mexico, where more than 33,000 people have been killed since President Vicente Calderon took office in 2006 and vowed to crush the cartels.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer ordered state flags flown at half staff in tribute to Terry, a Marine Corps veteran from Detroit, Michigan, who served in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector.


Agents patrolling the sector's 262-mile stretch of the Mexico border make around half of the illegal immigrant arrests and marijuana seizures recorded along the southwest border.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said the assailants were likely to be either smugglers who use the rugged, mountainous area west of Nogales to haul both drugs and illegal immigrants into the United States, or bandits who frequently prey on them, he said.

"That area is known to be a smuggling area, both human and drug smuggling," Estrada told Reuters.

"We don't know if they were protecting a load or preying on people who were coming through ... the area ... with drugs or humans," he added.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the agent's death, with the assistance of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

The last Border Patrol agent to be killed on duty was Robert Rosas, 30, who was shot to death near Campo in southern California in July 2009. Police caught the killer, who was subsequently jailed with a 40-year sentence.
(Editing by Peter Bohan)

Two Sisters From The Right express our condolences to Agent Brian Terry's family and his colleagues in the United States Border Patrol.  As they continue to defend our borders, we thank them for their sacrifice and bravery.  In the war against illegal immigration, drug smuggling and terrorism, they are our unsung heroes.

R.I.P. Agent Brian Terry.

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