Facts and Trivia

Unique facts, interesting trivia, and other informational novelty.

Why are Border Patrol Agents sometimes called PIs? You will hear this term a lot when our most wizened gather and talk about times past. When the Border Patrol was founded on May 28th, 1924, the agents worked for the Department of Labor and they were designated as Patrol Inspectors. In 1940, the Department of Justice took over the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and with it, the Border Patrol. The title of Patrol Inspector remained, even as the badge changed. In 1970, the Department of Justice changed the title of the Patrol Inspector to Patrol Agent (PA) and the current designation now continues even after the Border Patrol joined the Department of Homeland Security, under the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. After 46 years of being called PIs, it was difficult for agents to adjust to the new term of PAs when they talked about each other. It wasn’t until the 90s that the new term (PA) began to gain some recognition among agents.

A BORTACer is a member of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). The unit is an all-volunteer unit that was formed in 1984 in response to an increased threat of riots at several of the Immigration Service’s Alien Processing Centers.

The basic qualifications for a BORTAC candidate included: (1) a minimum of 3 years Border Patrol experience, (2) a high level of physical fitness; (3) documented weapons proficiency; (4) Sector recommendation; (5) successful completion of a team-orientated, high-stress, physically demanding basic selection course.

The original mission of BORTAC was to provide the Immigration and Naturalization Service with a specially trained and equipped, tactical unit for rapid response to emergent and/or unusual law enforcement situation requiring special tactic and techniques.

Since its inception, BORTAC agents have provided security at both the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and Winter Olympics in Provo, Utah. They have responded to numerous riot situations at Service Processing Centers, and the Los Angeles Riots in 1992 and were involved in the famous Elian Gonzalez rescue. They have served overseas in over 25 countries performing a variety of missions, and continue today serving our country in such places as Iraq. Former and current BORTACers can be identified by a unique pin they wear on their uniforms.

The person convicted for the murder of Border Patrol Inspector Anthony L. Oneto was the first individual to ever be give n the death sentence by the Federal District Court, Southern District of California.

Carlos Ochoa, an illegal alien smuggler was convicted in Federal District Court, Southern District of California for the murder of Border Patrol Inspector Anthony L. Oneto, and sentenced to death. He was executed on December 10, 1948 in the gas chamber at San Quentin. Border Patrol Inspector John (Red) Fouquette, who was injured in the shooting incident in which Inspec tor Oneto was killed, was the Federal Witness to the execution. * The Riverside Enterprise, Riverside, California dated 12/11/48.

American Legion Post #812, located in Costa Mesa, California was named in honor of Inspector Oneto. They were generous contributors to the National Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas during the time of their building project for the current Museum facility and are classified as “Museum Patrons” for their financial support. The Post and Inspector Oneto are honored by the Museum in the newly refurbished Newton – Azrak and Anthony L. Oneto Memorial Room.

William Henry "Bill" Jordan (1911–1997) was an American lawman, United States Marine and author.

Born in 1911 in Louisiana, he served for over 30 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, while also serving as a US Marine during World War II and the Korean War. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel.

Jordan is credited with developing the ‘Jordan’ or ‘Border Patrol’ style of holster. The Jordan rig is rigid and unmoving, always holding the gunbutt in precisely the same relationship to the gun hand. The revolver’s trigger guard is completely exposed, and the gun is held away from the back portion of the holster by a plug of leather, allowing the trigger finger to enter the guard as the draw is commenced. He also collaborated with Walter Roper in the design of wooden grips intended for heavy-calibre double action revolvers, which are now made by Herrett’s Stocks as the "Jordan Trooper". Jordan always favored a double action revolver for law enforcement duties. He was largely responsible for convincing Smith & Wesson to adapt its medium K-frame series revolver to accommodate the .357 Magnum cartridge, resulting in the (S&W Model 19 and S&W Model 66) "Combat Magnum".

After retiring from the Border Patrol, Jordan served as a Southwestern Field Representative for the National Rifle Association. He was a contemporary of Charles Askins, Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton and to a lesser degree, Jack O’Connor. He wrote numerous articles on all aspects of firearms, as well as books such as No Second Place Winner, Mostly Huntin’ and Tales of the Rio Grande. Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

Using a double action revolver, Bill Jordan was recorded drawing, firing and hitting his target in .27 of a second. He appeared on such television prorams as To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, You Asked for It, and Wide Wide World.[1]

Bill Jordan died in 1997.

The U.S. Border Patrol Canine Center, El Paso, Texas has found a new and innovative way to honor Agents who have been killed in the line of duty, or have received the Border Patrol’s highest award for heroism.

Some of the puppies born at the K-9 facility as part of the Border Patrol’s "Puppy Program" have been named in honor of those who have given their lives, or received the Border Patrol’s highest award for heroism. Examples are:

K-9 Erica, for Eric Cabral, 7/26/07

K-9 Edwin, for Edwin Dennis 2/4/74

K-9 Eppy, for James Epling, 12/16/03

K-9 Eloy, for Eloy Hernandez, 1/17/02

K-9 Elga, for Elgar Holiday, 10/18/67

K-9 Edie, for Edwin Wheeler, 7/6/52

K-9 Earl, for Earl Roberts, 3/24/29

K-9 Engel, for James Engelhardt, recipient of Newton/Azrak award for heroism.

This Information was provided to the National Border Patrol Museum by Training Operations Supervisor, SBPA, Rob Lukason from his article in the July/August issue of Police K-9 Magazine.