Border Update 28,29,30DEC08
This will be an abbreviated AAR replete with excuses. My first justification for the tardiness of this report is basic laziness. Secondly, Red Army, in his entertaining, unique and very punctual way, provided an excellent report, which accurately describes the events of Monday, 29DEC08. I feel little need to elaborate, though I probably will. His AAR is posted directly below this one and incorporates my photos, the majority of which I was going to include in my description of my latest deployment.
The main reason for my delay, apart from having an actual job and life to attend to, was the attempt to retrieve information from the badly damaged cell phone that Red Army found in our search of the grounds at Shangri La.
This took me the better part of a week off and on. My efforts were aided unknowingly by individuals who, out of the goodness of their hearts, gave their old cell phones to me to donate to Cell Phones for Soldiers. This is a worthy cause, which I wholeheartedly endorse. Please click on the above link to find out how you can help our troops overseas get phone cards to call their loved ones back home. My laziness paid off as I had not yet mailed the cell phones to Cell phones for Soldiers and was able to utilize an old, unlocked Nokia to extract some of the numbers form the phone found in the smuggling area. However, after getting numbers fro the old Nokia I was not 100% sure if I was accessing the memory from the TelCel SIM card which I took from the damaged phone and placed in the Nokia, or from the Nokia itself. To verify, I managed to repair the damaged screen on the unit Red Army found enough to retrieve the numbers, which were indeed were the numbers from the Mexican provider. The TelCel SIM yielded some 48 numbers from areas as diverse as San Diego and downtown LA to multiple villages in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Guerrero. This info has been passed along through official channels to the local Border Patrol Intel division. There was some other interesting information that I found on the phone but it would not be prudent to disclose it here.
All that said, HotShot and I left our home area about 1100 on Sunday, 28DEC and made it to Camp Vigilance by 1330. I had some vital fluids onboard to deliver to Godzilla including petrol treated for long term storage and “TransX” (liquid sawdust) for it’s badly slipping and leaking automatic transmission. Godzilla transfused with the liquids I made phone contact with 36 and met him out at the Horsepuckies spread. After visiting with these stalwart patriots 36 went left to deploy with U.S. Evolutions and, after preparing my sleeping quarters n the old 5th wheel I set out for the border near Campo. I chatted with several BP agents, spoke with Fedupincali (FN9) on the phone and did my usual drill of patrolling with lights ala BP and sitting in the dark, observing. It was a pretty quiet evening and about 1800 36 showed up and we visited at the grassy knoll. I was privileged to not only have this old friend’s company but to use his state of the art Gen3 night vision device. The latter totally ruined me. My Gen2+ with 5X magnifier seems like looking through a tissue tube compared to the Gen3 unit. I gotta start saving my pennies.
I sat at the donut hole from 2000 to 2230, patrolled the new road from 141 down to the bottom of La Gloria, then headed back to the Horsepuckies spread. It was lights out in the heated 5th wheel at 2330.
I was up at 0600 and by 0700 I was headed down Shockey Truck trail toward the border. I chatted with Kingfish on the phone as I passed beneath his position on the high point east of Smith Canyon.
Then I pressed on to the west through Smith Canyon. On the west side of Smith I opted to take the new border road next to the new fence on down through La Gloria Canyon, rather than taking the old winding road. Be advised that the recent heavy rains have left the new road badly rutted and, even at slow speed on such rut swallowed my front wheel and nearly launched poor Hot Shot through the windshield.
There were still two gaps for “gates” in the new fence leaving easy access for smugglers into la Gloria. Hopefully these gaps will be filled by the next time I arrive on the line in January. Also be advised that the new road into and out of Smith is very steep.
I headed on west and as I eased up to the end of the fence just west of the 5 Star I spotted two men walking northwest across the field north of the Pemex and east of the intersection. Before I could get to my camera they spotted me and disappeared into the Bermuda triangle. I suspected they were on the way to become the morning spotters 0n 241 who like to be present for BP shift change. I was partially correct.
At about 0930 a dark SUV came north on the Ranchita rd., then turned east on the Pemex toward the area where the two men disappeared. It was a successful diversion for a moment because I did not see where the three other men came from but I spotted them as they approached the backside of 241. About that time Red Army, Golf 1 and Turtle arrived on the scene, geared up and after a brief sitrep Golf 1 and Turtle stormed the 241 while Red Army and stayed below. The intruders on 241 fled south as Golf 1 and Turtle approached the summit. Then Red Army drew my attention to the east. One of the two me I had seen upon my arrival had emerged from the Bermuda triangle and was on a rock talking on a cell phone.
I will spare you my interpretation of the rest of the days events as Red Army has the details in his report posted below this one.
Big Bob and his two grandsons Stretch, a seasoned border observer, and Major Tom, a first timer. Arrived on the line sometime that afternoon. After a relatively uneventful evening watch Red Army, Golf 1 and Turtle returned to North County and Big Bob’s crew and myself returned to the Horsepuckies spread for a good night’s sleep.
In the morning Big Bob wanted to give his grandsons a tour of the border area and Hot Shot and I agreed to accompany them. I told his grandsons about my first deployment to the Campo line in April of 2006 and that their grandfather was the first man there to befriend me and to give me a tour of the area. Then I reminded Big Bob to be sure and show them the face carved into the rock at 138 by some ancient artist, just as Big Bob had showed me that day back in ’06.
The boys got to see the face but unfortunately the heavy rains had taken their toll on the service road coming down from 138. Big Bob radioed me as I sat at the Donut hole waiting to travel with them to the train tunnel to the west. He was stuck.
Never going anywhere without a tow rope I ma proud to say my little underpowered V6 Dodge yanked the Ford out with no problem and we were on our way.
Unfortunately the long overdue and extremely welcomed fence and road construction at the Cap Rock impeded our progress and the tour of the train tunnel was not to be.
Big Bob turned around and took up position at the Donut Hole. I brought up the rear and as I passed the turnout to Zuellner’s High Point (ZHP) a man in black popped his head up from over the fence in Mexico, backed up and stood there looking at me looking at him.
Then he walked away. My intention was to leave the area and head for home after giving Big Bob’s grandsons the tunnel tour but with obvious activity in the area and no urgent need to return home I decided to position myself at ZHP for a while. I watched the man walk around, back and forth, soon joined by another. They would walk over to some rocks and disappear for awhile.
This went on for a while. In the meantime Big Bob was observing men and vehicles moving from the ranchita to the 241 area and back to the Bermuda triangle. I will spare you all the miscellaneous comings and goings but there were a lot of them, including a black Jeep wrangler that drove up from the ranchita to the base of the 241. Three men got out and went to the summit.
At ZHP I observed my two spotters walk from the high point by the Pemex to the big rock across from me and disappear. I went around to my ice chest and got a Red Bull. I turned around just in time to see about 14 people run south from behind the big rock toward the Pemex. They moved to fast for me to get their picture but I had waited the bastards out and they gave up!
I went to check the backside of my hill and didn’t notice anything at first.
Then a lone individual materialized out of nowhere and began walking in plain view down the path by where the old water truck used to be park close to the 94. I called BP to inform them and, no sooner than I hung up a BP agent popped up from behind a bush below me and waved! He was completely concealed and the POI walked right by him!
There are an abundance of new agents being trained in the area and rapidly two Suburbans filled with recruits pulled up and a veritable army of green swarmed toward the poor POI.
An agent also joined me at ZHP and went over the top to join the men below.
After about 45 minutes the agent returned and informed me that the lone individual was legal. I apologized for phoning in the report but told him I would rather that they decide what was relevant and what was not. He agreed and encouraged me to continue reporting any and all observations. Then he thanked me for being there and I returned the compliment.
Hot Shot and I said our goodbyes to Big Bob, Stretch and Major Tom then headed for home.
Major Moshe, my Mini-Marine helped me unload the truck.
I will be back on the border on Martin Luther King weekend. “I have a dream” that our Homeland is secure. Won’t you join us?