BORDER UPDATE and EDITORIAL: 31JUL-8AUG09
Hot Shot and I departed the C1 compound at 0600 to head to El Centro. There we were to try to do our small part to honor Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, who was brutally murdered near Tierra Del Sol on 23JUL09.
I arrived at the High School at 0745, where the funeral was to take place, then I traced the procession route back to the cemetery.
After checking in with the BP agent in charge I found a semi-shady spot down aways from the entrance to the cemetery and began setting up American Flags.
Red Army and Golf 1 arrived soon after I did. Shortly thereafter Horsepuckies, with FN9, Wildcard and a new roll of duct tape in the cab, pulled up and began setting up signs and flags.
As the procession rolled by we stood in the sun, in over 100 degree heat, with our hats over our hearts. It took over 45 minutes for all of the vehicles to pass.
My thoughts and prayers are with this hero’s family and with all the brave men and women of the United States Border Patrol.
Please send your generous contributions here:
Cabrillo Credit Union
358 East H Street, Ste. 603
Chula Vista, CA 91910
BPA Robert W. Rosas
Bank Account # 186716-02
We left El Centro at 1230 and arrived in Jacumba at 1310, gassed up and headed to Camp Vigilance where Godzilla required some routine maintenance.
Then we headed to a local rancher’s spread near Tierra Del Sol, who invited us to come to the ranch anytime and provide extra security. The owner has illegals crossing the property regularly and is not far from where Agent Rosas was executed. We surveyed the acreage on maps and in vehicles in order to improve security methods and will return again on our next trips. Several independent operators will be working the area at irregular intervals and one has moved in semi-permanently on the property.
1650- Red Army, Golf 1 and I head to the entrance to the border road at Red Shank in Tierra Del Sol. We were greeted by and Agent with an M4 who welcomed our presence and allowed us to gear up and arm ourselves there before we proceeded west down the border road.
1730- We arrived at the scene of Agent Rosas brutal murder and paid our respects. The agents on the scene, and there were many of them, were understandably solemn but nevertheless appreciative.
We pressed on west. I phoned Kingfish whose vehicle was in it’s usual position on the high point just east of Smith Canyon. I got no reply and left a message. I tried to raise him on the radio but, again, got no response.
1900- Hot Shot and I set up at Zuellners High Point (ZHP) while Golf 1 and Red Army set up at the twin towers high point just east of the 242. Around 2330, after observing no activity, they visited me at ZHP before they headed home. I repositioned myself to the Donut Hole before quitting the area at 0130. By 0200, 1AUG09 I was in bed in the 5th wheel at the Horsepuckies spread, where I was allowed to bunk for the entire week.
Though I was up at 0800 I plugged my laptop and radio in and hung around the ranch until they were both fully charged, while cleaning up my truck and relaxing. This was my “vacation” after all! I spent much of the time that day and others reading the book “Tracking: A Blueprint for Learning How” by Jack Kearney, a veteran tracker and retired BP agent from the El Cajon station.
I purchased this item from the National Border Patrol Museum, in El Paso, Texas. They have a great online gift store.
1230- Went to the Campo library and posted the brief update and AAR you see posted several entries below.
1400- Entered the border area at Tecate, CA and, after checking in with the BP agent on duty there, geared up and headed east on the border road.
1520-Donut Hole- After arming my truck with motion sensors I put my feet up and began a relaxed watch of the Ranchita below.
It was a slow watch and BP had an understandably large presence, as they did all week.
1720- Trail Cam experiment #4. Planted it on a well-worn trail.
I retrieved it two days later with nothing on it but a video of me.
I found some poor illegal’s medication on the trail.
1745-Geared down on the G road and headed for the public vigil for Agent Rosas at the Pine Valley Border Patrol station.
It was a good turnout and Border Patrol welcomed our presence.
News cameras were on the scene, I didn’t stay long.
1920-Met 36 at the Grassy Knoll. Hot Shot laid docile while we visited until all at once he bolted and headed in the direction of the “jefe hole”. No barking or growling, just a rapid sprint, which is his game alert. He was chasing a four-legged coyote.
1030- 36 went home and I joined FN9 at the Donut Hole
On this day, In the year 1925- Border Patrol Agent Augustin De La Pena died in the line of duty
At 0030 we observed several individuals in Mexico just southeast of the tank trap scanning the area with flashlights. It wasn't the occasional penlight typical of potential crossers finding their way in the dark but a purposeful searching.
They only extinguished their lights when a BP agent drove by the traps. Hot Shot and I walked down below the 5 Star for a better view and shot the video below. Then an agent in a truck approached and we emerged from the bushes to let him know what we had seen. The lights went out at that time and we went back to the Donut Hole. On the way up FN9 noted that the lights went east over the hill across from the Couch trail fence repair.
0200- FN9 and I called it a night
0245- I retired to the 5th wheel at the Horsepuckies ranch
0900- I was treated to a Sunday morning feast of flapjacks, bacon, biscuits and gravy prepared by Mrs. Horsepuckies and attended by Horsepuckies, two of his grandsons, and Shorty.
1300- Left the Horsepuckies spread to meet with 36 to visit and help him move a workbench. I took a proper shower at his place, the first in three days.
1815- Geared up on the G road west of Forrest Gate.
1850- Donut hole. I had barely arrived when a BP Supervisor advised me that the area would soon be filled with trainees and asked me to move west. He said the trainees would be between the 241 and the PCT. I repositioned to ZHP where I set up with my NVG to view the area due south and southeast. BP had the rest of the area on scope.
2130- I witnessed a string of at least half a dozen flashlights walking through the brush towards my position. They were well west of the 241 so I called them in, even though I was pretty sure it was the trainees. The agent I phoned confirmed my suspicions but I told him, “Hey, I just report, you decide."
2230- I left ZHP, phoned BP and received the OK to leave the area to the east.
0000- Left the area-Headed to Horsepuckie’s
0830- Got up, charged radios
1100- Headed to Ronbo’s yet another local whose hospitality and generosity overwhelms me. We visited for a while and by 1330 I was back on the border.
1430- Donut Hole.
1745-Two Tecate PD four door pickups with full roll cages in the back and officers in the bed roll east on the Pemex Rd.
I rolled east on the border road to Patriot point to see where they went but they either turned south or were hiding in the “Bermuda triangle.” I never saw them again.
1805- I moved to the upper couch platform where, at 1850 I was joined by FN9. We experimented with her Satellite linked laptop and I was able to check my e-mail from my tailgate.
2030- We observed a group of at least half a dozen men walk up from the south and disappear in the Bermuda triangle. Notified and agent in the area of our observation.
On this day, In 1986 Border Patrol Agent Norman Ray Salinas died in the line of duty.
1230- Left the area.
0100- Back at the 5th wheel-lights out
0930- Slept late, got up and charged radios
1230- Followed FN9 out to a very large ranch where yet another local had invited us and given carte blanche to run security operations.
There was sign all over, along with some evidence of more ancient inhabitants.
And at one group of rocks, an obvious spotters position
we found a stash of old water bottles and food.
To Hot Shots delight there was a large can of his favorite: Dinty Moore beef stew.
We had it for supper later that evening.
1800- We left the ranch and headed back to the line. Rosco, a relatively new border operator, called and informed me he was on the line waiting. I had worked with him briefly in Bell Valley several weeks before.
1915- Met Rosco on the border. He stayed at the couch and I positioned myself at the Donut Hole. Shortly before midnight in a ploy to fool the Mexicans who were taunting us on FRS frequencies, we got on the radio and made like we were going to leave the area. Our plan was to meet at the grassy knoll then drive lights out down the G road to a spot where we could hike in and watch the area without being seen. It was not to be however. I got a call from Rosco saying he was surrounded by BP agents at the grassy knoll and the supervisor in charge had told him to case his weapons. For whatever reason, the supervisor didn’t like the idea of Rosco patrolling with his XD on his side and his long barreled 12 gauge. (there are many new agents on the line, some not used to seeing armed civilians on patrol) When Rosco briefly questioned this, the Agent said she would call the oncoming FOS but Rosco said she didn’t need to, he would abide by her wishes and case his firearms. “I have a KA-BAR and pepper spray, that’s all I need.” He said. I was not told to case my weapons nor did I volunteer to do so. We decided to call it a night about 0000. Rosco headed back to San Diego. I went to the 5th wheel.
Hung around Horsepuckies ranch for a while, charging radios and the laptop. I got word from Horsepuckies that Ridgerunner, long time Campo Minuteman and inhabitant of “The Oaks” had gone on a Border Angels water station stabbing spree (again?) and was bragging about it on the internet! What an idiot! This is NOT what myself and the people I work with are about. On more than one occasion we have given water to illegals while waiting for the border patrol. While I don’t agree with placing water stations out in the desert and believe it encourages illegal activity, I do not condone the malicious vandalization of these misguided hydration stations. Ridgerunner even went so far as to steal the orange and blue flags from the stations and line the opening of “The Oaks”, The Campo Minutemen’s headquarters!
I fear the Campo Minutemen have gone rogue. Their allegiance to Jim Gilchrist disappoints me. He had hired Shawna Forde, as his border operations director and shortly therafter she murdered a family in Arizona. Then Gilchrist sent out notices of Agent Rosas’ death along with an obnoxious invitiation to send money (see several posts below-all his e-mails are available for forwarding) to HIS organization, Jim Gilchrist’s “Minuteman Project.” Ridgerunner is wearing a Campo Minuteman t-shirt and Minuteman Project pen in some of his misguided pictures bragging of his water stabbing escapades. I hate that Gilchrist blatantly uses my old friend Kingfish as a tool to raise money, none of which ever makes it to the border.
This Gilchrist fellow gives all “Minutemen” a bad name and is but one reason why I do not refer to myself as such. I pray that the Campo Minutemen will publicly disavow any affiliation with Gilchrist in the interest of their once good name and for the benefit of the movement in general. I hate to see all the good Kingfish and Gadget do on the border be in vain.
1325- Went to the Campo library to utilize the wireless network. Saw Slick and Hot Shot’s puphood playmate Dozer.
1600- Back on the line after visiting with yet another local who is the mechanic who fixed FN9’s car and has serviced many border observer’s vehicles from time to time. Brought him a box of seemingly scarce .38 special ammo in appreciation.
1600- Back on the line. While rolling past the ongoing fence repair at the couch I made a peculiar observation. Someone had placed the landing mat sections up on the partially repaired fence in the fashion of a ramp!
It would take a person with Evel Knievel’s balls and with to go BTM over this makeshift exit. The area below in Mexico is deep and strewn with boulders. Where the new, unfinished repair meets the old landing mat fence there is a gap where anyone so inclined can easily walk into the United States.
I spoke with and Agent passing by and he said the Corps of Engineers left the ramps there, probably as a joke. Nevertheless every agent who passed by them stopped to look until someone finally moved them.
1700- Patriot Point – Observed nothing but an incredible number of BP agents in the area, two of which stopped by to chat
1945- Left Patriot Point and followed Horsepuckies to check out a potential observation post below ZHP. FN9 was at the Donut Hole.
2020- I joined FN9 at the Donut Hole and we observed several vehicles parked on the Pemex in the trees across from the tank trap. They had a campfire and appeared to be having a party. I moved to a position on the G road where my truck wasn’t visible and hiked into and area where I could observe the tank trap and areas south and east with my NVG. The campfire had gone out and the vehicles were no longer visible.
0015-FN9 and I left the area
1330- Left the Horsepuckies spread headed to the Campo library.
1515- Patriot Point
1730- Rosco returned and we met at the Grassy Knoll. He had never been farther than Bell valley on the border road so I decided to take him on the Tecate Cruise. FN9 joined Rosco for the ride.
1900- Bell Valley. An Agent, passing in the other direction told us, “Something big is going to happen in Bell Valley.” We told him of our intention to return to Bell Valley that night and he didn’t have a problem with it. However, another agent, this time a K9 unit, came flying down the border road in our direction, heading toward Bell Valley and stopped beside me. Again I informed him that when we got to Tecate we were going to turn around and set up in Bell Valley for the night. He said he would prefer that we not do that. We still planned on turning around and returning by the border road at that time and he was OK with that provided we merely traveled through Bell Valley and didn’t stop.
When we got to Tecate we were greeted by a BP supervisor, armed with an M4. He told us how grateful he and his men were for having dedicated civilian observers on the line to help, but it was best if we did not return through Bell Valley and indeed steered clear of that area for the next three days. He said there was the possibility of us getting flash banged or worse. He elaborated somewhat further but I will not. We geared down and began our return down the 218 toward the 94. On the border we mask our license plates so the cartels cannot ID us. We had forgotten to unmask our plates and FN9 made me aware of this on the drive north on 218. We both pulled over and made our selves legal. This would definitely prove to be fortunate for me several minutes later.
I took off and then got a radio call from FN9 saying Rosco had to stop again having left some equipment on the tailgate. I waited until traffic stacked up behind me at the sop sign at the 94 then pressed on.
Unable to raise Rosco on the radio just past Portrero I pulled off to the side of the road to wait for him. I had no more than stopped when a San Diego County Sheriff’s unit pulled over to see what I was up to. They did a lengthy “field interview” running my plates, driver’s license and weapons permits. They even took my picture and a picture of all the radios in my cab. They did not disarm me however! Nor did they run the numbers on my sidearm! While I disliked the idea of them taking my picture, by the time they asked to they had already run all my licenses and knew all about me. I wish I could get a copy of the photo. Unshaven with a boonie hat on and tobacco in my teeth I am sure I painted quite a portrait for Operation Stonegarden, Napolitano's DHS or whatever database I ended up in (as if I wasn’t there already)
When I asked the officers if I was going to get hassled now every time they saw me they said, “No, what it should mean is I won’t get hassled anymore as they know who I am.” This I doubt as San Diego Sheriffs had already pulled me over months ago (see post entitled Training day and Border update 6,7,8MAR09) and run everything including my weapon’s serial numbers. C’est la vie. I am on the line to help all Law Enforcement and had no problem cooperating with them. One officer did tell me I should probably find another hobby.
2130- Back in the bushes in my covert position in the tank trap area. We observed no activity.
2320-Left the area
0630- Got up and put my radio on the charger, then went back to bed.
1000- Headed to the line
1220- 127 turnout. Checked in with BP then ascended the 241
1400- Rosco joined me on the 241.
FN9 was at the Donut hole. Weasel and Viking take up positions at the Couch and the Donut Hole.
1520- An MCDC member joins us on the 241.
We observed him from above and I, having a radio capable of raising MCDC frequencies, tried to call him. He had a radio but did not have it turned on and only noticed that when he reached the summit and was asked why he did not respond to the call. Then he verbalized his intent to bring some men back to the 241 that evening. I advised him against that as we were expecting a large contingent of organized, highly trained, independent operators who were planning on saturating the area with armed observers that evening. He did not heed my advise with nearly disastrous effects as I will note later.
He left the 241 after only a few minutes and Rosco and I remained, observing miscellaneous comings and goings at the Ranchita until 1845 when we made our descent.
We met the large contingent I spoke of at the upper couch platform and received our assignments and positions. Hot Shot and I were going to join Rosco and Beast and return to the top of 241. FN9 would take up position at the east base of the 241 while Beast, Rosco and I would park at the 127 turnout and ascend from the north. It was not to be however. As darkness set in and we prepared for the ascent, a truck rolled up to FN9’s position unannounced. It was the same MCDC member that had joined us on the 241 earlier. He had brought a geriatric newcomer to the border and intended on taking him up the hill, and on the steepest side as well! FN9 said the man, bless his heart, was struggling to even make his way up to the base (before it really gets steep) and was using his pump shotgun and a walking stick! As he approached FN9 he stumbled and fell, racking the slide on his scattergun/walking stick. At this FN9 got on the radio and wisely said, “I’m out of here.” The stumbler waited at the base while the other person went ahead and climbed the 241. We aborted our ascent until our invited guest finished whatever he thought he was doing. Beast and Rosco moved to the Tank Trap area on foot and I joined FN9 at the Grassy Knoll. There I got on the radio I have with MCDC freqs and reminded them of what I had told the man on 241 earlier. The area was saturated and without communication someone was likely to get hurt. Indeed someone nearly already had. The MCDC member then returned to his truck, briefly and unexpectedly illuminating some of our guys with a spotlight, then met up with another one of their units at Patriot Point. As I was communicating directly with them there base station inquired who it was using their frequency. I replied, “This is Charlie One and I monitor ALL frequencies!”
Again I implored the MCDC members to leave or move east and they finally did. Shortly thereafter we heard/felt no less than 12 explosions coming from the west. Bell Valley? As of this writing I still do not know what the concussions were, but speculation has it that the “something big” that we were warned would go down in Bell Valley was a BP training operation designed not only to teach but intimidate.
0030- FN9 and I called it a night. They rest of the crew, and their numbers were considerable, stayed on station all night with no reported incursions.
I stayed around the Horsepuckies spread Saturday morning, visiting with him and his grandson, FN9 and the others as they filtered in from the line. We were all anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Infidel
and by noon the group had decided to go to La Posta diner for lunch. Not being very social or hungry for that matter Hot Shot and I headed to Camp Vigilance to have a word about the night before. The only person on duty was the radio operator in the base station but fortunately it was the same guy who had been on the night before. I explained who I was and what had happened and emphasized the need for communication between all like-minded groups and individuals. Then I asked if they could please stay east of Smith canyon that night as we would have the areas west of Smith heavily saturated with observers, many hidden in the rocks and bushes. To my amazement the base station operator inquired, “Where’s Smith Canyon?”
I showed him on the map and felt we came to some agreement, though how well he relayed this to his leadership I am not sure. I did hear that no MCDC members ventured west of the PCT Saturday night anyway.
While I was at Camp V and the rest of the crew was eating lunch apparently Infidel had arrived and gone out to the line to look for us. What I am about to write is his account as told to us later, albeit my telling of the story will be much briefer and without Infidel’s punctuation, wisdom and wit. Suffice it to say that while he was in the area east of La Gloria but west of Smith a “minuteman” (there is only one such “minuteman in that area and we all know who he is) called Infidel’s vehicle in as having breached the fence! Infidel was summarily dusted repeatedly by the BP helicopter and then stopped by numerous Agents with their M4s drawn.
I had long since decided to go home that day but waited at Horsepuckies until Infidel arrived before leaving. I was treated to the much more detailed, first hand retelling of the story above, along with many other entertaining tales of conquest and debauchery. It was worth the wait.
1800- Headed home
I know this is a long report about much of nothing. Border Patrol had the frontier locked down in the wake of Agent Rosas’ execution. The area from the PCT to Cap Rock was slow, even the Agents said so. I was heartened by an e-mail I received yesterday from a mentor of mine at U.S. Evolutions, an excerpt of it which read:
“I'm sure you all are having far more impact than you give yourselves credit for. Just because no one crossed doesn't mean you weren't screwing them up.”
From time to time I need to be reminded of things like this. It’s an awesome feeling when I we get to actively assist in apprehending drug and human smugglers. But sometimes the best we can be is a deterrent. And being a deterrent is far more than the average American is doing.
"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself.
The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?"
– William J. Bennett
In a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
November 24, 1997
I took that quote from this page: http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm
I urge you to read it.
I am a sheepdog and am blessed and proud to to run with a fine pack of sheepdogs.
Many years ago a wise man told me that I was NOT a slow learner, but I am a quick forgetter. How true this is of me, and of most Americans. This eight-day trip to our southern border reminded me of quite a few things, some of which I had forgotten, some which only needed to be re-emphasized.
First and foremost I was reminded how blessed I am to know and serve with so many good, hard working, patriotic Americans. The locals in the border area where I work welcomed me into their homes and ranches and my biggest problem was finding the time to honor them all. They feel first hand the impact of an open border and a distant state and federal government who is at the very least ignorant of their plight, and at worst a willing participant in the ongoing invasion. Special thanks to Horsepuckies whose ranch I stayed at the entire week
I was reminded of the Border Patrol’s motto: Honor First. These brave men and women risk their lives daily attempting to secure this country, even though the very country they are trying to defend routinely stymies their efforts. Anything we can do to help them we must do. Without exception, though I am sure unofficially, the agents I encounter thank me for my efforts to be extra eyes and ears for them. In the aftermath of Agent Robert Rosas brutal murder they have beefed up the border with extra agents from other areas as well as officers from other LEAs. Sadly I doubt that this effort is sustainable and likely as not things on the border will go back to they way they were and the way they have nearly always been.
Americans are quick forgetters.
I was reminded of the need to improve communication. Having joined, at one time or another, nearly every civilian border watch group in the area I am fortunate to have several radios with frequencies of each and cell phone numbers of even more. Yet and still communication between independent operators is a problem as evidenced by several episodes detailed in my report. We all need to get on the same page, despite what differences we may have as individuals. That being said I have recently received an e-mail notification of a shortwave radio technician license class to take place not once, but twice this month:
One-Day Amateur Radio Technician License Class Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with breaks and a one-hour lunch
Location: Horizon Christian Fellowship, Rm 703
5331 Mount Alifan Dr, San Diego, CA 92111-2622
Class is Free
VE Testing starts at 5 PM and cost $15 (possibly less).
Please contact me for instructions as how to RSVP
One-Day Amateur Radio Technician License Class Saturday, August 29th, 2009 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with breaks and a one-hour lunch
Location: Horizon Christian Fellowship, Rm 703
5331 Mount Alifan Dr, San Diego, CA 92111-2622
Class is Free
VE Testing starts at 5 PM and cost $15 (possibly less).
Please contact me for instructions as how to RSVP
I was reminded that racism, hate, malice and vandalism have no place in this movement and only gives the opposition ammunition. We don’t vandalize water stations however much we disagree with this misplaced compassion and enabling of illegal behavior.
I was reminded of the need for training and discipline. Not only does training increase our effectiveness but it also improves our credibility. At a minimum we as civilian border observers should be CPR, AED and First Aid certified. The Red Cross has many such classes and now you can even gain basic certifications online. There is also no reason why all of us should not have the minimum Search and Rescue certification. (SAR Tech III) The book for this, titled "Introduction to Search and Rescue" is available here: http://www.nasar.org/nasar/
And the test can be taken online.
I was reminded of the need to keep our weapons legal and exhibit courtesy and discipline when handling them.
I personally have taken the classes necessary to obtain a California Security guard card and also a California security guard exposed weapons permit, as well as a baton and Taser certification. While these carry no weight or legality in my duties on the border they show any investigating agency that I am willing to go above and beyond the call of duty and, at least, have a minimum grasp of the laws well as some basic training. CCWs from out of state have no legality in California, but again, they demonstrate that an individual has taken some basic training, as does a California hunting license which requires a basic firearms and hunter safety course. I urge all individuals on the line to obtain all these licenses and certifications and carry them with them when doing border duty, as I do.
I was reminded that a legal sidearm and a legal long arm is sufficient when on watch. Carrying more than that only invites suspicion. The liberal mainstream media already views us as the enemy and the federal government has their watch misplaced to the north. They are looking for a reason to brand us, of all people, as gunrunners.
And lastly I am reminded of my inability to make a long story short. Words cannot express my appreciation to all that continue to help make this blog and my border duties possible.
I will continue my commitment to serving on the border at least once a month as I have since April 2006. I do so at my own expense and with the occasional assistance of others. While I do not solicit contributions, I will gratefully accept them nonetheless. Gas cards are welcomed. In my past week on the border I totaled over 740 miles at an average of $3.00 per gallon.All receipts are available upon request.
But the greatest contribution you could possibly make would be to get trained and join us on the line in Southern California, or on the border near you.
May God Bless you and keep you until then.