US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

About the Newton-Azrak Award

Since the early 1900's, Mounted Watchmen, Patrol Inspectors, and Border Patrol Agents have voluntarily placed themselves in harm's way each and every day, establishing and upholding a tradition of honor, integrity, sacrifice, and service. They have faced the challenge of securing our Nation's borders; preventing aliens from entering our country illegally; interdicting smugglers of narcotics and other contraband; and protecting border communities and America from criminals and criminal organizations that will often stop at nothing in committing their illegal activities. Today, as in the past, Border Patrol Agents often work in remote, desolate areas and frequently find themselves hours or miles from their closest back-up. From the days of the first Mounted Watchmen, more than 100 of these brave men and women have died in the line of duty. All are remembered and revered for their courage and sacrifice, but the story of two has taken on special meaning.

On June 17, 1967, Patrol Inspectors Theodore L. Newton, Jr. and George F. Azrak, conducting traffic checkpoint duties near Oak Grove, California, failed to report in at the end of their shift. Newton had little over a year with the Border Patrol, while Azrak was a trainee still awaiting an academy date. After one of their vehicles was found abandoned a short distance from the checkpoint, an intense search for the inspectors was organized. Inspectors Newton and Azrak were found dead two days later, murdered in a deserted, remote mountain cabin near Anza, California, about eight miles northeast of where they had been working.

An investigation revealed that Patrol Inspectors Newton and Azrak had been ambushed, overtaken, kidnapped and executed by drug smugglers. A manhunt for the suspected killers ensued, one of the largest ever launched by law enforcement agencies in the state of California. Eventually, four suspects were captured and pled guilty to murder charges.

The murders of Patrol Inspectors Newton and Azrak are considered a defining point in the history of the Border Patrol. Their deaths brought attention to the Border Patrol, and of the need for the agency to expand its work force, infrastructure, and technology. Since the deaths of the two inspectors, the Border Patrol has modified training standards and implemented minimum staffing requirements for checkpoints.

The death of these two heroes also prompted the inception of the Newton-Azrak Award. This annual award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon its recipients for acts of bravery or heroism. It serves as a reminder of the dangers and sacrifices demanded of the men and women who protect our Nation's borders. Consideration for eligibility to receive this award is based on the following criteria: exercise of unusual courage or bravery in the line of duty and/or a heroic or humane act during times of extreme stress or in an emergency.

Newton Azrak award

 

 

Recipients of the Newton-Azrak Award since its inception

  • Willard T. Lamade
  • Michael G. McManus
  • Ted L. Giorgetti
  • Lawrence V. Granelli
  • James E. Kibble
  • James P. Moody
  • Kenneth D. Crockett
  • Larry M. Herbert
  • William A. McIver
  • Dale R. Wilson
  • George Fernandez, Jr.
  • John Gallo
  • John B. Knowles
  • Joseph Occhipinti
  • Reginald D. Ricks
  • Edwin Rodriguez
  • Hipolito Acosta
  • Gary M. Renick
  • Richard Shuler
  • Paul Conover
  • Robert B. LaBelle
  • Peter R. Moran
  • Donald A. Peck
  • Douglas G. Roy
  • Bruce D. Sanny
  • Stanley U. Spencer
  • Mark Cangemi
  • Oscar H. Garza, Jr.
  • David Gutierrez
  • John A. Kalabus
  • Michael A. Lewis
  • Stephan A. Peregoy
  • Lee R. Prejean
  • Robert S. Coleman, Jr.
  • Charles J. Kothman
  • James F. Murphy
  • William A. Preston
  • Craig L. Weinbrenner
  • Charles A. Rodgers, Jr.
  • Thomas W. Slowinski
  • Howard H. Gay
  • Theo D. Hudson
  • Robert E. Jolicoeur
  • Jose Cisneros
  • Jesse Collins
  • Theodore E. Huebner
  • Christopher M. Jacobs
  • Johnny Magdaleno
  • Brendan Manley
  • Alan W. Marshall
  • Armando Ornelas
  • Robert Pittenridge
  • Michael W. Snyder
  • William C. Spencer, Jr.
  • Darrel Welsh
  • Lazaro Alvarez
  • John K. Crowther
  • Michael Deshaies
  • Jorge Arballo
  • Christina M. Carnes
  • Bruce L. Cooke
  • Robert S. Herrera
  • David Hinojosa, Jr.
  • Robert E. Lindemann
  • John D. Marlborough
  • Forrest J. Mauldin
  • Jose (Joe) L. Perez
  • Cheryl R. Smith
  • Jefferson L. Barr
  • Diego Gonzales
  • Richard B. Holmes
  • Joseph E. Kempa
  • Arthur G. Lopez
  • Michael W. Richardson
  • Juanita Santana
  • Andrew W. Schutt
  • William E. Simmons III
  • Austin L. Skero II
  • Guadalupe Chacon
  • Elizabeth M. Ebisuzaki
  • C. James Engelhardt
  • Stephen S. Martin, Jr.
  • Stephen C. Starch
  • Richard L. Ashlaw
  • Benjamin M. Batchelder
  • Stephen A. Brooks
  • Martin G. Hewson
  • Alexander Kirpnick
  • John C. Pfeifer
  • LeAlan L. Pinkerton
  • Susan L. Rodriguez
  • Ricardo G. Salinas
  • Orlando Sanchez
  • Mark M. Jones
  • James E. Lassiter, Jr.
  • Joseph P. Martin
  • Michael F. McCarson
  • Armando Moralez
  • Sevin K. Neufner
  • Christopher A. Ramnes
  • Floyd Southerland III
  • William T. Veal
  • Jay Visconti
  • Walter M. Davenport
  • Jesus E. De La Vega
  • James D. Goldman
  • Jonathan P. Miller
  • Betty A. Mills
  • Ruben Miranda
  • Steven J. Pastor
  • Charles L. Sachs
  • Mickey A. Valdez
  • Charles C. Whitmire
  • Casey S. Wilson
  • James L. Wolynetz, Jr.
  • Benjamin Sanford
  • Jered Bacon
  • Robert M. Lawler
  • Robert H. Arnold, Jr.
  • Herbert L. Williams
  • James P. Epling
  • Christopher D. Brinkhoff
  • Juan H. Villa
  • Ricardo J. Hernandez
  • Felix Morales III
  • Dan M. Harris, Jr.
  • Gary L. Ortega, Jr.
  • Luis A. Aguilar
  • Adam R. Ruiz
  • Steven Kartchner
  • Robert W. Rosas, Jr.
  • Salvatore Caccamo
  • Jose M. Martinez
  • Raul Tamayo
  • Brian A. Terry
  • Christopher J. Dlugokinski
  • Michael Mielnicki
  • Gabriel Pratt
  • Abraham Reeder
  • Erich S. Rohr
  • Manuel Barreda
  • Eric Gough
  • Armando Ledezma
  • Ruben Mendoza
  • Enrique A. Doster, Jr.
  • Justin L. Garza
  • Steven H. Tinder
  • Fernando Galvan
  • Arturo Gutierrez
  • Anthony Anderson
  • Remigio Guerra
  • Juan Cruz, Jr.
  • Marcus K. Johnson

The survivors of Theodore L. Newton, Jr. and George F. Azrak remain part of the Border Patrol family today. We work together to preserve the memory of these two and all our fallen heroes.

Last modified: 
December 20, 2017