CBP Honors Fallen Heroes, Including Officer from New Mexico
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection today held a Valor Memorial Ceremony honoring the agency's officers and agents who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty including CBP Officer Charles F. Collins II who had ties to the community of Alamogordo, New Mexico. The ceremony was held at CBP headquarters as part of National Police Week.
The CBP Valor Memorial honors those CBP uniformed officers who are killed in the line of duty or who pass away as a direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty. These individuals are united in death, as in life, by their sworn oath to defend the Constitution of the U.S. and to protect the nation against all enemies.
"Today - as always - we honor the courage and selfless sacrifice of the individuals whose names are etched on this valor memorial," said CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin. "May their legacy of distinguished service to our Nation be forever remembered and continue to inspire all of us charged with protecting our homeland."
During today's ceremony, the agency added the name of Charles F. Collins II to the Valor Memorial at CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C. Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, the CBP Valor Memorial will display the names of 217 officers and agents.
On July 11, 2010, Officer Collins was traveling alone from his temporary duty station at the Port of Eagle, Alaska, when he was involved in a car accident. Personnel from the Alaska State Troopers, National Park Service, Alaska National Guard, Alaska Department of Transportation as well as fellow CBP Officers and Border Patrol Agents assisted with rescue efforts. Search and rescue workers found Officer Collins' body on August 15, 2010. Officer Collins joined the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as an Immigration Inspector at the Area Port of Anchorage, Alaska in May 2002 after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. Officer Collins was a friend and mentor to all who knew him. Officer Collins is survived by his wife, his two sons, and other family members.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel gathered on August 28 for a memorial service commemorating CBP officer Collins. The service was conducted at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo where CBP officer Collins spent much of his 20-year Air Force career before he joined the Immigration and Naturalization Service. CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar made reference to the setting of the memorial during his remarks last summer.
"By being here today, we are surrounded by those things that Chuck loved, those things that represent the strength and values of our country. The men and women in uniform, the mountains that surround us and that we are near Dog Canyon where the family lives," noted Aguilar during the August ceremony.
Deputy Commissioner Aguilar presented a framed CBP ensign to the Collins family. Representatives from the U.S. Air Force also attended the service and presented a folded U.S. flag to his family.
In addition to CBP Officer Collins, other CBP employees added to the memorial today included Nathaniel A. Afolayan, Trena R. McLaughlin, Mark F. Van Duren, Michael V. Gallagher, John R. Zykas and Bryan A. Terry.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.