More than 350 family members, friends and agency personnel came out yesterday to celebrate the 1,000th graduating session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in a formal ceremony held in Artesia, N.M.
In honor of this historic event, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Director Connie L. Patrick and Chief of the Border Patrol Michael Fisher were in attendance and delivered remarks during the ceremony.
Members of the 1,000th graduating class included 42 trainees who successfully completed a 58-day training program in preparation for their official position as Border Patrol agents assigned throughout the Tucson, Ariz. and the Rio Grande and Laredo sectors in Texas. A portion of the graduates will continue on with a Spanish-language curriculum.
"Every day, the American people depend on the Border Patrol to keep our borders secure," said Secretary Napolitano. "Today, we have the largest, best trained, and best equipped Border Patrol we've had at any time in our nation's history, and I'm proud of all the brave men and women who dedicate themselves to this important work."
Chief Fisher echoed these sentiments as he addressed the graduates. "The safety and security of this country is of the utmost importance," he said. "You are the future leaders of this organization."
The Border Patrol Academy offered its first session in 1934 at Camp Chigas, El Paso, Texas, which consisted of 32 trainees who attended classes in marksmanship and horsemanship. The academy presently maintains its strong training tradition; students attend classes in immigration, customs and drug laws, firearms as well as physical training.
"This training program is long and challenging, and each of these men and women worked very hard to get here today," said FLETC Director Patrick.
The ceremony captured the rich and illustrious history of the academy's long-standing tradition of training Border Patrol agents from throughout the nation over the past 78 years. To date, the academy has graduated nearly 41,000 students.
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.