CBP Honors Fallen Heroes at Valor Memorial Ceremony
U.S. Customs and Border Protection held a private Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony today to honor two Border Patrol agents who died in the line of duty in 2011 as well as the men and women of CBP and its legacy agencies who have previously given their lives while working to protect the U.S. and its citizens.
Photo Credit:James Tourtellotte
CBP employees, families and invited guests came together to honor Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas, Jr., whose names were unveiled on the Valor Memorial at CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C. This memorial stands as a permanent reminder of the dedication of these men and women.
CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar hosted the Valor Memorial ceremony and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute was the guest speaker. Several previous CBP commissioners and other dignitaries were present at the ceremony.
"The calling that draws men and women like Hector and Eddie is very special," said Aguilar. "They displayed selfless devotion to God, country and their fellow man. These agents and the sacrifices of their family will never be forgotten."
On May 12, 2011, Border Patrol Agents Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas, Jr. died in the line of duty when their vehicle was struck by a train near Gila Bend, Ariz. Agents Clark and Rojas were assisting other Border Patrol agents who were detaining a group of illegal immigrants nearby. As their vehicle entered a railroad crossing, the agents were struck by a freight train. The 75-car train pushed the agents' vehicle about a half-mile down the tracks. Rojas and Clark were pronounced dead on the scene.
Agent Rojas began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on April 9, 2000, and was assigned to the Yuma station. He was a member of the 432nd session of the Border Patrol Academy. In addition to his service in Yuma, Rojas instructed firearms at the Border Patrol Academy in 2004. That same year, he participated in Operation Winter Freeze on the northern border. In 2005, Rojas supported headquarters operations at the National Targeting Center in Virginia.
In 2007, Agent Rojas was assigned to the Border Intelligence Center in the Yuma sector, where he was promoted to the position of Lead Border Patrol Agent the following year. At the time of his death, Rojas, 35, was serving in this position.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Rojas is survived by his wife, Sayde, and their two children, Sayde Hazel and Dante.
Agent Clark began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on Aug. 20, 2001. He was a member of the 481st session of the Border Patrol Academy. After graduating from the academy, Clark was assigned to the El Centro sector, where he performed patrol and line watch duties. He also was a post academy instructor and seized property officer. In 2008, Clark transferred to the Yuma sector to be closer to his family. While assigned to the Yuma station, Clark assisted with the asset forfeiture program at the San Luis Port of Entry. In 2010, he was selected to be part of the smuggling interdiction group that targeted illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. At the time of his accident, Clark, 39, was serving as a Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma sector.
Born in Blythe, Calif., Agent Clark is survived by his wife, Neddy, and their two children, Katie and Cody.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a black drape was removed and the names of Agents Clark and Rojas were displayed on the Valor Memorial for the first time. The CBP Valor Memorial now includes the names of 219 men and women who gave their lives in service to CBP and its legacy agencies.
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.