'Hero' CBP Officers Honored at New York Mets Game
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Frank Formato, Paul Casquarelli and Robert McConkie were among those publicly thanked last night by the New York Mets and the people of New York for their part in apprehending the alleged Times Square attempted bomber.
After the playing of the National Anthem and prior to the start of the game, the three men were formally recognized by the Mets as "heroes" who were directly responsible for the apprehension of the suspect just before he was able to leave the country. The crowd of approximately 32,000 fans stood and gave an enthusiastic one minute ovation to these normally unsung heroes who protect our ports of entry.
Also honored were Lance Orton Sr. and Duane Jackson, two street vendors who noticed the suspicious vehicle, still running and beginning to smoke. They sought out local law enforcement that was able to clear the area and secure the vehicle without loss of life or injury. Orton and Jackson, both Vietnam veterans, said others saw the vehicle and ignored it. They knew to act.
Officers Formato, Casquarelli and McConkie were directly responsible for apprehending the suspect at John F. Kennedy Airport less than three days later and the three officers and their families were invited to be part of the pre-game recognition ceremony, although Officer McConkie was not able to attend.
This honor culminated a whirlwind week that began Monday, at approximately 11 p.m. when these three men and their coworkers took the suspect into custody and entered into the national media spotlight, as well as earning the appreciation of the people of New York and elected officials including President Obama.
The men have remained very humble in receiving this recognition, and repeatedly explain that they just did what they do every day and what they were trained to do.
After the events on the field the Mets staff escorted the officers and their families up to the contemporary Acela Lounge for dinner, with an exceptional view of the game played at CitiField. The officers and their families ordered dinner while looking out the huge windows as the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-4, fittingly on a homerun in the bottom of the ninth.
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.