Today I will be interviewing David Rowe. He has been a Border Patrol for 17 years in Del Rio.
Q: Please state your name.
A: My name is David Duane Rowe, or DD Esquire, as my mother used to call me.
Q: Please state your age and date of birth.
A: I am 46 years old, and I will turn 47 on July 20th, I was born in1958.
Q: Please state where you were born.
A: I was born a poor black child in Peoria, Illinois. Well, not really. I was born in Seagraves, Texas which is about 20 miles outside of Brownfield, Texas, which is 35 miles outside of Lubbock.
Q: What is your current occupation, and what is your duty station or assignment?
A: I am a Senior Border Patrol Agent here in Del Rio, Texas. I am permanently assigned to the Del Rio Sector Firearms and Tactical Training Unit as a Senior Firearms Training Instructor.
Q: Did you always have that position with the US Border Patrol?
A: No, when I began with the Border Patrol here in Del Rio, I was a regular field agent.
Q: How long did you serve as a field agent?
A: Well, let me see. I began here in September of 1988 as a trainee. I worked on several Border Patrol units until about 1998 when I was promoted, or reassigned to the Border Patrol Sector Headquarters.
Q: What were some of your primary duties as a field agent?
A: Well, I was assigned to basically patrol the border. The actual description was to “prevent the illegal entry of those who would attempt to gain entry into the US, and to detect and apprehend those who had actually made entry into, or had overstayed their legally time limited entry into the United States. I was assigned to the River Unit and the Brush Unit as a tracker. I tracked suspected illegal aliens and groups of aliens, drug “mules”, and assisted local law enforcement agencies with lost persons tracking. I also helped the county with tracking when homes out in the county ranches had been broken into. I tracked the people that committed the burglaries.
Q: Do you mean to say that you did other things than just chase illegal aliens?
A: Yes I did. I was assigned to the ELR, or Employer and Labor Relations Unit. I went to local businesses and educated employers as per the required legal methods that they were to follow when they took applications for employment and planned to hire the applicants. I was assigned to the Rancher Liaison Unit where I went into all of the ranches and spoke with the ranchers. I talked to them about using their land to put sensors and cameras up on. I also built drag roads on the ranches after I got their permission. Let me see, I did a lot of things cool things and had some really great assignments since I got here.
I was on the plain clothes undercover unit, the river unit, Intelligence Unit, Vehicle Seizure Unit, and several other units. I traveled on duty related details, worked in alien retention and processing camps, worked as a training agent, firearms instructor, temporary unit supervisor, heavy equipment operator, truck driver and last but not least, just a plain ole Border Patrol Agent.
Q: What was the daily life of a Border Patrol Agent like?
A: Well, when I arrived here in 1988, things were really different than they are now. Back then, in 1988, I was sent to McAllen, Texas to the OTM camp. OTM means “other than Mexican”. We were there to keep about 12,000 El Salvadorians and criminal Cubans inside of the camps until we could interview them all, every one of them. It was during the amnesty promise from Washington. Illegal aliens were marching across the border in groups of 20 to 100 at a time and turning themselves in so they could apply for amnesty. We worked 12 hour shifts for about 3o days straight, then I was sent back to Del Rio. When I returned to Del Rio, we were catching about 100 to 300 aliens per shift of eight to ten hours.
Q: That is a lot of illegal aliens. How did you catch that many?
A: Well, there was a lot of racing and chasing going on. I would start out by parking my truck and walking out into the jungles, or brush, around town. You would be surprised where aliens can hide. I found aliens in the brush, tunnels, in the city sewer pipes, on top of roofs, in trees, in parked and abandoned cars, in grass and brush huts, hiding in ditches, inside of abandoned houses and buildings, everywhere you looked, there was an illegal alien.
Q: Once you caught them, how was their attitude towards you?
A: Some of them were ok with being caught because they knew that they would be taken back across the border to try again. Some were not too happy about being caught.
Q: What do you mean by not to happy? Did you get into any fights with them?”
A: You could say that in three languages and still be correct. Yes, I have been in so many fights in town that I could not even begin to count them. I have been in some really bad fights and some silly fights. Bad as in it started out as a fight and ended up as a struggle for survival for all of us. Silly fights as for those that tried to be tough and fight me to get away, and then got even madder when I started laughing at them while I was fighting them. Did I mention that I used to really like to fight? That was before I grew up and discovered that it hurts more to heal now than it used to.
Q: What was working on the river like? Was it different than working in town?
A: Working in town was fun and fast with lots of excitement. Not only did we chase aliens, but back then we backed up the local law enforcement. We went to bar fights, domestic disturbances, missing person calls, backed them up on vehicle stops.
Working on the river was really fun. Back then, we were assigned to one man units. I would take my truck down onto the Rio Grande River and hide it in the brush. I would then take off walking to the river and lay in, waiting for traffic. When a group came across, I would sneak up to them and tell them, “don’t move, I have you surrounded” Funny thing, no one ever caught onto the “I have you surrounded” part. You should have seen the faces of the largest group I ever caught by myself when they finally figured out that I was the only one there with them until the buss arrived to load them up. There were 91 aliens in the group, they knew that running was not an option; after all, I had them surrounded. They were really pissed off at first, and then everyone started laughing about it. When I was leading the group off of the river, I would look over my shoulder once in a while and wave my hand towards the brush like I was waiving to someone else. It worked several times.
Q: Did anything bad ever happen to you while you were working on the river?
A: I do hope you have a little time to kill with this one. Let me see, where do I begin?
Q: Remember, I only need 15 minutes of this, ok?
A: OK, cut me off when we get there!
Ok, let me see. I once roped a horse that the smuggler was using to ferry aliens across the river with. When the rope went over the horses head the horse took off scared and drug me into the river. The smuggler got away; I came back out of the river with the horse and the aliens.
The cliff that I was walking on gave away and I fell about 70 feet into the water, it was cold.
I honked my horn at a young bull in the road and he rammed the grill out of my truck.
I was chasing a group of aliens through a trail and they all ducked, I didn’t. I caught a fish hook in the chest and swung there like a carp for awhile.
I was pinned down by an old man shooting at me with a shotgun on the river bank for about two hours, we both were running out of ammo, so we decided to finish the gunfight later.
My newly issued Bronco was shot in the fender by the leader of the group of aliens that I was chasing up a hill that was shooting at me.
I broke a perfectly good flashlight on a smuggler that decided that he wanted to fillet me with his pocket knife, I believed that it was the largest knife that I have ever seen from that close, guess it looked larger than it was as it was swooshing past my face.
Q: Were there a lot of drugs being smuggled across the river? A: Yes there was, but not as much as there is now. Back then, when you caught someone with drugs, they went to prison, it was bad. Not like today.
Back then we were always chasing drug load that crossed the river. They would float it over on inner tubes, load it on their backs and start walking towards either town or the highway.
Q: Were there any major drug busts on the river?
A: Oh yes, several. The biggest load that I saw caught was about 1,500 pounds of marijuana on the river bank in a raft. I saw other loads from two to 900 pounds caught. We caught smuggler with guns, knives, night vision goggles, radios, maps and cell phones. Back then, cell phones were rare, only people with a lot of money had them.
Q: While working on the river, did you deal with break-ins?
A: Yes, a lot of them, almost every day. Aliens would cross over the river and smash into homes, stealing whatever they could. They stole everything from yard rakes to tractors. I would track them from the river to the houses and back into the brush. Sometimes I would catch them hiding with the stolen goods in the brush along the river while they were waiting for us to leave.
Q: Did you have a role in the Borderlon trial?
A: Kind of, but not really. I worked the area where Borderlon lived. I was always out there. We all camped out in the area because the alien traffic was so bad. The aliens in that area were really aggressive because all they had to do was get away from us and into the river and they would be back in Mexico. We had a lot of fights and shootings on the Vega. Borderlon was in a bad location, there was always someone breaking into his home whether he was there or not. I think I answered at least a dozen break in calls from his house alone. I was not there when the incident happened.
Q: Did any people on the US side ever help out the aliens?
A: Oh yes, a lot. There were, and still are those that want to help the aliens. A lot of the helping people charge the aliens about $500 to $2000 per head to help them get off of the border. There are some good people too. They help the injured, sick, tired and hungry, humanitarians.
Q: Did they ever help with the drugs and burglaries?
A: More than you would believe. We caught people on this side that harbored the illegal aliens while they were on their crime sprees. They would poison the local animals so that the aliens could break in undetected, cut fences, threaten the local people, store drugs, run the roads to keep us away from the smugglers, make false calls to us to help the aliens, transport aliens and drugs off of the river. All for the almighty American dollar and some because they believe that the law does not apply to them.
Q: Did the drugs ever make it off of the river?
A: Yes they did quite often. We would track the groups of smugglers away from the river, either towards town or around Del Rio into the country. When we got to the river, we could see where the bundles of drugs had been placed on the ground. They left a square impression in the dirt and grass. If you had been tracking for awhile, you could tell the difference between personal property in back packs and drug bundles. We would follow the tracks of the smugglers through the country, across roads, fences, people’s yards, through fields and brush. Most of the time the smugglers already knew where they were heading, so, the hard part was trying to read the trails, the sign, direction, pace of the walkers, and hope that you could form an estimated summation of where they were trying to go, and either beat them there or intercept them before they got away.
Q: Is it hard to read all of the signs on the trails you followed?
A: Sometimes it was really hard. If it had rained, the ground was either mushy or compacted by the moisture. When it was mushy, human and animal traffic appear to be the same. You really have to study the trails in order to separate and read the tracks. If the ground was compacted by the moisture, you have to be careful not to read too much into the tracks or else you end up following the wrong set of tracks.
Q: How do you tell which tracks belong to who?
A: Easy. When you first study the tracks that you want to follow, you take notes as to what types of tracks you want to follow. Let’s say that you are following four people. They are wearing Converse, a soccer dot, a herringbone, and a Rocky. You know that there are at least four people there that you can identify. If you continue to follow and identify the same tracks, then you are on the same group. Sometimes the smugglers will cross roads and then change shoes, thinking that you will think that they are a different group. This is when you must really be paying attention. You have to read the walking pattern of the people.
Q: Walking Pattern?
A: Walking pattern. One walks with a short, quick stride, he is usually shorter, or carrying a heavier load. Look at his shoe size and how deep he strikes the ground. This will usually tell you what you need to know. One walks with long steps. One walks mostly on his toes, and one walks like he is drunk. His tracks turn and wobble, left, right, turning or skidding his tracks. This is your lead guy. Always looking around him for the law, reading the trails, checking for others in the brush, you know, a lookout or group leader. His tracks will be seen the least. Q: If you see his tracks the least, how do you know he is in the lead?
A: Simple, because his tracks are the most covered up by the other three following him, stepping onto his tracks, hiding them.
Q: Have they ever tried to fool you be erasing the tracks?
A: Oh yes, a lot of them try this. They take a tree limb or some brush or rags and try to sweep the tracks away. But I like it when they try this. It makes the trail easier to follow. Tracks are small changes to the terrain that want to blend in. On a sweeping, or brushout, the tracks are definitely not a natural happening, except for low brush on windy days. The brushout looks like a sweeping disturbing motion, kinda like a dog’s tail wiping the ground as he walks, making the brushed marks long and unnatural, they really stand out.
I have tracked groups with carpet tied to their shoes, people that were barefoot, wearing flat sandals, just socks, boards ties to their shoes, rags wrapped around their feet. They will try anything. The funniest thing I ever tracked was a set of cow tracks, that went over the top of about five fences, under a bridge, across a road to a pay phone, and then went back under a small mesquite shrub. Being curious as I am, I decided to take a look under the shrub. As I crawled under the shrub, I saw the cow hooves, attached to the shoes of the aliens. Real cow hooves. The took the hooves and ran string through the hooves and tied them to their feet. I thought I was going nuts for awhile, and then I saw the tracks going over the fences. Guess you might say that this was my first clue. The next clue was that there was this herd of two legged cows that apparently had little difficulty climbing fences and using a pay phone.
I also had several groups of brain surgeons try to walk across the roads backwards, trying to make us think that they were walking back to Mexico. Nice try, but you could tell that they never really looked at their own tracks before. At first glance, you even think that they are walking towards Mexico, or trying to hide, but when you really look a the tracks, it’s hard not to laugh. Nice try though.
Q: Did you ever get lost from being wrong about tracks?
A: The most lost I ever became was when a trainee of mine called me on the radio. He was confused as to his exact location. I talked to him for about an hour and decided that his radio directions were worse than his sense of direction. I finally found where he had entered a trail and started tracking him. Two hours later, I found him, he had been walking in circles while he was waiting for me to get there. I told him where we really were and I told him to follow me back to the trail and the truck. He said he knew where he was now and took the lead. An hour later I made him stop because I saw our own track twice on the trail. It was the same trail that he had walked in circles on, and that I had tracked him walking in circles on. Needless to say, I was a bit confused. I wasn’t really lost, I just wasn’t where I thought we should be, ok, I was lost. But I did solve the problem. I walked the trainee over to the highest hill that I could find and made him climb it and radio what he saw back to me. We were 10 minutes from the highway. Duhhh.
Q: Did you ever have anyone ever try to make it without touching the ground?
A: Believe it or not, yes. I have followed trails where the aliens would only walk on the tops of rocks, limbs, and jumping from bush to bush. The last one that I followed made it for about two miles. He was pretty good. Until he missed the last rock he jumped at. He was still there, on the trail, shoe in hand with his foot turning black. I think the doctor said that he had broken almost every bone in his foot when he hit the top of the rock and slipped on over, smashing his foot between the other rocks. On the brighter side, he was really happy to see me. On the darker side, I had to carry this brain surgeon for almost a mile back to the road. Stupid ambulance drivers refused to walk in the brush.
Q: Did a lot of people get hurt trying to get away from the border?
A: Oh yes, a lot were hurt or killed. Some injuries were really stupid related, most were just accidents.
Q: Stupid related?
A: Yep, stupid related. Like the guy that tried to cross the road on stick stilts. Sticks do not make good stilts, especially on blacktop roads, they slip and slide. He was still there in the middle of the road on his back when I drove up on him. He appeared to be having trouble breathing, probable because he fell about five feet from the stilts onto the roadway when his stilts slipped out from under him.
I ran across an alien, an Indian from Chiappas, Mexico that was walking barefoot and carrying the remains of a rattle snake. Before I could ask him why he was barefoot, I saw that his right foot was really bloody and that there were chunks of flesh carved out of the top of his foot. I just had to ask. Well now, it seems that the Indian had sat down for a snack and took off his shoes to rest. A friendly rattle snake attached himself to the Indians foot. The Indian took off running with the snake attached to him until he finally became lost, thusly loosing his shoes and lunch.
Well then what happened I asked. He said,”since I lost my shoes and lunch, and the snake was making me his lunch, I thought it was fair to make him my lunch, so I killed and skinned him”. Then I asked him how the really big chunks of meat had been taken out of his foot. He said that he did not know what to do, so he took his knife and cut out the bites, or fang punctures from his foot. Seems that he thought that if you cut out the poisoned area that the poison would be gone. I guess it worked, he was still alive. Now that was one tough fella, it’s hard not to respect the determination.
And I have found my fair share of deceased aliens. Murdered, drowned, dehydrated, starving of thirst, skeletons or just injured. Everything from mesquite splinters to twisted ankles to broken backs. I have found them after they fell off of cliffs while walking in the dark, walking into holes, falling off of fences, sitting on cactus, or just walking around in circles lost. It’s hard to find your direction at night when you are walking up and down the hills. Things start looking the same and you start questioning your own sense of direction.
Q: Have you ever been lost after dark? A: Never, maybe once, or twice, maybe just a few times. I always new where I was, it just wasn’t where I thought I was supposed to be, if you can call that lost. A real Border Patrol agent will always live by the agents credo: Deny everything, admit to nothing, demand proof and launch counter allegations. So, was I lost, what do you think? Where were you? Were you lost? I wouldn’t have been lost if I wasn’t looking for you.
Q: Did anyone other than the aliens make mistakes, or do really stupid things?
A: Man, now that’s a loaded question. Where to start, where to start. Well guess I should start with me. Not that I would ever do anything stupid, maybe some of the things that I did were just not too smart. I was chasing an alien through a field and he was jumping like a rabbit. I thought that this was so funny that I forgot about looking down to see what he was jumping over. It was a short fence, about knee high. I did almost a full frontal flip and landed flat on my back. I heard the alien laughing his butt off. When I tried to stand up I couldn’t straighten my legs out because I had super flexed both of my knees. But it was almost worth it, while the alien was running and laughing, he forgot to look forward. The tree limb struck him right in the forehead, knocking him out cold. So I hobbled over to laugh at him for awhile, just as he woke up. He sure was bigger than he looked from across the field. He was about six foot and really pissed off. That was a good fight. I could hardly stand up and he could hardly see.
I once jumped off of a moving train, but I didn’t get far. My gun belt hooked onto the railing and I was swinging like an ape for about a mile. I thought I would just enjoy the ride up to the train station, but just as I passed several people in their cars at the train intersection, my belt decided to come lose. I skidded like a tin can across the pavement. At least the people in the car thought that was amusing.
I was climbing up the side of an old boxcar when the train began to move. So, being smart as I am I decided to hurry. Just as reached the top rung of the ladder, the ladder detached itself. Down we went into the only humongous cactus in the area. Took me a week to pry all the needles from my Hyde.
My trainee found a group of aliens on the top of the old Wool and Mohair building at about midnight. He snuck up onto the top and caught them. He was so proud and was telling them that he was smarter than they were because he caught them. This was just about the time that he sat down on the edge of the roof to light a cigarette, and fell backwards off of the roof and through a tree. I’d say that he really was smarter, after all, be beat the rest of them getting off of the roof.
This was the same roof that I was chasing a smuggler on about a week later. He took off running, leaving his customers behind. I gave chase across the dark roof. He was running really fast with me right behind him. He stopped and ducked as I reached for him. I saw the edge of the roof and then the ground, splat. Good thing was that he was still trapped on the roof since I was splattered on the ground next to the only tree that was high enough to use to get on the roof.
My old boss was about six foot tall and weighed about 250 pounds. He was walking a trail with me when the tracks went over a high deer fence into the next field. Well, big ole Ken went up the fence like a teenager, stopped at the top, and promptly swung backwards like a wrecking ball, knocking me to my knees. I looked up to see what had knocked me down, and there he was, upside down, hanging by his foot from the barbed wire. Seems that he was too heavy for the fence and the top wire broke. Silly me, I was looking at the sign and never saw him coming, whop!
My trainee QB was a real go getter. Young, energetic, fast, and way too trusting.
On his first day with me, I took QB to the river to show him the weir. He jumped out of the truck, ran up to the riverbank, stepped up on a large rock, and then rolled all the way down the river bank with the large rock sliding down behind him. He was out of work for three or four weeks with a fractured ankle. Poor guy.
Q: Did QB come back to work with you?
A: Yes he did, let me see, after QB returned to work he was with me when I was driving along a ditch and he was hanging out the window with a spotlight. We spotted about 40 aliens in the ditch and they started running. I told QB to jump out and I would cut in front of them so we could box them in. QB jumped out and I stomped on the gas. I heard QB screaming for me to stop so I jammed on the breaks. He looked kind of funny as he slid past the truck on his back with the spotlight cord tangled on his gun belt. Seems that I drug him through a few mesquite and cactus before stopping. We did catch the aliens though.
Then there was the time that I was chasing two aliens near the port of entry. They ran along the fence ducking and dodging branches. They ran towards the road and jumped over a large log in the trail. I was preparing for the same jump just as I stepped into a rabbit hole and watched in slow motion as the huge log got closer and closer. Smack! It split my eyebrow from end to end and I was bleeding like I had been shot. I could see that the two had stopped running and were now coming towards me. I smacked the first one with my flashlight and the second one started yelling for me to stop. They were just coming back to see if I was alright. I almost felt bad about smacking the fellow. Well, after we all tended to our wounds the best that we could, they helped carry me to the truck while I held a rag on my head with one hand and a rag over the cut on the other fellows head where I had smacked him with the flashlight.
I guess we were a sight when we arrived at the station, me limping and bleeding, one guy with a rag over his face and the other with blood all over his shirt. The agents in the office thought that the aliens had jumped me and began to pommel the poor guys while I was trying to explain what he happened. When I took the bloody rag off of my face, the duty officer saw the bone through cut in my head and threw up on the floor. This made the injured alien sick so he threw up. Then all of the other agents were gagging and choking at the puke on the floor while I was standing there bleeding all over myself.
The supervisor heard the commotion and came running in, slipping on the puke and blood till he came to a slow graceful stop in the middle of the room, in the middle of us, he slid in like he was skating till he stopped. He looked at each of us, shook his head, looked directly at me and said, “I should have known it would be you again Rowe, I should have known”.
Need more, huh? I have thousands of stories, thousands of stories.
Q: Did you or anyone else get into anything like you and QB?
A: Oh hell yes, lots of things. Jessie and I would go down river to the old pump station on the river. There was a house over in Mexico with a woman and her two daughters. We would wade out to the middle of the river and call the house. The daughters would walk out to the middle of the river and bring us plates of food. We bought our lunch there two or three times a week when we could. They needed the money and we liked the food, so everyone was happy.
At night we would sneak down to the water on the river and wait for the aliens to cross over. After they landed, we would sneak down and steal their inner tubes, then sneak back to the group and jump them. It was funny to watch them run back to the river only to discover that their tubes were gone. Back then, they would laugh because they knew that they had been gotten.
Most of the people we caught were just workers and farmers with a few criminals thrown in. I remember the first Chiappas Indian I caught and brought back to the station. He asked for a drink of water so I directed him to the water fountain. He walked up to the fountain and stood there. Jerry told him to get a drink and come back. The Indian just stood there looking at the fountain. We would have never thought that someone in their 20’s had never seen a water fountain. Jerry, being a fun loving agent told the Indian that in order to get a drink; he had to talk to the fountain.
The Indian whispered “agua por favor”. Water please. Nothing! Jerry told him that the fountain was hard of hearing and that he had to stand closer and talk louder. The Indian inched up closer and spoke louder, “agua por favor”. Nothing! Perplexed the Indian asked Jerry to demonstrate how to get a drink. Jerry walked up to the fountain, pressing the button with his hand and shouted “agua por favor”. Water spouted up and Jerry drank. The Indian was impressed so he stood against the fountain and shouted “agua poor favor”. As he leaned over he pressed against the button and water sprang out. He was so excited at this he forgot that he was thirsty. He ran back to the benches and explained to all of the other aliens that the fountain was magic, and after he earned enough money, he would buy a magic fountain to send back to his village.
Feeling bad now about bashing his dreams, we told him that it was a secret fountain and that he couldn’t buy one, but we would let him take a gallon of the magic water with him, IF he promised not to tell anyone else. He was happy then.
Another time Mark and I were working the night shift after a hard rain and we spotted a group of aliens crossing the road and gave chase. The aliens ran across a long ditch and through the standing water. Mark ran behind them gaining on them. All of a sudden Mark disappeared into the water. Mark was nowhere to be seen. I ran up to the water thinking he had fallen down. All of a sudden his head popped up from under the water spewing and spitting. Seems as though the electric company had been drilling large, deep holes in the ground before the rain. Mark found one of them.
One time Angel and I were working on the river at about 4:00 am and a large group of aliens had made it to our side on a raft. Angel and I split up to trap the aliens between us. Angel went to the rear and I went in front. When I turned on my night vision goggles, I discovered that the eye peaces inside the helmet glowed an eerie illuminated green, like two large eyes. If you put your hand over the outside of the goggles, they got really bright. Well, being a normal agent, I decided to have a little fun. As the aliens came closer, I covered the lenses and made the eyes float in air, with a little woooooooooooo! The aliens came to a halt in the trail trying to make out the floating eyes and sounds. Not being able to contain my new enthusiasm, I let out a blood curtailing scream and ran towards them. As the group turned and ran in a massive panic, Angel, being at the rear of the pack and unaware of my fun, jumped out and shouted at the aliens. When the dust cleared, Angel and I counted the foot prints that the aliens left on his chest and stomach as they plowed him down, running over him like a clump of grass. We decided to keep this one to ourselves.
Now here’s one for ya, Cooter and I were working at the old international bridge that used to be next to the new bridge. The aliens loved this bridge and would gang up until there were at least a hundred or moor. Back then, our night shift usually consisted of three to five agents to cover the entire county. It seemed like enough back then.
Well now, the aliens, with the large number of people on their side would rush down the bridge all at once. It was them a catch and throw game. You would run into the stampeding group, grab as many as you could and throw them to the ground. At the end of the event, we got to keep what was still on the ground, then track the rest later. Cooter and I were tired from all of the chasing and fighting, so we decided to work smarter, not harder. Armed with a long loop of rope and a spotlight, we set the trap. At the very end of the bridge we strung the rope across the bottom posts about eight inches high. Then we hid. Sure enough, here comes the next wave. Just as they hit the bottom of the bridge we jumped out and blinded them with the spotlight.
It sounded like a herd of cattle falling off of a cliff. Thud thud thud… We caught about 70 percent of the group. The aliens were so humored at our trap that they them volunteered to help us, if they could watch. OK! We let the captured aliens taunt the other groups on the bridge, shouting to them that we had left the area. Here they came in groves all the way to the bottom of the bridge. Thud thud thud… Then everyone would laugh until we were crying, including the captured aliens. We did this all night until morning. We then called the busses to help transport over 200 captured aliens. We were told to never do this again, or at least never let them know that we had done this. We agreed, and never told the supervisors what we had been up to.
Now Cooter had his own sense of humor too. The aliens would dangle a rope off of the top of the old bridge and slide down undetected from the top to the ground. Cooter, who stood way over six feet tall borrowed my knife. He climbed up the rope about five or six feet and cut the rope short. He and I hid to see what would happen. We let the first few aliens run down the bridge and then signal that it was clear. The other would start down only to be stopped by us as we sprang out. They would run back up to the top and start their long slide down the rope. Just as they were at the end of the long rope, they would discover that they were still about ten to twelve feet from the ground. The rope was way to long to climb back up, so they would have there stranded with other aliens sliding down on top of them until they gave out. Flop! Flop! Flop! They came tumbling down on top of each other. Now that was entertainment. The aliens would all start laughing when they discovered that we had gotten them again. They would hide silently in the brush with us and laugh their asses off when the next group met with the same fate as they had.
Well, all but one laughed. Being really pissed off because he had been caught for about the 20th time this week, took off running back up the bridge. I couldn’t stand it, and gave chase up the bridge after him. All the way to the top center of the bridge. He stopped and turned towards me, shot me a finger and then climbed onto the top rail in the middle of the bridge. I shouted to him to stop because the water in the river was low. Again he shot me the finger, turned and dove head first off of the bridge. It was silent for a few seconds, then I heard the sickening thud at the bottom. He missed the water by less that three feet and smashed into the muddy bank. He looked something like a lawn dart laying there in the mud. Surprisingly, he lived. Still don’t know how he pulled that one off.
Q: Earlier you said that you are assigned to the Firearms range, how is it working there?
A: It is a lot of fun and a lot of work too. We get there early and set up the range. We turn everything on, set the targets, prepare the ammunition issues and then run the training.
Q: Is it hard to teach the agents?
A: Some of them are not too experienced with firearms, at least those agents are willing to learn and pay attention. The older, more experienced agents are the knot heads. A lot of them think that they already know everything and are not too willing to listen or obey the commands. I think it is because they are used to doing things the old way and new things really bother them. We have to continually stay on top of some of them. All in all, the agents are proficient and do well.
Some of the inexperienced agents are fun though. One female agent was having trouble loading and operating the shotgun. So, to make her feel better, I told her not to worry, that is unless she put the shell in backwards. She looked perplexed and asked what would happen if she did. I got serious and told her that nothing would happen, unless, she pulled the trigger. Now she was really worried. She insisted that I tell her what would happen if she pulled the trigger. Finally I told her, “If you put the shell in backwards and pull the trigger, you will shoot yourself in the head.” It took about an hour top finally convince her that I was kidding and that it would not really shoot her in the head if she loaded the shell in backwards.
Q: I see that you have had a lot of fun working on the border, is there anything else that you would like to add, briefly?
A: Yes it has been a lot of fun, in a few years, after I officially retire, I’ll tell you the rest, of the stories.
Thank you for your time
Interview by Dustin W. Rowe