When you hear the phrase “special forces” your mind — quite rightly — turns to units like the Army’s Green Berets or the Navy SEALs.
There’s no question those groups are heroic. However, even though the Border Patrol may be law enforcement as opposed to being part of the military, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own special forces — and they’re heroes of the unsung sort.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, BORSTAR — Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue — was a unit “created in 1998 in response to the growing number of injuries to Border Patrol agents and migrant deaths along our nation’s borders.”
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Headquartered at the Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group headquarters in El Paso, Texas, it’s “the only national law enforcement search and rescue entity with the capability to conduct tactical medical, search and rescue training for Federal, state, local and international government agencies.”
The unit is comprised of experienced agents who pass a “physically and mentally demanding course in which candidates are evaluated in various search and rescue techniques, tactical medicine, technical rescue, land navigation, communication, swift-water rescue, air operations, and the ability to work in a cohesive unit.”
John Welter is a BORSTAR agent in the San Diego sector. While he said the work is rewarding, he said it can also be a “selfless, thankless job.”
In an interview, he described just what his job entails, and why BORSTAR may be some of America’s most unsung heroes… [VIDEO ON NEXT PAGE]