Border Patrol, Laughlin partnership sharpens tactical skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Hambor
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The United States Customs and Border Patrol utilized Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ fire drill tower Nov. 22, 2019, to practice rappelling and fast-rope maneuvers.

The Border Patrol Tactical (BORTAC) and Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) teams jointly practiced maneuvers to familiarize themselves with rappelling off helicopters, steep canyons or buildings.

Jesse Esquivel, Border Patrol supervisory agent with the Del Rio, Texas Sector BORSTAR team special operations detachment, summarizes the day as one to increase readiness at a moment’s notice.

“We’re training in order to serve the public better,” he said. “It enables use to respond to different emergency situations whether it’s a tactical or search-and-rescue response.”

The Laughlin fire drill tower enabled the BORTAC and BORSTAR teams to train closer to home, and spend more time practicing than travelling to Hebbronville, Texas or laying a flatbed trailer over a cliffside ridge.

“Having access to this tower is huge for us because it’s more feasible in a central location,” he said. “It’s just a great tower for what we need right now, and we’re very grateful.”

The increased cooperation comes weeks after Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert Zackery, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, spent time with the border patrol agents of Del Rio’s sector to better understand their mission, and increase cooperation.

“It takes a collective team to protect our great nation and keep our fellow Americans safe,” Gentile said. “I really appreciate everything our Border Patrol partners do day-in and day-out to make that happen.”