Monday, September 28, 2009

It Was 30 Years Ago Today...

...that I first took an oath to defend our Constitution. The oath to which I swore went something like this:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

I trust and hope I have done my job up to the expectations of my fellow citizens as to what they think a federal agent should be doing. I may not have always gotten it 100 percent to every one's liking but I have never done anything to violate any one's rights, I have never even considered accepting a bribe or otherwise being corrupt let alone do anything like it, and for the great majority of the time I have striven to do my work to the best of my ability while serving the people of this great land. I even got a few awards along the way. I have worked as a Border Patrol Agent, A Customs Patrol officer, a Customs Investigator, a Customs Special Agent and an ICE Agent. In my investigative duties I have worked in financial investigations groups, narcotics groups, a general investigations group, and had a brief stint in a strategic investigations group. I have had temporary assignments to an intelligence group and to details throughout the country and to foreign shores. Thirty days in Haiti was an eye opener. I also traveled to Jamaica to testify at a trial, went to Haiti a second time for a few days and have had several temporary domestic assignments outside of my home office which included trips to: Puerto Rico (30 days), Charleston, SC (30 days), Albany, NY (45 days), Key Largo (3 weeks), Tucson (about 45 days), Laredo, TX (90 days), Washington State (30 days), Phoenix, AZ (45 days), Tucson, AZ (4 months - just this year); and there have been a number of shorter trips to places like Miami (several times), Orlando, Philadelphia (several times), San Juan (twice), San Francisco and so on. I have also been assigned to temporarily work under other agencies and completed several Secret Service details, and a five month assignment as a Federal Air Marshal (that one almost immediately after 9/11). I volunteered for all of the temporary assignments. Of course, I had some collateral duties too - I was a firearm's instructor for about 14 years. I do not have long to go now before retirement - maybe next year, maybe the following year, definitely by the year after that when continuing in my career is no longer and option for me because retirement becomes mandatory for me then.

It has been one heck of an interesting three decades since I took that oath above. I have seen the job change a lot over the years. It changed mostly due to changing attitudes of the people whom we serve. I'll not comment on what I think of that. Over those 30 years I have met a lot of interesting people. Some of them the people I have met coincidentally in the course of my duties, some I met because I investigated arrested them, others were they with whom I have worked. Out of all the ones I have met on the job, I figure I have made a handful or two of good friends (none of them people that I arrested). They know who they are - they are very dear to me even if we are not as close as good friends should be. They made it all the easier when times were tough on the job and off.

I also met a lot of very dedicated folks. Men and women who serve you each and every day and who face the prospect of being injured or killed in the line of duty while serving a nation that at times does not even seem to know or care they are in harm's way. Realizing that dedication, seeing it at work in they who live it, that has been one of the most wonderful things of my career. My biggest regret stems from that dedication too in that many whom we serve do not realize the service we give them. Yet, there are others who go out of their way to make us feel as if we have done something good that matters. To them I say thanks with all my heart. To my many associates and my few true friends on the job, I also say thanks, you have all helped to make it one heck of an interesting, fun, and worthwhile three decades long career for me. I can only hope that whatever time I have left on this job goes even half as well.

All the best,
Glenn B