Air interdiction agents take to the sky to provide support to law enforcement along the border including, air-to-ground interception of people and contraband illegally crossing the border.
It TMs a dual hazard when you add the law enforcement element to it and you add the flying element to it, you have to be doubly aware of what you are doing each time you start up one of those machines, said Clint Thompson, an OAM-Air Interdiction Agent.
CBP pilots like Clint Thompson risk their lives conducting air operations in support of federal, state and local needs and many times| work disaster relief alongside agents of the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue Unit, referred to as BORSTAR.
You gotta make sure that as a team being in the helicopter in whatever fashion whether I would be deployed or whether we are there to render aid, medically or give supplies or provide security for the helicopter| whatever that mission is you have to put your mind in the midst of disaster, said Isaac David, a Border Patrol Agent.
Training scenarios like this one are conducted frequently to sharpen the skills of both pilots and agents and, those skills have been tested in rescue missions like those after devastating hurricanes such as Katrina which changed the lives of thousands in New Orleans.
These guys need to get into some really bad places sometimes, hostile terrain, maybe a hostile environment where maybe an agents been injured from a shooting or an alien has been injured from the elements itself so a lot of places we take them to " they need to get into| are places where it TMs hard for a four wheel vehicle to take ~em, Thompson said.
Both jobs are physically and mentally demanding and because situations vary in difficulty teamwork is critical!
Thompson said, I work with some really good and courageous people and you TMve got to have their back| you got to!
I think one of the most rewarding things I TMve ever done is having the ability to save someone TMs life, said David.
The Office of Air and Marine utilizes over 1,200 Federal Agents, operating from 80 air and marine locations, with more than 290 aircraft.