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On Walkabout At: El Paso’s National Border Patrol Museum

A really interesting place that most people in El Paso have never visited is the National Border Patrol Museum located just off of Transmountain Road on the northeast side of El Paso, Texas.  Here is the American and US Border Patrol flags flying in front of the museum:

Flags of the Border Patrol Museum

The museum is actually of decent size and proved to be much more interesting than I expected.  I really didn’t know much about the history or structure of the Border Patrol until I visited this museum.  As this map shows the Border Patrol is broken down into various districts with the border with Mexico obviously being where most of the Border Patrol’s districts are located:

Map of Border Patrol Areas

Besides informing visitors about the structure of the Border Patrol, the museum also has a number of exhibits with the uniforms, equipment, photographs, guns, and documents that depict the history of the Border Patrol:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum

Besides recognizing the history of the Border Patrol agents the museum also recognizes the history of its animals that assist the agents, most notably their dogs that have long been used to smell for drugs being smuggled into the country:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 3

The museum has got another display depicting the Border Patrol’s long history with horses:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 2

Until the Border Patrol became motorized the entire border was at one time patrolled entirely by horseback.  It is hard enough today to monitor the border with all the vehicles, aircraft, radar, motion detectors, etc.; it had to be impossible to monitor the entire border by horseback a hundred years ago.

However, more interesting than the Border Patrol history though was the exhibits that depict all the items used by drug smugglers and illegal immigrants such as these shoes that are used to throw off the Border Patrol by looking like cow hoof prints:

Illegal Immigrant Shoes

Here is an example of a large river smuggling boat:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 4

This plaque describing this smuggling boat said the boat was made with automobile hoods and was used to move people across the Rio Grande River for $500 a person:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 5

Pretty amazing the profits the smugglers must have been making with this primitive boat.  There was also a number of displays showing the various weapons the illegal immigrants and smugglers were found to have on their person:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 6

The vast majority of the weapons confiscated from people caught illegally crossing the border are actually used for personal protection during their often dangerous journey across the border and not to assault Border Patrol agents with:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 7

The final exhibit we checked out was an area that had various vehicles used over the years by the Border Patrol:

Inside the Border Patrol Museum 8

The final place my wife and I did before concluding our tour of the Border Patrol Museum was to pay our respects at the wall of honor:

Border Patrol Wall of Honor Plaque

I had no idea that so many Border Patrol officers had lost their lives in serving the nation.  Reading through the various narratives, these Border Patrol officers lost their lives stopping alcohol smugglers all the way back to the Prohibition Period to combating the drug smugglers that plague the US borders today:

Border Patrol Wall of Honor

This wall is quite humbling and really brings to home what a dangerous job the Border Patrol does every day being the first line of defense securing America’s borders.

The Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9am to 5pm and best of all there is no admission fee.  The museum is located at 4315 Trans Mountain Rd., just west of highway 54 to Alamogordo.  It makes for a great morning or afternoon out when combined with a visit to the next door Museum of Archaeology and Wilderness Park.

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