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For those unique and hazardous missions, The Border Patrol Special Operations Group is the answer. These are special teams who receive intense training to respond rapidly to situations that are usually not encountered by ordinary Border Patrol Agents. Special Operations Group trains teams in special tactics and techniques, search and rescue, and medical response capabilities. They are designed and specially-equipped to respond rapidly to emergent, uncommon, and usually dangerous situations.The regular activities that Border Patrol Agents engage in—patrolling borders, vehicle inspections, and traffic checkpoints—are not the only methods utilized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to secure the country against terrorists and their weapons. Strengthening the fight against terrorism and protecting America and its borders require more than linewatch duties. The CBP knows and understands this and have thus prepared accordingly.
The Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) and the Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit (BORSTAR), and the Border Patrol Special Response Team comprise the Border Patrol Special Operations Group. In order for the Special Operations Group to carry out their missions, the CBP plans, trains, and deploys agents to domestic and international destinations to derive intelligence in support of its antiterrorism efforts. They are also sent to give humanitarian aid and help in areas hit by disasters.
Part of the efforts of the Special Operations Group is training border police of other nations to prepare them for combat incidents. In December of last year, for instance, Belizean law enforcement personnel were trained by 8 instructors from the Special Operations Group on various techniques. From intense physical fitness training to patrolling drills to weaponry to tactical and operational modules to field medical training, the training given by the group certainly added to the knowledge possessed by the immigration and customs officers and policemen in Belize.
The Special Operations Group, however, is not for neophyte Border Patrol Agents. When you’ve served for about a couple years and want to take your career up the next level as part of The Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), for example, you’ll have to be ready for the BORTAC Training Course. You will first be tested physically through such exercises as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a 1.5 mile run to determine if you can handle the rigors of the job. A pistol qualification test is also going to be given during the initial testing phase. Once you have passed those, then you will have to complete a timed six-mile ruck march carrying a weighted pack. You will be tested in swimming, treading water, and drown-proofing.
If you are tough enough to pass these then you will undergo intense training in small unit tactics, operation planning, advanced weapon skills, defensive tactics, and airmobile operations for a few weeks. The final test before you can officially call yourself part of the BORTAC, you will have to show that you can function in a team environment despite intense stress and sleep deprivation.
Only when you have passed all these grueling tests will you be given the go signal to work on your Sector Special Response Team. While on the job, you will be taught more advanced tactical and weapons techniques.