Once again Rocco joins us for a subject he’s intimately familiar with: becoming a United States Border Patrol Agent. See his previous post about earning your Ranger Tab here. Catch him at the Nancy’s Squat’n’Gobble buffet on Spaghetti Night for an autograph. Mad Duo
So you Wanna be a Border Patrol Agent….
Vince “Rocco” Vargas
I get this question all the time…
How do I become a Border Patrol Agent?
How do I join Special Operations?
First you need to apply for the Border Patrol. You do this by going to USAJOBS.Gov. There they’ll have the application if they’re currently hiring. Once you fill it out you should receive a test dates within days. If you pass that test then you will have the oral exam (show up in a suit and tie for fucks sake!) and other exams, from the physical fitness test (super easy) to a health examination and background investigation (which takes the longest). Eventually if you make it past all that you will have to do a polygraph (good luck).
Once you’ve made it through the process you’ll have to get through the ParaMilitary Academy. If you have any military background you’ll be comfortable with it.
The academy consists of PT and a lot of learning. Without giving away too much information, it covers anything within the realm of immigration and illegal drug education as well as Basic Law Enforcement training and driving.
If you don’t speak Spanish well enough to pass a verbal phone test you will have to stay for another few weeks to learn what I call “Working Spanish,” which is just enough to sound like an idiot in front of your Spanish speaking partners.
After all this is complete (about five months) you will head to your duty station and start your Field Training and testing. This will last up to a year.
After two years of being an Agent you will then have the opportunity to try out for other teams. I’ll talk about two of those teams, BORTAC and BORSTAR.
There’s been a rumor that I was a BORTAC Agent. That’s false. I was a BORSTAR Agent attached to BORTAC. I was fortunate enough to be on a team that respected my previous training from the military and was basically pulled in to the team as a medic but was treated as a operator with medical training. This isn’t always the case with other teams.
BORSTAR Selection is about 30 days. I won’t talk about what the selection process is all about since I’m one of the people who helped shape the course into what it is today, but I can tell you it’s no walk in the park. I believe it is a very respectable challenge for any level of physical and mentally strong individual.
A BORSTAR Agent can have a similar mission to an Air Force PJ.
I have heard BORTAC Selection is a challenge as well, and closely resembles a short version of Ranger School.
Either way be ready for a challenge you didn’t expect to see in the civilian world.
Once you have joined the teams:
BORSTAR’s agents receive additional advanced specialized training in emergency medical, tactical medicine, technical rope rescue, paramedic, austere medic, load planner, helicopter rope suspension training, rescue watercraft/boat operator, cold-weather operations, personnel recovery, small unit tactics, tactical combat casualty care, operations management and planning, and advanced dive, swift-water, and technical rope rescue operations.
BORTAC’s agents acquire additional skill sets in high-risk warrant service, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, foreign law enforcement/Border Patrol capacity building, airmobile operations, maritime operations, and precision marksman/observer.
Having a career in the Border Patrol was one of the best decisions I ever made. If you’re looking to be a part of the federal system, have the ability to be in the field and be an independent worker this is a career for you. If you want to work hard there is plenty of work out there to find. The pay is comfortable and the action can be frequent. If you join one of the Special Operations teams, life in the Patrol can have more benefits. I was living the dream being a medic for my BORTAC team. BORTAC was in my opinion one of the most talented and experienced teams out there.
Hopefully I’ve answered all your questions. If you have more questions feel free to hit me up on any of my social media platforms.
So I leave it up to you, if you want to be a Border Patrol Agent, all you need to do is apply!
About Vincent Vargas
Rocco served four years with the 75TH Ranger Regiment. During his tenure with the Regiment, he did three combat deployments to Iraq, serving in every billet on rifle, crew-served and anti-tank teams. After his AD time was up Rocco went on to become a USAR Drill Sergeant at Ft. Sill. He then went on to join the US Border Patrol and eventually volunteered for BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search and Rescue Special Operations Unit). He later worked as a SOG Operator attached to a BORTAC team, medic and combatives instructor, ultimately leaving to become a vetrepreneur after a lengthy period of honorable service. He is the author of Light the Fuse and a part of the FX Networks Mayans MC television drama series.
Rocco is married with four kids (two girls, two boys) – among whose young ranks are boxers, MMA fighters, baseball players, volleyball players and assorted other warriors in training. An international celebrity on par with such greats as Jack Elam and Zac Efron’s little brother, he’s basically our own tattooed combat veteran Hasselhoff.
Follow him on Instagram at @vincent.rocco.vargas (his podcast is at @vinnyroc). He’s online at VinnyRoc.com.