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Fallen Guardians: Yuma Sector Border Patrol remembers their lost agents

Yuma Sector Border Patrol remembers...
YUMA, Ariz. - The men and women of the Border Patrol are the first line of defense against terrorism and the war on drugs.
 
However, when their duty calls for danger, that can come at a price. 
 
Nine years ago, the fear of losing a fellow agent swept up on those who protect Yuma's borders, after losing agent Luis Aguilar, an agent murdered in the line of duty. 
 
"Unfortunately, the driver ran agent Aguilar over, who later perished from his injuries," agent Justin Kallinger said.
 
Agent Aguilar was 32-years old at the time of his death. According to Kallinger, he was attempting to stop a smuggler from escaping into Mexico.
 
Aguilar was a border patrol agent protecting our borders, but he was also a husband, father, son and brother. 
 
"B-P-A Aguilar was one of the harder working agents out here," Kallinger said. "He was just a good person, very respectful to everyone." 
 
While agents like Aguilar come face to face with danger every day, they also keep in mind, their duty calls for heroism, just as it did for agent James Epling fourteen years ago.
 
According to Kallinger, agent Epling was helping undocumented immigrants from heavy river waters. However, he never made it out after saving those who were drowning. 
 
"He saved lives first," Kallinger said. "He was going to make sure that these people, whatever their case may be, was satisfied. But the first thing he thought of was someone other than himself."
 
Stories like agent Epling's and agent Aguilar's aren't foreign to the Yuma Sector Border Patrol. 
 
Yuma Sector alone has lost nearly 10 agents in the line of duty since 1967. 
 
According to a report by the United States Homeland Security, there have been 125 line of duty deaths since 1919.
 
While sacrifices like those of the agents who've died in the line of duty happened, Kallinger said he was still confident this field was his calling. 
 
"We do whatever we can to make sure the borders are safe," Kallinger said. "It was a touching moment in the sense that a lot of us became human and we reacted in a way that made me feel like I did make the right decision to be a border patrol agent." 

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