Pilot Michael T. "Tommy" Box

Pilot Michael T. "Tommy" Box

United States Department of Justice - Immigration and Naturalization Service - United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government

End of Watch Tuesday, August 29, 1950

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Michael T. "Tommy" Box

Just after dawn Airplane Pilot Michael T. Box was patrolling by aircraft in the irrigation farm area about 20 miles north of El Paso, Texas, searching for aliens who had walked through the desert at night and were attempting to get away to the north through the upper Rio Grande Valley. Pilot Box was working with two ground crews who were in radio-equipped jeeps. The operation had netted several aliens and others being sought when the engine of the aircraft stopped. Pilot Box maintained control of the plane as it lost altitude and maneuvered the aircraft into position to make an emergency landing in an irrigation ditch. The aircraft struck a submerged object on the canal bottom upon impact. Pilot Box’s seat strap was broken and he was thrown with terrific force into the wheel and instrument panel. He died instantly. The plane burst into flames, however, fellow officers were able to remove Pilot Box from the aircraft within minutes after the crash occurred. Artificial respiration was commenced immediately and was continued until Pilot Box was pronounced dead by a doctor who lived nearby. The investigation into the accident revealed that the motor of the aircraft ceased apparently due to difficulty in the fuel system.

Box was survived by his wife and son. He was buried in the Nevada Cemetery, Collin County, Texas.


  • Age 49
  • Tour 27 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident
  • Location Texas

Most Recent Reflection

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Pilot Box,
On today the 70th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your sacrifice for our Country and to the Patrol. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

A fellow BPA

United States Border Patrol

August 29, 2020

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