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

Add to My Heroes

Michael T. "Tommy" Box

Pilot Tommy Box was killed in a plane crash while conducting aerial patrols near Anthony, New Mexico, at about 6:30 am.

He had taken off from El Paso International Airport in a Cessna 170 to assist ground units search for illegal aliens in the area. He was flying at an altitude of approximately 100 feet when the engine stopped. He attempted to make an emergency landing in an irrigation canal approximately one mile northwest of Gadsden High School.

The aircraft struck a submerged object on the canal bottom upon impact. Pilot Box’s seat strap was broken and he was thrown into the instrument panel, killing him instantly. The plane burst into flames, however, border patrol inspectors he had been helping on the ground were able to remove him from the aircraft within minutes after the crash. They performed CPR however he was pronounced dead by a doctor who lived nearby. The investigation into the crash revealed that the motor of the aircraft ceased apparently due to difficulty in the fuel system.

Pilot 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 New Mexico

aerial patrol, mechanical failure, plane crash

Most Recent Reflection

View all 15 Reflections

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

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.