FBI folklore centers around two distinct factions, tribes, clusters, families, battalions, happily co-existing within the bosom of the Bureau. Catholics in the North and protestants in the South. The Pope and Grits rule the FBI.
My candidate for how an agent should look, act, dress, and excel, was Bob Rogers, guru of the physical training unit at the FBI Academy, Marine Corps Base Quantico. Bob lived the FBI Triad: Strength, Flexibility, Endurance. Plus he was smart as all get out. We served together as street agents in Denver during the first year of our careers, 1969-70. We became instant and life-long friends.
Bob had the goods and pedigree to become a legend in the FBI: Irish to the core, Notre Dame graduate from NYC, Catholic, Marine officer Vietnam combat veteran, politically conservative, patriotic, devoted to his family and to America. I loved the guy. He was the North. Me, I was a Grit.
Bob and I teamed on many arrests, dashing up and down Colorado, impregnable and omnipotent, agents full of ourselves and dedicated to the Bureau. We competed at everything, especially running and racquetball. I never bested him in running or on the racquetball court. His Notre Dame gave my Alabama Crimson Tide fits in football. “Bama is OK,” Bob said. “But it ain’t Notre Dame.”
Armed with confidence and gusto, Bob and I sniffed around downtown Denver at noon one gorgeous spring day, tracking a fugitive working somewhere in a deep seat restaurant. Bob and I walked into a
high tone establishment, showed the fugitive’s photo to the manager, who pointed at a waiter near the kitchen and
said, “That’s him.”
Bob and I walked slowly toward the waiter, who saw us and bolted into the kitchen at a run without saying goodbye. We chased him thought the kitchen, down an alley and out onto the sidewalk. Pedestrians stared at two guys in suits running after a waiter. A dispute about a bill?
Bob and I ran neck and neck. I had never pulled even with him during our races on a track. After a four block sprint, Bob and I tackled the dude and drove him into the sidewalk. We had an audience of citizens, plus a Denver uniformed policeman who piled out from behind the wheel of his marked car right beside us. “What’s going on!” he shouted. He placed his right hand on the handle of his holstered service revolver. He meant business.
“We’re FBI,” I said.
“Show me,” he said.
Bob reached into his suit coat and removed his leather enclosed credentials, flipped them open for the officer to see.
The officer relaxed, grinned, eased his right hand away from his weapon. “You guys need a ride?”