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November 2001

Customs canine hits pay dirt

Protecting Customs computer systems

Information is key to successful relocation

A grateful nation —The highest honor

Locked out of the United States

Import Specialists: The puzzle solvers

A stitch in time

Customs is a hit at aviation extravaganza


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A loss in the line of duty

On October 30, 2001, the U.S. Customs Service lost one of its own — Senior Inspector Thomas Murray died at the Port of Gramercy, La., while performing his duties. He collapsed shortly after entering the cargo hold of a ship loaded with scrap metal. A crewmember and the captain of the Sakura I entered the cargo hold to try to rescue him and were also overcome. The preliminary report indicates the men may have suffocated.

Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner attended Inspector Murray’s funeral, which was held on November 2, at the St. Joseph Catholic Church and Cemetery. The Customs Honor Guard and bugler from Miami were also in attendance.

photo of Thomas Murray
Photo courtesy of Murray family

Thomas Murray

Thomas Murray began his career with Customs in 1975 in International Falls, Minn., after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He moved to Gramercy in 1981. His wife, five children, his parents, two sisters, and five brothers survive him. One of his brothers is also a Customs inspector in Denver, Colo.

Around Gramercy, Inspector Murray was known for his dedication to others. He was an active member of the Catholic Church, working with elderly parishioners and others. He also taught dozens of children to swim and helped his wife, Joan, coach the Lutcher High School swim team.

"Senior Inspector Thomas Murray made the ultimate sacrifice for our agency and our country. Tom will live on in the body of his accomplishments," says Assistant Commissioner Bonni G. Tischler, Office of Field Operations. "His spirit will forever be reflected in the sunlight glancing off the badges of all U.S. Customs Service officers."

Customs Today November 2001