Home News Speeches A Tribute to the Heroes of the Miami Shootout
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  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • 25th Anniversary of the Miami Shootout
  • Miami, Florida
  • April 11, 2011

Good afternoon, and thank you, John, for that introduction. I am honored to be here. I want to thank all of you, especially our many law enforcement partners, for joining us to mark this important date in our collective history.

Twenty-five years ago today, the morning dawned bright and clear—a typical day in Miami.

But this otherwise ordinary morning quickly became one of the most difficult and dangerous days in the history of the Bureau. A day of unthinkable violence, darkness, and loss. 

Yet it was also a day of courage, selflessness, and sacrifice. A day that reflected the best of the Bureau, even as it exemplified the worst of what we confront.

We often divide our lives into “before” and “after”—life before we were married or had children, life after college or starting that first job. 

So, too, is this moment marked in time.

In less than five minutes, the lives of eight special agents and their families were forever changed. Indeed, the Bureau itself was forever changed. 

Ben Grogan was a 25-year veteran of the FBI. He was the old hand—a highly trained SWAT team member, and one of the Bureau’s best shots. 

Jerry Dove was the freshman, with just four years under his belt. He had wanted to serve as a special agent since childhood. Just days before the shootout, he had told his grandmother that he felt like the luckiest man in the world to work for the FBI, keeping those he served safe from harm. 

Regardless of age or experience, both men put country before self. They put courage before fear. They put the safety of their community before their own. 

That is what special agents do. It is what they are sworn to do. But it makes the risk no less real, and the consequences no less grave. 

Agent Ed Mireles said that in the midst of the shootout, the Marine Corps motto ran through his mind: Improvise. Adapt. And overcome. 

That is exactly what each of these men did that morning. Though we honor their actions, the truth is that we expect no less. We in the FBI are duty bound to keep those we serve safe from harm. It is a heavy burden, but one special agents bear with honor. 

Fortunately, we do not bear this burden alone. We stand side-by-side with our law enforcement counterparts across the country and around the world. 

Although we stand strong together, the risks we face have never been greater. In the past two years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of law enforcement fatalities—an increase that is simply unacceptable. 

With each agent, officer, or deputy killed in the line of duty, lives are forever changed. And that is why we must continue to improve the way we do business—together.

On his desk at work, Special Agent Grogan kept a copy of Teddy Roosevelt’s well-known quote about the man in the arena—the man who, at his best, knows great triumph, and at his worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly to do what must be done.   

That morning, these eight agents were indeed men in the arena—their faces marred by dust and sweat and blood. With great daring, they kept this community safe. But in so doing, they found both victory and defeat. 

It has been said that all great things are simple, and most can be expressed in a single word: Fidelity, bravery, and integrity. Honor, duty, and sacrifice. But it is no simple matter to act on such words when every second counts and life hangs in the balance.

The individuals we honor today embodied the true meaning of these words, and what it means to be a special agent. Their actions serve as a reminder of the Bureau’s capacity to take on great challenges in the face of great adversity. 

We pay tribute to the heroism of these men—and to every agent we have lost in the line of duty—and we thank them for their service. 

My thanks to each of you for being here, and for the work you do for the Bureau and for your communities. We could not ask for more or better. 

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