Tim Gaynor
September 9, 2013

(Reuters) – For U.S. Border Patrol agent Frank Dixon, getting to work on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift is simple: He drives out of Hedglen Forward Operating Base and is already in the heart of the cactus-studded wilderness he is tasked with securing.

Modeled on the remote fire bases used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, the 10-acre (four-hectare) fence-ringed facility in Arizona’s high desert is the U.S. government’s latest bid to plug the remaining gaps on the porous border with Mexico.

“We come in here, we get up our plan for the day and as soon as we drive out our gate, we are pretty much in our working area,” Dixon says of the sprawling, air-conditioned compound where agents are assigned for a week at a time.

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