We took a day trip to Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, NM, which is just three miles from the Mexican border. There is an impressive exhibit hall which explains the historic events that happened there.
On March 9, 1916, Mexican Revolutionaries under the leadership of General Francisco Pancho Villa raided Columbus. They were looking for supplies and hoping to obtain horses, small arms, and machine guns from the army camp there. I won’t go into detail, but the soldiers were able to rally. After the revolutionaries retreated, there were 106 dead – 6 civilians, 10 soldiers, and 90 Mexicans. (This count is changeable depending upon where you get your information.)
The docent at the museum filled in ‘the rest of the story’, which included background information and motivation, and was very interesting and knowledgeable.
One week later. 10,000 troops left Columbus under General John Pershing to seek out and capture Villa. The “Punitive Expedition” extended 500 miles into Mexico, but never found Villa.
What I find most amazing – Except for the cavalry, the soldiers traveled by foot, down and back, 1000 miles in all through blazing heat and bone-chilling nights. WOW!
Fun facts –
This was the last true mounted cavalry action by the U.S. Army.
This was the first U.S. military operation to employ mechanized vehicles.
Also the first to utilize airplanes, although with limited success.
The Army established its first operational airbase in Columbus.
George Patton was part of the expedition.
I have just a few pictures. Early supply truck
Replica of the ‘Jenny’ bi-planes, which were underpowered and far from safe to fly.
Here are some amusing directions on flying the death traps. If you want a good laugh, click on it to read.
The Jeffery Quad Armored Truck, the U.S. Army’s first armored vehicle. Built in 1915, two were placed along the border after Pancho Villa’s raid.
If you get in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Pancho Villa State Park.