Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1 Elite Member Okla-homey's Avatar
    Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof...

    Good Morning...First US air combat mission evar

    March 19, 1916 First U.S. air-combat mission begins

    Ninety years ago today, on this day in 1916, the First Aero Squadron, organized in 1914 after the outbreak of World War I, flies a support mission for the 7,000 U.S. troops who, six days earlier, had invaded Mexico on President Woodrow Wilson’s orders to capture Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa “dead or alive.”

    Pancho Villa

    Carl A. "Tuey" Spaatz was a West Point graduate and served with the 1st Aero Squadron in Mexico. He is shown here with a Martin Trainer aircraft. Spaatz would go on to great fame and five stars in WWII.

    On March 9, Villa, who opposed American support for the newly elected president of Mexico, Venustiano Carranza, had led a band of several hundred guerrillas across the border on a raid of the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 Americans.

    The mission to capture Villa, which eventually involved some 10,000 U.S. troops, was commanded by U.S. Brigadier General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, the future commander in chief of American troops during World War I.

    Then Brigadier General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing. They called him "Blackjack" because he had officered in all-black "Buffalo Soldier" regiments as a young officer.

    It was the first U.S. military operation to employ mechanized vehicles, including automobiles and the airplanes of the First Aero Squadron, which were used to scout enemy activity and relay messages for General Pershing.

    Lt. George S. Patton served with the 8th Cavalry in Mexico

    Despite numerous mechanical and navigational problems, the American fliers flew hundreds of missions for Pershing and gained important experience that would later benefit the pilots over the battlefields of Europe. However, during the 11-month mission, U.S. forces failed to capture the elusive revolutionary, and Mexican resentment over U.S. intrusion into their territory led to a diplomatic crisis.

    Omar Bradley was a new 2nd lieutenant with the 14th Infantry. For 7 months, "Brad" was at Douglas, Arizona where he lived "in absolutely miserable circumstances." He participated in one of the 300-mile convoys into Mexico.

    The aggressive U.S. pursuit of Villa and the popular support Villa enjoyed in Mexico had led Germany’s foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann, to think Mexico might welcome the opportunity to launch a full-scale invasion of Texas. This thought led directly to the famous Zimmermann Telegram, a secret message sent by Zimmermann in January 1917 to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing a Mexican-German alliance in the case of war between the United States and Germany and promising Mexico financial aid and territory—including Texas, New Mexico and Arizona—in return for its support.

    1st Aero Squadron flyboys in Mexico

    In late January 1917, with President Wilson under pressure from the Mexican government and more concerned with the war overseas than with bringing Villa to justice, the Americans were ordered home from Mexico. The Zimmermann Telegram, intercepted and decoded by British intelligence, reached the U.S. government in February; Wilson authorized the State Department to publish it in early March.

    1st Aero squadron guys during training with the artillery school at Ft Sill near Lawton prior to the expedition

    Americans were outraged, and public sentiment began to move ever closer to support of U.S entrance into World War I on the side of the Allies. Furthermore, Villa’s aggression in the Southwest had aroused safety fears among the region’s inhabitants, leading many Western states to support defense bills that would become necessary to support the U.S. war effort, which Congress formally declared on April 6, 1917.

    Curtiss JN-3 biplanes - or "Jennies" - were flown into Mexico, primarily on scouting and communications missions. The squadron flew 540 missions between 15 March and 15 August 1916, the average mission length being 36 miles. Their greatest contribution was maintaining communications between Pershing's columns, which penetrated 700 miles into Mexico.

    For his part, Villa continued his guerrilla activities in northern Mexico until Adolfo de la Huerta took power over the Mexican government and drafted a reformist constitution. Villa entered into an amicable agreement with Huerta and agreed to retire from politics.

    In 1920, the Mexican government pardoned Villa. Three years later, still a symbol of popular resistance against governmental repression, he was killed at his ranch in Parral by an unknown assailant.
    "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever they can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser; in fees, expenses and waste of time." -- Abraham Lincoln, (1809-1865) Lawyer and President who saved the United States.

    "Without opportunities on the part of the poor to obtain expert legal advice, it is idle to talk of equality before the law"-- Justice Chas. Evans Hughes

  2. #2

    Re: Good Morning...First US air combat mission evar

    where was lt foulois....

  3. #3 Elite Member KABOOKIE's Avatar
    In an airplane, down by the airport.

    Re: Good Morning...First US air combat mission evar

    Replace Wilson with Bush, Villa with Osama, Germany with Iraq and 1916 with 2003.

  4. #4
    Sooner Benchwarmer Kels's Avatar

    Re: Good Morning...First US air combat mission evar

    My grandfather served in the Army in 1916 with Pershing. Chasing Villa around and never catching him was disheartening.

    The pix I got of him and his buddies in Mexico look like it was a dirty, hot, and exhausting job.
    "Charlie don't surf!"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts