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A Preliminary to War: The 1st Aero Squadron and the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916

by Roger G. Miller

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On March 15, 1916, the 1st Aero Squadron arrived at Columbus, NM. The squadron was to join an expedition led by BG John J. ?Black Jack? Pershing into Mexico in response to a March 9 attack on the tiny border town by the Mexican desperado, Francisco ?Pancho? Villa. For the first time, the U.S. Army's entire air force?the 1st Aero Squadron?had deployed for an active campaign. The Squadron played a significant role in the Punitive Expedition, but, in dramatic contrast to how an air force functions today, it served as a means of communication and observation, not as a combatant arm. (Originally published by the Air Force History and Museums Program)… (more)
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On March 15, 1916, the 1st Aero Squadron arrived at Columbus, NM. The squadron was to join an expedition led by BG John J. ?Black Jack? Pershing into Mexico in response to a March 9 attack on the tiny border town by the Mexican desperado, Francisco ?Pancho? Villa. For the first time, the U.S. Army's entire air force?the 1st Aero Squadron?had deployed for an active campaign. The Squadron played a significant role in the Punitive Expedition, but, in dramatic contrast to how an air force functions today, it served as a means of communication and observation, not as a combatant arm. (Originally published by the Air Force History and Museums Program)

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