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Here, below, is an interesting piece of Columbus history, seen in the town’s weekly newspaper.*
Above is a copy of the upper part of the front page of the Columbus Courier of March 24, 1916, two weeks after the infamous raid on the town by Pancho Villa’s troops. Enlarged below is a larger view of the above enclosed news notice entitled: “No Need For Alarm.”
* The above two newspaper clippings are thanks to the guidance of Dr. Robert Bouilly, Fort Bliss Army Sergeant Major’s Academy Historian and Advisor to the FASF. These clippings are from the Library of Congress. We were lead to them by Dr. Bouilly.
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REMEMBER: To view any of these photos in full high resolution, simply click on it.
What was once called “Raid Day” but is now known as “Camp Furlong Day” has come and gone once again. We have to thank the numerous FASF volunteers for helping the Day go down in the books as another successful experience in both public education and member recruiting.
Our own long time member and professional historian, John Deuble, came all the way down from Albuquerque to give a brand new and insightful featured presentation about the First Aero Squadron at Camp Furlong in 1916-17. His pictures included some never seen before by some of our FASF members and by other local history buffs. John explored in some detail the many problems faced by both the young FAS pilots and their support personnel, as they cut their collective teeth on the first sustained combat deployment operation involving American aircraft. Mr. Deuble even described, along with vintage photos, how local industries came to life out of nowhere, simply because of the unique support needs for the FAS, such as their need for large quantities of fresh ice to feed their newly invented propeller “Humidors.” These Humidors were needed to protect the propellers from exploding in the air, because they tended to dry out so badly that their wooden laminated propeller structure would literally come unglued.
Here, below, are more photos taken by your Aerodrome staff to help you see what – and who – you might have missed during this weekend celebration.
Members Bill Madden, our Aerodrome Site Survey Team Leader, our two Vice Presidents, Dr. Kathleen Martín and Roy Mantei, along with President Ric Lambart, helped manage the FASF display table once again, and Trustee Bill Wallace III played a key role in the event by acting as U.S. Mexican Boarder Crossing Gate Master, as he let the many Mexican caballeros, astride their horses, cross into the U.S. to take part in the celebratory event, some pictures of which you’ve seen above. Our newsletter Editor, July McClure, was again busy entertaining visitors with her musical performance. We even had some of our Texas FASF members, Ray Thomas and Jon Calder, both period Re-enactors, come over from distant Alvin and Lubbock, Texas. They joined up with some of the key 1916 and 1917 Calvary Re-enactors from Las Cruces, NM, to help plan for the big Centennial of celebration of the Birth of American Air Power in 2016.
Of course, this big day in Columbus wouldn’t have gone as smoothly without another old FASF member, John Read, who again repeated his skilled organizing and management tasks during the event at Pancho Villa State Park, which is where the public educational presentations again took place. Dr. Robert Bouilly, frequent FASF Advisor and the U. S. Army’s Lead Historian at the Sergeant Majors’ Academy on Ft. Bliss, in El Paso, gave a special presentation about the role of the famous Buffalo Soldiers during the Punitive Expedition and of some of their little known exploits, particularly their prowess at the sport of boxing, both before and after this locally historic event of almost a century ago. FASF Membership Chair, Roy Mantei, reports we signed up some more new members, sold some FASF memorabilia, and helped inform a number of visitors about the important role played by the First Aero Squadron – not just 99 years ago, but in both WWI and during the rapid expansion of American Civil Aviation in the 1920’s and 30’s, prior to WWII.
NMSU Professor, Dr. Jon Hunner, below, delivered a colorful and fascinating presentation about how the combat lessons learned in Columbus and in Chihuahua Mexico, during the Punitive Expedition, were helpful to the U.S Army when the U. S. finally entered the bloodbath going on in Europe and so often called at the time, “the war to end all wars.” Professor Hunner illustrated how interconnected what took place here out of Columbus turned out to be later over in Europe and even the Middle East, where the great war helped cause the breakup of the old Ottoman Empire into modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, etc. – today’s leading area of U. S. long-running wartime involvement. Dr. Hunner also described how the victory of the Allies over Germany in that devastating war tragically helped lay the seeds that subsequently led to the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy, and Spain – and even of the take over by the Bolsheviks in Russia and the ensuing rise of Communism.
After Dr. Hunner’s treatise is was more clear to many in the audience that the dynamics leading to and following WWI were all intricately interconnected, helping give rise to the greatly changed world of nation states that followed that long conflict – and that consequently also laid the fertile ground that gave rise to both WWII and the worldwide mayhem that has followed that World War.