In February of 1917, the intrepid pioneer pilots of the First Aero Squadron (FAS), stationed at Columbus for 11 months, were ordered back east to be transported to the raging inferno in Europe that became known as WWI.
Since that time, the Army Air Corps, later to be known as the Army Air Forces, fought and won our way through another World War, this time the second global conflict.
Shortly after WWII ended, in 1947, Congress formed the United States Air Force (USAF), an entirely new and independent branch of the U.S. Military, but it did not abandon the Army Aviation Branch.
When the USAF began to grow its ranks, the now much smaller Army Aviation Branch, likewise did not sit still but also began its own regrowth. Today, it has more pilots, almost entirely ROTARY WING, aviators, than does the USAF, although its inventory of Fixed Wing assets remains quite small.
Not since February 1917, 104 years ago, has the US Army flown into or out of their historic airfield in the small border town of Columbus, NM.
However, last month, on Tuesday, the 14th of December, that all changed, when the 501st General Support Aviation Battalion, stationed at Biggs Army Airfield (adjoining Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas), was led into the old Army FAS Airfield at Columbus by its commander, Lt. Colonel Jonathan Guinn.
Colonel Guinn personally flew the number 1 Boeing CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopter into the Airfield, immediately followed by the 2nd Chinook. Upon landing, the heavy helicopters discharged some 60 young Army Aviators, who then walked from the Airfield into town, to explore their history in the two museums dedicated to the 1916 Punitive Expedition, which as most of you know, became to first instance of sustained combat flying by the fledging new Army flying squadron.
Here, below, you will see that historic event from last December unfold by way of videos of their arrival – – – and of their departure – – – along with many (78) photos of the Airmen and Women who took part in the event.
Click on the below photo’s centered boxed arrow to start the PowerPoint Show of the historic event, but remember, that, except for the opening and closing short videos, the other pictures will change to the next frame at regular intervals of 8 seconds per slide. Again, the entire show has 78 separate photos and two separate videos.
We suggest you use FULL-SCREEN for viewing since the photos are otherwise quite small.
Should you want to stop the show at any point, simply use your computer’s space bar, To restart the presentation, then tap the space bar once again. Remember, the two end piece videos are just under 2:00 minutes each. The entire show, if not paused, is only 14:16 long.
Our heartfelt thanks to these local business supporters of the FASF!
Please support them with the same enthusiasm they’ve shown for us!
(Click on any of the photos below. If they have a website, it will take you there – or enlarge their graphic.)
Attorney – Jeffrey Wayne Smith – An Active FASF Member
Mr. Smith is also fluent in Italian and Spanish
BIG “O” TIRES
Big O Tire Stores of Deming & Silver City NM – Owned and Managed by Megan & Cal Wenzel (above) – Tel: 575.544.2446 – Not just hard to beat deals on Tires, but all around complete automotive and truck services – at competitive prices – Click above photo for complete website and scheduling feature – Big O Tires is a national firm, so your tire warranties are good wherever you travel, not just locally! Megan is a retired member of the FASF Board of Trustees.
L to R above: Alejandra Sanchez, Administrative Assistant; FASF member, Bill Wallace , Columbus Stockyards Mgr.; and AideePalacios, F. C. Felhaber Livestock Broker . . . Bill is a Trustee of the FASF.
Foreground in picture at left, L to R: Aidee Palacios, Livestock Broker; Bill Wallace, Stockyards Manager, Alejandra Sanchez, Assistant to Mr. Wallace, and cattlemen, all busily occupied at the Import/Export Control Office and Weight Station . . . photo to the right shows Alejandra checking large livestock scale, as small group of cattle pass through for weighing . . .
L to R above: Aidee Palacios, Broker; JZ Smith, CATTLEMEX owner; and Alejandra Sanchez, Admin Assistant for Columbus Stockyards, working at facility’s high technology weight station . . .
L to R above: U.S. Customs Officials gathered with Alejandra Sanchez (right), during Grand Opening Ceremonies, September 2014.
The old Columbus Stockyards were sold by Luna County to Cattleman JZ Smith of Columbus and Tubac, AZ, whose new CattleMex invested heavily in modernizing the old Columbus stockyards, turning it into a major Mexican-American Import/Export facility for both horses and cattle. CattleMex celebrated its Grand opening with special ceremonies just last month. Mayor Skinner of Columbus, his wife, Diana, and Miss Columbus, Tonya Moreno, helped Mr. Smith conduct the festivities, at which both New Mexico and Mexican officials, Federal (U.S. Customs), and Congressman Steve Pearce’s Office were present to welcome guests for the celebratory occasion. CattleMex is currently the largest business operation to open in Columbus in many years. Managing the sprawling new facilities is FASF member, Bill Wallace III. Bill and his assistant, Alejandra Sanchez are all pictured above. Bill was raised in Casas Grandes, Mexico and later obtained his degree in agriculture in the states. His family goes back many generations in both Mexico and New Mexico, and were operating a vast ranch in Mexico through which Panco Villa traveled, when he launched his infamous raid on Columbus in March of 1916. If you’d like to get any information about CattleMex or the stockyards, call Bill, JZ, or Alejandra at : 575.531.3004
COLUMBUS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE – Has powered rural SW New Mexico and SE Arizona with electricity since 1949. The Coop has continued to grow as it has reliably and economically served farms, ranches, homes and industry since it first began generating and distributing power to its members. It now has over 2000 miles of power lines throughout its service area in Luna, Hidalgo, and Grant counties in New Mexico, and Cochise county in Arizona, while servicing almost 7000 individual electric meters. The member owned non-profit cooperative is governed by a Board of Trustees incuding: Edward Elbrock, President; Randy L. Massey, Vice President; William C. Miller Jr., Secretary-Treasurer/Director, NMRECA; FASF member Eddie Diaz, as Assistant Secretary-Treasurer; Hal B. Keeler, Tri-State; Nancy Clopton; William J. Cloudt; Joe Johnson; and Jay Peterson. The Power Utility’s daily operations are run by: Chris Martinez, Executive VP and General Manager; Denise Barrera, Information Systems Manager; Charles C. Kretek, General Counsel/Human Resources; Rachel Marrufo, Office Manager; and Salvador (Sonny) Parra, Operations Manager. Main offices are located at 900 N. Gold Ave., Deming, NM 88031. Telephone 575.546.8838 or 800.950.2667
Columbus NM (City Hall) – This is where it all began back in March of 1916, when Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa terrorized the community with his infamous raid, which immediately gave rise to the birth of American Air Power, as the First Aero Squadron launched its Jenny airplanes from Columbus in pursuit of the illusive Villa. Today, working to enhance and develop this historic village are Mayor Bruce D’Salas, Roberto Guttierez, Bill Johnson, Ricardo Guttierez and Paulino Villegas. Further helping local villagers and the town’s many visitors are Municipal Clerk Velia Borunda. TheWater Clerk, Amanda Rios. To reach any of this friendly town’s personnel, just call: 575.531.2663
The Columbus Village Library joined the rapidly growing ranks of local FASF business supporters in 2014 and has hosted several FASF events and even its earliest Board of Trustee meetings for the first two years. The unquestioned center of graphic arts and literature in Columbus was a welcome member to our growing local support community.
The Library’s friendly and helpful staff is lead by Director, Maria Constantine Ehlers, and librarians Maggie Calderon, and Rosario Pando. The staff hopes that, whenever in or visiting Columbus you stop by to enjoy the fully stacked shelves and take in the regularly exhibited creations of local artists hanging on the facility’s walls, or use their fully equipped computer center with its high speed broadband Internet, offering you late model computers, or Wi-Fi access, should you have your own laptop computer in hand. Or, if you have any questions about Columbus or the surrounding area, this hospitable staff will be more than happy to give you a hand. You can get library hours and have your questions answered by calling them at: 575.531.2612
Deming is famous as the locale of the silver spike. In March 1881, the town became the site of the completion of the second transcontinental railroad, uniting the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad from the east with the Southern Pacific from the west. Immediately adjacent to the Center you’ll find a relic of these days of yesteryear in the perfectly restored old Union Pacific cars and steam locomotive on display.
DEMING VISITOR CENTER – 800 E. Pine St. – Coming to this historic high desert community for vacation? Before, or after you arrive, be sure to check in with the Visitor Center for guidance in finding the numerous exiting sights to visit and explore in this southwestern corner of the Land of Enchantment. The Manager or one of their on duty volunteers will help you get started and eagerly answer your questions. Don’t delay, give them a call at: 575.567.1962
Owned and Operated by Diana & Javier Diaz
In photo above in front office are (L to R) Susan Muñoz, Office Manager & CEO Javier Diaz – Top rated on both Facebook and Angie’s List. Complete well services, including Solar, Geothermal and conventional. D & J’s service area reaches out in a 100 mile radius from Deming, but this professional operation also serves Hidalgo, Grant, Sierra & Doña Ana Counties. However D & J has also been known to bid beyond this distance. Their main offices are at 2600 Columbus Rd. SW, Deming, NM 88030 Hours: M – F from 8:00 to 5:00Tel: 575.546.7221 – Five out of five stars rating on Facebook! Javier also happens to be one of the publicly elected Luna County Commissioners.
Diaz Farms – Fresh Locally Grown Produce – A three generation family farm, owned and operated by Eddie and Guillermina Diaz in Deming, New Mexico – Telephone: 575.546.7264 – Located at 2485 Silver City Highway in Deming. – Diaz Farms is famous for their champion caliber green and red chile, but also well known for their flavorful onions, melons, pinto beans and many other types of produce. Need hay? Come to Diaz for good quality and competitive prices! Enjoy watching your chile roasted while you wait – or buy your order from already freshly on-site roasted stock. FASF member Eddieis the brother of Javier Diaz of D & J Pump & Well Service (above) and is also the Assistant Treasurer of the local electric utility, COLUMBUS ELECTRIC (see above).
Pictured above, standing on the porch of the offices for the Sales & Service facility of “E&G Wireless” in Columbus, are (L to R): Gracie Carreon, Manager; Mely Gonzales, Service Representative, and Veronica Pelido, an E&G customer.
E&GWireless is one of our newest FASF Business Supporters. The company is owned and managed by Gracie Carreon of Columbus. The enterprise was the exclusive idea of this young Columbus native. In spite of predictions by some area wireless communications “experts” that such a new business couldn’t succeed in Columbus, it has – – – and how! Gracie was certain that the town of Columbus could use its own wireless service and sales facility and it would appear that her instincts were right, because E&G has managed to grow and thrive in the two and a half years since its humble beginnings from her home.
Gracie personally showing one of her customers some of the many cell phones she offers.
Gracie (L) checks Mely’s (R) calculations and data for one of their customer’s accounts.
After only about a year from her start up at home, the business grew so fast that it was necessary to purchase and set up her own free-standing office building, which she did, right alongside the Columbus Highway a few short miles North of the center of town. This innovative young entrepreneur has managed to more than just succeed, she has flourished and grown as few expected was possible.
Her company’s slogan is: “Big Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care,” and that accurately describes Ms. Carreon’s operation, already approaching its third year of successful sales and exceptionally friendly service. If you’d like to explore and possibly purchase one of Gracie’s unbelievably low cost Cell Phone service plans and/or some new or used cell phone equipment, you can either stop by in person at the above office at the Southeast corner of the Columbus Highway and West Carter Avenue, so that Gracie or one of her gracious staff can show you the many possibilities available, or call them at (575) 545-3719. E&G’s friendly staff are all bilingual, speaking both English and/or Spanish.
Please to stop by and discover for yourself why this Columbus Wireless company is growing so explosively. Their hospitality and friendliness are genuinely unparalleled – – – and E&G’s prices are amazingly competitive! See the story about Gracie Carreon’s entreprenuerial success story under our “INSIGHTS” Column (found under right side bar menu under “MORE TO SEE“).
ELITE AUTO CARE – TOYOTA Factory Trained – Master Diagnostics Specialist – 30 Years TOYOTA Experience – Specializing in LEXUS, TOYOTA & SCION – 4451 Edgar Park Ave., El Paso, TX – Tel: 915.757.3500 – ELITE has customers from Las Cruces, Deming and Columbus, as well as West Texas. Their Facebook rating is five out of five stars! Owned and managed by Mike & Beverly Wilkerson, seen above.
GUTIERREZ ENTERPRISES – Pictured on top is Yoya’s Convenience Market, Gas Station and Splash Car Wash, all locally owned and operated by Salvador “Sal” Gutierrez and family. Not only is Yoya’s Market named in honor of Sal’s wife, but you can often meet her there at this, Deming’s busiest convenience store, working with her friendly staff.
When you need a fast and economical vehicle lube, stop by Thunderlube and Car Wash on Deming’s East side and you’ll find Sal managing this high speed service facility. Yoya’s is located just below the intersection of Florida Street at 1620 South Columbus Road and the Splash Car is adjacent to and immediately South of Yoya’s. To get that speedy vehicle lube, drive East on Pine Street to1900 E. Pine. To make a reservation for your lube work call Sal at 575.544.3918. Yoya’s phone is: 575.546.4109. Sal has another self-serve car wash facility, which is located on the SW corner of Spruce and Pearl Streets near central Deming, in case you’re ready to clean your car or truck and are in that neighborhood. In April of 2015 Sal and Yoya are opening Deming’s newest full service grourmet Mexican Restaurant, a truly exquisitely furnished and elegant upscale facility immediately South of Yoya’s Market and Service Station.
First New Mexico Bank – Columbus Branch – Teresa Molina, Presiden
CEO Teresa observed that, “Our bank opened its doors in 1962, and over the past 49 years we have grown to a total of 37 full-time employees. We have locations in Deming, Columbus and Hatch. Each employee takes great pride in our organization, the services we provide and our ability to meet our customers’ needs. Whether you’ve been our customer for three days or three decades, we’ll treat you the same…just like family.” To reach the main office in downtown Deming, call: 575.546.2691
The First Savings Bank (FSB) of Deming is connected with a number of other FSBs throughout the western United States, with branches in South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona and Colorado. The Bank prides itself in its personal service. Located in central Deming, its friendly staff wants to meet you and show you how it can help meet your banking needs.
The President of First Savings Bank, until early 2019, when he moved back to his hometown of El Paso, Texas, Josh Plascencio, is the current Corporate Secretary, an active Officer on the FASF Executive Committee, and a member of its Board of Trustees.
Commitment is a simple word, but it describes the FSB’s guiding business philosophy. The bank is committed to providing the very best in service and products to its customers and their local communities. The Bank considers itself a part of each community in which it does business and endeavors to take an active interest helping improve and develop each community.
These days, big banks just keep getting bigger, and they tend to know less about you – and your community. The FSB is proud to be a community bank and to be family owned. FSB is strong enough to stand on its own, yet small enough to appreciate the daily details and real-life needs where its employees and staff work and live. First Savings values its customers; offering them personalized attention – which it backs up with full banking services and innovative products. The fact is, the FASB wants to be your bank. It wants to earn your business and handle your banking needs with the attention and respect you deserve.
In keeping with its on-going commitment to deliver convenience and excellence to its customers, the bank welcomes you to its web site on behalf of all its dedicated employees. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us and discover what we can do for you! The Bank is located at 520 S. Gold in downtown Deming, NM and can be reached by phone at: 575.546.2707
FRANCIS AVIATION – Doña Ana County International Jetport – Santa Teresa, New Mexico – Only 20 minutes from El Paso’s Westside, Francis Aviation is in a convenient location, near great shopping, hotels, and restaurants! Francis Aviation provides first-class service to all aviation operations, from business jets to small general aviation aircraft. Address: 8100 Airport Rd., Santa Teresa, New Mexico 88008 – Tel: 575.589.4586
Miller’s Garage – Serving SW NM for over a half century – Gabe Diaz Sr., owner, and Gabe, Jr., are your on site automotive technicians, while founder Art Miller remains close at hand as principal consultant – Miller’s Garage has an extensive automotive reclamation and recycling yard adjacent to its maintenance and repair facility where a broad range of older to antique automotive spare parts can often be found. Whether your car or truck is antique or a most modern computer controlled vehicle, these adept automotive specialists can put it back in good running order. For a competitive repair estimate call Miller’s at: 575.531.2586
MORROW & COMPANY, CPA’s and Financial Planning – 800 West Florida – Deming, New Mexico – Harold and Diane Morrow are pictured above. Harold is a native born Deming resident who has been deeply involved in the community’s affairs since returning from college and his internship to become a Certified Public Accountant. He and his professional staff offer a wide, highly experienced and comprehensive financial portfolio of services, with a renowned friendliness and hospitality towards all their clients, whether personal, business, or agriculturally engaged. Bring your financial problems or work to MORROW & COMPANY for a quick and friendly estimate. Call them at: 575.546.6528
Friends of Pancho Villa State Park – Long active member of the FASF, Todd Montes, the current Postmaster of Columbus, is its President. This park remains the southernmost state park in New Mexico and it offers a broad range of facilities for both short term and long term visitors to this historical corner of the Land of Enchantment. With full and complete RV and camping amenities, the park also presents a modern exhibit hall replete with a wide range of artifacts and other memorabilia from the 1916-17 era of the famed Punitive Expedition led by General “Black Jack” Pershing deep into Mexico. It even presents a full scale replica of the famous “Jenny” airplane that helped make Columbus known as the birthplace of American Air Power. Visit the linked website created by the “Friends of the Park,” a docent group of volunteers dedicated to serve and help educate the public and many visitors to this unique attraction. Call 575.531.2711 for more information.
Patio Cafe – Deming & Columbus NM – Owned & Managed by Terry & Missy Castillo
Patio has two restaurants for your convenience: The above photo shows two views of the downtown Columbus restaurant. The Patio in Deming is located at 1521 Columbus Rd, Deming (on the SE corner of Columbus Rd. and Florida Streets) and in Columbus at 23 Broadway (above) in centralColumbus. Their burgers have become legendary in both Deming and Columbus and their informal ambiance relaxing and enjoyable. For hours and other information you may call them at: 575.546.5990 for Deming and 575.531.2495 for Columbus. Terry Castillo is in charge and serving her popular “Terry’s Burgers” in Deming, while daughter Missy is in charge at the Columbus Patio.
Deming’s homegrown – and owned – popular Supermarket!
We love having you as our customer and appreciate each and every day you choose Peppers to do your shopping. It is our privilege to take care of you, our customer. We know that you want a great Meat Market, the freshest produce, and the products you and your family want and enjoy. It is our job to ensure we provide you with those products and services. And that is why we are here…to take care of you the best we can. Thank you for choosing Peppers as your store. We’re located in the southeast corner of Florida & Columbus Rd. Deming, NM at 812 East Florida Street. Call us: 575.546.3922
The Pink Store – Palomas, Mexico – Only 3 miles South of Columbus, NM
Ivonne Romero (above), who owns The Pink Store with her husband, Sergio, shows off some of her unique collection of Mexican art, personally discovered by Ivonne on her frequent trips throughout her country in search of new indigenous artistry. Internationally known, customers come from all parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even abroad to purchase this one-of-a-kind high quality merchandise. U.S. Tel: 575.545.5206 or Toll Free at 866.474.4299 – Mexico Tel: 011.52.656666.0102
Red Arrow Flight Academy – Dona Ana County International Jetport, NM
Flight Training Team: ( L to R above ) Jim Foster, Flight Instructor (CFI), Mauricio Lopez, Adm. Assistant, and Tomas Peralta, Partner, CEO and CFI, in Operations Office at main hangar. Conveniently Located Only a few miles across the Rio Grande River from West El Paso, Texas – Competitive rates with instructing by highly experienced Flight Instructors in modern well equipped Cessna aircraft. 8063 Airport Rd., Santa Teresa, NM 88008 Tel: 915.449.5065Above is view of the San Jose Market and Lounge in Columbus, New Mexico
Roberto and Isabel Gutierrez, of Columbus, owners of the town’s principle grocery story, the SAN JOSE MARKET & LOUNGE, have just come aboard as Local Business Supporters. Like our own Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, Roberto was born in the city which housed the United State’s first foreign Air Base, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. When still a boy, his parents moved North to the border and sister town to Columbus, Palomas, Mexico where they opened up both the town’s first Pharmacy and then its only Movie Theater. When living in Palomas, young Roberto commuted during school days to classes at the Columbus Elementary School and later to Deming, to attend their High School.
Above, standing behind one of their Grocery Store’s cash registers, are Isabeland Roberto Gutierrez.
Roberto’s wife was born 30 miles North of Columbus, in Deming. They opened up the San Jose Market in downtown Columbus in the 1990’s and in 2005 his cousin (an Architect in Chihuahua City, Mexico) designed a modern new facility on the Southeastern part of downtown Columbus, to which Roberto and Isabel moved their old store. Prior to this big move, Roberto worked full time in Deming as a school teacher, where he taught both Middle and High School, having attended Western NM University, the University of NM and NMSU, in Las Cruces. Roberto specialized in the Earth Sciences. In addition, Roberto ran for and served numerous times on the Columbus City Council. Roberto and his wife are strong supporters of the FASF and are looking forward to its replicated 1916 Flight Line and eventual Aviation Museum which will both be located less than a mile South and East of their store. You’ll find the Market located conveniently along Highway 9 towards El Paso, TX, just near the East side of downtown Columbus. The address is: 401 East Jesus Carreon Avenue, Columbus, NM 88029. Telephone: (575) 531-1234
Sun Valley Hardware bills itself as “The Worlds Largest Hardware Store!” Drop in and see for yourself how extensive and complete their stock of hardware is. You’ll find this popular store conveniently located at the South edge of town at 1700 Columbus Highway, just South of the intersection with Florida Steet. Managed by Bryan Reedy and staffed with a knowledgeable and friendly team, you’ll find this store ready to serve you quicky – and with competitive prices. Check their website by simply clicking on the photo above to find out their hours – and to also search through their convenient on-line catalog – or call them at: 575.544.300. Sun Valley also has popular stores in Hatch, Silver City, Mesilla Park, and Truth or Consequences, NM.
HIGHLY ACCLAIMED AND RENOWNED COLLECTION OF PRE AND WWII AIRCRAFT!
WAR EAGLES AIR MUSEUM – 8012 Airport Road – Dona Ana County International Jetport – Santa Teresa, New Mexico – Only minutes away from west El Paso, Texas! – Pictured in Museum Lobby & Store are ( L to R ): Bob Dockendorf, Executive Director – Esther Juarez, Adminstrative Assistant – George Guerra, Operations Manager – Extensive aircraft collection rates it as one of top Aviation Museums in SW – Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM weekly. To obtain a more detailed and informative insight into this exciting museum’s aircraft and automotive displays, click on the above photo to take you to their own website. Tel: 575.589.2000
Zumwalt’s is a family run enterprise, one that dates back 39 years, when it first began to meet the local automotive needs of this growning Southwest New Mexico city. Started by Delbert Zumwalt, it has grown and prospered in the years since it first opened its doors. Now managed by its current owner, Lonnie Zumwalt, pictured at far right above, the founder’s son, it is now staffed by two of his daughters, Chelsea pictured above, and Lindsi, as well as by his son, Chad, on the left above. Even Lonnie’s brother, Dwight, in the light blue shirt above, plays a vital role in the business’ daily operation. This family operated facility has steadily grown as the result of its attention to detail and by way of its personal and family oriented interest in each of its loyal customers, who have continued to return, year after year, whenever their vehicle has needed the renown Zumwalt personal touch. Please drop in, if you’re not already a steady customer, and see for yourself why this family enterprise has gained such a remarkably outstanding record for exemplary service at economically competitive prices. If your problem is with a car or truck, large or small, foreign or domestic, Zumwalt’s has the highly trained and skilled technicians you’ll need to help bring your vehicle back to dependability. Below is the Zumwalt main facility, conveniently located near central Deming.
Zumwalt’s Garage and Collision Center, 520 E. Spruce Street, Deming, NM 88030: Lonnie Zumwalt, Owner. Telephone 575.546.8861 – Zumwalt’s provides all categories of automotive service, including wheel alignment, transmission overhaul, and body restoration services. Conveniently located only five blocks East of downtown central Deming.