Tag Archives: Deming Headlight

RAID DAY COMMITTEE MEETS TO PLAN FOR MARCH 9, 2019

L to R: Background are Bill Armendariz – Editor in Chief of the Deming Headlight newspaper, Maria Jimenez of Casas Grandes, Mexico, and Alma Villezcas, FASF Treasurer; in forground are (L to R)  July McClure, FASF Aerodrome Editor and John Read retired Mgr. of Pancho Villa State Park.  Before his retirement last month, John made all the arrangements for the upcoming RAID DAY events at the local New Mexico State Park.

This past Friday, key members of the 2019 Raid Day Planning Committee met at the famous Palomas, Mexico “PINK STORE” (longtime commercial suporter of the FASF!) to discuss the upcoming annual RAID DAY event in Columbus.  The below photos capture most of the participants.

The majority of the group are all long time active members of the FASF.

This year the memorial event, which commemorates the disasterous raid on the town of Columbus, NM, by Mexican Revolutionary General Francisco “Pancho” Villa, a tragedy which took the lives of some 18 innocent Americans, will fall on a Saturday, March 9th.

Some 1500 of the Villistas (as Villa’s troops became known) attacked the sleeping village under cover of darkness that fateful day.  In response to this attack, then US President Wilson ordered US Army General “Black Jack” Pershing to organize the “Punitive Expedition” as a means of capturing or destroying Villa in retaliation for the attack.  It was this Expeditionary force that gave rise to the first US Military deployment in sustained combat circumstances of two new weapons: The Airplane and the Motorized ground vehicle.

Thus, the incident saw the launching of the World’s Greatest Air Power in the small rural community of Columbus, NM.   There will be many events taking place on RAID DAY, from public historical presentations at both Pancho Villa State Park and at the Columbus Library.

FASF President, Ric Lambart, will conduct a slide and video presentation at the Library at 9:30 AM entitled “How Pancho Villa Saved the United States.”  Three historian experts on the Raid will make their presentations starting at 1:00 PM at the Pancho Villa State Park Recreation Hall.

The traditional RAID DAY Cabalgata Binacional, where horsemen (and women) from deep in Mexico ride into Columbus to join with hundreds of American riders, coming down from the North, will begin to enter the Village Plaza at approximately 11:00 AM.

The Columbus Historical Society (CHS), under the leadership of local Historian, Richard Dean (whose grandfather was one of the civilians killed by the Villistas), will also hold its own traditional solemn Memorial Service at the Society’s Depot Museum at 10:00 AM.

The joining of the Mexican and American riders is an annual gesture of the peace and goodwill now in effect between the two nations.  All throughout the town, there will be vendors supplying Mexican and American food.  There will also be entertainment by local musicians, such as the FASF’s own July McClure, along with Mariachi bands, and traditional Mexican folkloric dancers.  There will be much to see at this always well-attended event.

    In background (L to R),, John Read discussing plans with July McClure and Headlight Editor, Bill Armendariz.

L to R above: John Read speaking with (standing) Raul Martinez, Cabalgata Parade Marshall and CEO of the Pancho Villa Development Corporation.  The Pink Store waiter is speakiong to Norma Gomez, RAID DAY and CABALGATA EVENT organizer and Columbus Chamber of Commerce Secretary.  July McClure is enjoying her lunch and Bill Armendariz gets some event information from Norma.

The above photo of the planners was taken by Bill Armendariz.  L to R: Ric Lambart John Read, Raul Martinez, July McClure, Norma Gomez, Alma’s visiting guest from her homw down in Mexico, Sra. Maria Jimenez and Alma Villezcas in the foreground.

FAS Editor, July McClure, Gets CFD & FASF Awards for Service

 Capt. July McClure

Chief Andres Ramos

Long time Editor of the First Aero’s Aerodrome Newsletter, July McClure, (at left) made two home runs yesterday at the Columbus Fire Department’s Annual Open House event.  The two awards caught July by complete surprise, which made the recognition that much more special.  Fire Chief, Andres Ramos (at right), presented July with a special award in appreciation of her continuous thirty-three (33!) years of volunteer service with the Fire Department and community of Columbus, New Mexico. July is a Captain in the Columbus Fire Department.

The Fire Department facilities are just West of the  historic 1916 First Aero Squadron Airfield.

Next it was the FASF’s turn, as this writer had the honor and privilege of presenting July with a special FASF Recognition (for volunteer service) Certificate of Appreciation for her years of work as both the Editor-in-Chief of the Aerodrome Newsletter, and for her role as official Recorder of Board of Trustee Meetings, not to mention her hours of work at various public events helping the FASF staff its exhibition booths.   July is a woman of diverse talents, one with which Columbus has been blessed for well over thirty-five years. 

Born in Washington, DC, of parents who were both professional musicians, and whose Dad, Jimmy,  was also a US Naval Aviator, she was then was raised in Colorado, where she went on to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology.  But the call of entertainment was too strong, and she quickly joined a cross-country touring orchestra as both an instrumentalist and vocalist, which included a gig in a West Coast radio comedy show. 

When she later married, and moved to Columbus, her profession changed to that of a Journalist, where she ended up  working as a full time staff reporter for both the Deming Headlight Newspaper and the Desert Winds Magazine. 

However, Ms. McClure never lost either her interest in acting – or music – continuing her second career as an actor, appearing at least once almost every year in various theatrical productions.  July also owns the esteemed Tumbleweed Theater in downtown Columbus, and regularly performs as a musician across SW New Mexico, most often as a member of the Spring Canyon band, which features Dev Olliver of Columbus and Paul Smith of Deming..

She often joins up with other local entertainers such as Bud and Jeane Canfield  (Bud is one of the First Aero Advisors) and Deborah  (“Dev”) Olliver, who’s photos of July from yesterday appear below.  Dev, herself, is in another of yesterday’s photos, seen chatting with Columbus’ new Mayor, Bruce D’Salas.  July has also served a number of times as an elected member of the Columbus City Council and consistently remains active in area politics.  The following photos depict yesterday’s Open House Events at the Columbus Fire Station facilities.    

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                                   July, as left, opens her FASF Achievement Award as Ric Lambart looks on.

FASF Award for Oustanding Echievement given  July McClure at Columbus Public Event on May 5, 2018

                                      Ric reads the Award’s Inscription to the audience as July looks on.

L to R above: Captain July McClure, trying to read the Fire Department’s Award Inscription as Former Fire Chief, Pablo Montoya, looks on and Presenter, Fire Chief Andres Ramos, reads the Award’s text to the crowd.

                                           Captain McClure proudly shows the Award to the audience.

The Emergency Air Ambulance Helicopter landed on the City Baseball Field across from the Fire Station so the public could tour it up close.

View of one of entrances to the Fire Station – Below the Blue Canopy seen through the doorway, is where some of the volunteer Fire Fighters worked over the grill to prepare the event’s barbeque main course.

View of some of the many pies and cakes prepared by the public, which were auctioned off to the highest bidders as a way to raise money for the Fire Fighters.

The Emergency Native Air Ambulance flight Crew enjoys the event’s food: At left is Teresa Nystrom, Flight Paramedic; center is Billi McNary, Flight Nurse, and the Helicopter’s Pilot, Manny Garcia, is at right.  Their Air Ambulance Helicopter is stationed at the Deming Airport.  Their presence at the Volunteer festivities was courtesy of NATIVE AIR AMBULANCE, an AIR METHODS COMPANY.

Part of the crowd of visitors.

More of the guests enjoy their meals.

Additional visitors arrive and search for dining table space.

L to R: New Columbus Mayor, Bruce D’Salas chats with FASF Photographer, Dev Olliver.

L to R above: Chief Ramos watches as Battalian Chief, Walter Simpson (who also received a Service Award), cuts into the Fire Department Cake, and Captain McClure and Assistant Fire Chief, Pablo Montoya, also look on.