Saturday, May 12, 2007

This Week in Guard History 11 May 2007

May 9, 1916: President Woodrow Wilson mobilizes the National Guard of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to patrol their borders with Mexico as Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing leads an Army expedition into northern Mexico to try to capture or kill the bandit leader Pancho Villa and his group.

In March, Villa and his men raided the town of Columbus, N.M., killing a number of soldiers and civilians before slipping back across the border. Soon these Guardsmen are joined by Guard units from all the states totaling 158,000 men.

While their main mission was to secure the border, the Army used this partial mobilization to train the Guard in large unit formations almost impossible to conduct in normal peacetime exercises for just a few days. This training paid great dividends when America committed its Guardsmen to combat in France during in World War I.
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