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Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

Article about: Hello all, the objects pictured in this thread were removed from the mentioned sight below many years ago. In fact, when they were unearthed, the area was forgotton to history and badly over

  1. #11

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    Quote by CThomas View Post

    There's nothing more than I like actually digging up these fascinating pieces of history. That's wonderful that you have the history behind where they were found.

    I thought you'd like to see this auction which shows how the above saddle shield was used:

    MCclellan army saddle world war 1 used in good shape - eBay (item 130321610438 end time Aug-04-09 18:47:22 PDT)

    If it doesn't work, just search for item #130321610438

    Very cool, thanks Chuck.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]

  2. #12

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    It is fun to see your finds.

  3. #13

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    Quote by SteveR View Post
    It is fun to see your finds.
    Thanks Steve, I enjoy sharing these items with others very much.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]

  4. #14

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    Been a while since this one was at the top...
    Last edited by Steven M; 12-12-2009 at 05:30 AM.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]

  5. #15

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    You guys have got to see the above thread link. The Guidon for the First Aero Squadron based in Texas City...more rare than the 1913 Military Aviator Badge, a military aviation item that I never thought would be surpassed in rarity and historic significance.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]

  6. #16

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    Very cool !!!!!!

  7. #17

    Default Re: Stateside Ground Dug Objects from Historic Airfield, Pre-WWI 1st. Aero Sqdn. Texas City, Texas

    Some more very interesting history of our nations first aviation sqdn...enjoy.


    Even though the Wright Brothers made mankind’s first powered heavier than air flight, the development of military aviation in the United States was slow. One of its pioneers was Benjamin D. Foulois, who commanded the US Army’s Signal Corps’ 1st Aero Squadron during the hunt for Pancho Villa in northern Mexico during 1916. This story of the use of aircraft in conjunction with ground troops was recorded daily by Capt. Foulois, who maintained a detailed personal diary with maps of the flights. Even more remarkable are the photographs of this event, part of the Vernon L. Burge Collection from the Airman Memorial Museum. During the deployment of the 1st Aero Squadron, Sgt. Burge took photographs of the squadron’s aircraft, preserving this historical event.

    Beginning in 1911, Mexico’s internal political instability overflowed toward the southern border of the United States. During the summer of 1911, President William Howard Taft authorized the US Army to transfer additional troops to the southwest, garrisoned at San Antonio, Texas. Political and military unrest continued to grow inside Mexico, coming to an outbreak in April 1914. United States Marines and Navy sailors seized the Mexican port of Veracruz to prevent a German merchant transport from unloading its cargo of arms and ammunition, thus enforcing a foreign arms embargo on Mexico. By the end of April 1914, a force of 8000 American troops was in Mexico, stationed in and around Veracruz. But, it was the raid by Pancho Villa (who was leading a revolution against General Venustion in Mexico City) from a base of operations in northern Mexico, against the city of Columbus, New Mexico, on the night of 8 March 1916 that sparked heavy American reaction.

    In November 1910, the Mexican Revolution began in the state of Chihuahua as poor peasants became frustrated with the high cost of food and continued mistreatment by rich landowners. This anger had been building for many years and it finally just erupted into violence. The revolutionaries quickly organized and elected their military leaders.

    Pancho Villa was voted as a First Commander and led a force of 28 men. Villa was then 32-years-old, with much experience leading men who had but one goal in mind – victory. Villa also had the reputation of being one of Mexico’s best gunfighters. One of his friends later said, “His gun was more important to him than eating and sleeping.”

    Villa was also known to not drink, smoke, or take any kind of drug. He was known as a ruthless man whose anger could turn into a raging fury. Villa was loyal to the men he respected and trusted. However, if he was betrayed, he would instantly try and sentence the culprit all in one action.

    Villa was quickly recognized as a guerrilla fighter and, shortly into the war, would become one of the most important military leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He was the first revolutionary leader to defeat regular government soldiers. Villa’s contingent soon numbered nearly 500 as his men continually won battles.

    By 1913, Villa led a revolutionary force of about 3000 troops which was known as Division del Norte. They were known for their strong cavalry charges and Villa began to successfully attack at night which seriously damaged the morale of the federal troops.

    Villa was a strong leader who made his presence known to all. He was known to surprise his men and sit down at one of the campfires where they were preparing food. He would ask if he could join them and then sat down alongside and eat whatever they had. This made him very popular among the troops and also insured he would not be poisoned.

    The battle for Torreon was to make Villa a national leader. He had sent in 16,000 revolutionary soldiers who attacked night and day. The fighting included much hand-to-hand combat and the federal leaders withdrew about 4000 troops and replaced them with 6000 fresh ones, but they soon became weary and feared the night attacks. After ten days and nights of engagement, Villa’s fighters were rejoicing in their apparent victory as the federal army withdrew to the south.

    The battle of Zacatecas would be known as the largest and bloodiest battle during the revolution. Villa had brought in about 12,000 troops and the federal force had an equal number. Villa’s troops began shelling the town from all directions. Cannon shells rocked the town and as the cannons slowed their barrage, some civilians and soldiers came out from behind their shelter only to be hit by a hail of bullets. Reports later said that about 20,000 rifles were showering the town at the same time. In the end, 6000 federal troops had been killed along with a large number of civilians while Villa lost 1000 revolutionaries.

    Villa continued his victorious assaults against the federal troops for several more years but he was going to taste a major defeat in Celaya against Obregon in April 1915. He had two major problems, First, he did not have reinforcements prepared but, if he had, he did not have sufficient ammunition to continue fighting.

    There were actually two battles at Celaya. The first had Villa using his cavalry charges of the past. This proved disastrous as Obregon was prepared for charges on horseback and on foot and fought hard to repel the Villaistas some 40 different times. Obregon’s machine guns kept spraying the revolutionaries and they finally fell back when Obregon ordered his bugler to sound retreat for the Villaistas. They fell for the trick and abandoned their positions.

    This gave Obregon time to prepare for a second battle and the federal troops set up barbed wire fences, filled irrigation ditches with water, and hid 6000 cavalry soldiers in a nearby forest. Villa and his men were overconfident and did no scouting of the area. This proved to be a fatal error as the irrigation ditches slowed the Villaistas and the machine guns had target practice. The barbed wire fences also did their job by slowing more soldiers and then the hidden cavalry attacked.

    Villa’s troops just ran off – humiliated and leaving 32 cannon and 3000 dead. Another 6000 had been captured along with 1000 of their horses. Obregon asked the Villaista officers to identify themselves, promising none would be hurt. One hundred and twenty officers stepped forward and were immediately shot.

    Badly beaten, Villa and his forces retreated to northern Mexico where his army financed themselves by stealing cattle herds in northern Mexico and selling them north of the border where he found plenty of American businessmen willing to sell him guns and bullets. Faced with a sluggish economy, Villa issued his own currency and if merchants refused to take it, they risked being shot.

    Oddly, Villa became somewhat of a folk hero in the US and Hollywood filmakers and newspaper photographers headed south to record his battles – many of which were staged for the cameras.

    At this time, Villa began to think that President Wilson had aided Obregon in his defeat of the rebel leader. He then began formulating a plan that would result in a very serious mistake.

    On 8 March 1916, Pancho Villa and about 400 of his men arrrived about four miles from Columbus, New Mexico. The force was preparing to attack the small American town and why Villa had chosen this small town is still a topic for historical debate. The town had a garrison of about 600 soldiers and was also the home of Sam Ravel, a man to whom Villa had given money to buy arms. Ravel never delivered the weapons nor returned Villa’s money.

    Before the attack, Villa told his men the reasons he had decided to attack Columbus. He said the Carranza government had practically sold Mexico to the Americans. He also mentioned how the USA had been given the power to name three Mexican cabinet members. However, all this meant very little to Villa’s illiterate soldiers.

    One of Villa’s top officers, Pablo Lopez, put it in plain terms: “We want revenge against the Americans,” he yelled out. Lopez said the Americans were responsible for their defeat at Agua Prieta and Celaya. He accused the Americans of allowing the Carrancistas to travel across the USA to reinforce their garrison. Villa added another serious accusation, stating that the USA had sold them defective weapons and ammunition.

    The clincher though was an act that had taken place two days earlier in El Paso, Texas. Some 20 Mexicans had been arrested by the local police and they were then soaked in kerosene to delouse them. Someone set fire to the men. It was never proven whether the fire was an accident or not. However, all 20 Mexicans were burned alive and Villa’s soldiers were now ready to take on the entire American Army.

    At 0445, Villa’s men rode into Columbus, firing into the Army barracks and catching the American soldiers by surprise. Another group later rode into town shooting into houses and at any civilian that came out. The Villaistas then charged into a hotel and killed four guests. Villa had stayed on the Mexican side of the border with a small group of his men. Meanwhile, his raiders were looking for Ravel but he had left town for a scheduled appointment with a dentist in El Paso.

    The Army soldiers regrouped and began firing at the Villaistas and at 0730, a Villaista bugler sounded the retreat. The Americans mounted their horses and took off after the attackers. Shooting and attacking, they chased the Villaistas five miles into Mexico where they met strong resistance and retreated back to Columbus. Over 100 Villaistas had been killed along with 17 Americans, mostly civilians.

    However, Pancho had made history – this was only the second military attack on American soil since the War of 1812. The day following the Columbus raid, President Wilson stated to Congress that he was sending Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and 5000 troops to get Villa. Within two weeks, Pershing and his Punitive Expedition had travelled about 350 miles into Mexico and, because of the difficult nature of the terrain; it was decided to use aircraft to help in the task – the first American military use of the airplane.

    The vast rugged area of northern Mexico required aerial reconnaissance to coordinate the movement of Army troop columns that crossed the border into Mexico, attempting to locate and capture Pancho Villa. After the 1912 Connecticut War Games, the Army recognized the need for a standardized aircraft which had more capabilities than the earlier pusher biplanes. The Army published specifications for an improved combat aircraft:

    1) Two-seat tractor biplane.

    2) Dual-control system.

    3) A maximum speed of 40-mph.

    4) When operating at maximum speed, a four-hour airborne endurance was required.

    5) Streamlined fuselage.

    6) Frictionless controls.

    7) A positive driven fuel pump to eliminate the need to locate the fuel tank above the engine.

    8 ) Tachometer.

    9) An engine which could be rapidly removed and replaced.

    10) The aircraft had to be able to be assembled by four mechanics in two-hrs.

    11) The aircraft had to be able to be disassembled by four mechanics in 1.5-hrs.

    The Glenn Curtiss Aeroplane Company was awarded a contract to build eight JN-2 biplanes, which were later upgraded to the designation of JN-3, and had a longer upper wing retrofitted to the aircraft.

    On 10 March 1916, the Army Signal Corps was ordered to deploy aircraft to support Gen. John J. Pershing (Commander, Punitive Expedition to Mexico) in northern Mexico. However, the number of aircraft deployed was considerably below what Army aviators believed to be adequate to maintain air operations. This was from observations from aerial operations being conducted in Europe:

    1) An operational combat squadron required a minimum of twelve aircraft.

    2) Twelve aircraft should be deployed to a holding airfield, located within easy flying distance of the forward or combat airfield, ready to fly forward replacement aircraft, replacing those lost in aerial combat, destroyed during landing, or declared non-repairable after landing.

    3) A second group of twelve aircraft should be held further behind the front lines, in a reserve operational status.

    Captain Benjamin D. Foulois, 1st Aero Squadron commander, based on his flying experiences at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, believed up to one half of a squadron’s aircraft, especially in the rugged American southwest and northern Mexico, would not be operational on any given day.

    On 12 March, the 1st Aero Squadron’s aircraft were flown from the aviation field at San Antonio to Fort Sam Houston. The pilots assigned were:

    Captain Benjamin D. Foulois

    Captain Townsend F. Dodd

    Lieutenant Joseph E. Carberry

    Lieutenant Thomas S. Bowden

    Lieutenant Carleton G. Chapman

    Lieutenant Herbert A. Dargue

    Lieutenant Edgar S. Gorrell

    Lieutenant Walter G. Kilner

    Lieutenant Ira A. Rader

    Lieutenant Robert H. Willis

    Each aircraft was unarmed, but loaded with the aircrews’ personnel equipment and standard fuel load. Once they landed at Fort Sam Houston, the aircraft were disassembled, loaded into wooden crates, and then into railroad cars for transport to Columbus. The train carried ten motor trucks (one Peerless 5-ton, one Wichita 1.5-ton, one Republic .75-ton and seven Jeffrey Quad 1.5-ton four-wheel drive trucks). The Jeffrey Quad was selected as the standard motor truck for the 1st Aero Squadron. A wooden bed was added to these trucks and a canvas cover top. One of the trucks was modified to perform the role of a mobile machine shop to fabricate spare parts for the aircraft when away from a source of supply. The train transported the eight crated aircraft, six motorcycles, eleven officers, 82 enlisted, one civilian aircraft mechanic, two hospital corpsmen, one engineering officer and 14 enlisted engineers. At El Paso, rations were loaded onto the train along with two Reo 1.5-ton trucks. The train arrived at Columbus on 15 March at 0640.

    The airplanes were unloaded from the train and moved by truck to a field east of Columbus. The first aircraft assembled was aircraft number 43 which was flown on a test flight shortly thereafter for twelve minutes. General Pershing was impressed with the 1st Aero Squadron’s motorized trucks used for logistic support. Eventually his command obtained 300 motorized trucks for operations in northern Mexico. This was first time the Army used large numbers of heavy motorized trucks for supply train operations rather than mules or horse pack trains. By 16 March, all of the 1st Aero Squadron’s eight aircraft had been assembled at Columbus. Aircraft number 44, piloted by Capt. Dodd with Capt. Foulois as observer, completed a 51-minute reconnaissance flight over a distance of approximately 20 miles across the border into northern Mexico. Future air operations were to be conducted in the rugged areas of Mexico.

    On 19 March, the 1st Aero Squadron was ordered to deploy to Casas Grandes. The ground echelon departed first, followed by the pilots in their aircraft.

    Aircraft 44, 45, 48 and 53 landed at Las Ascencion at 1830. The remaining three aircraft landed separately (aircraft 42, 43 and 53), but the whereabouts of their landings were unknown to the squadron. On 20 March, at 0816, the four aircraft took off from Las Ascension. Once airborne, the crews looked for the three aircraft along their flight route, but were unable to locate them, landing at Neuva Casas Grandes at 0935. Aircraft 43 eventually landed at Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 42 followed aircraft 43, also landing at Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 43, which had to make a forced landing 20 miles short of Las Ascencion, arrived at Colonia Dublan at 0800. This left aircraft 41 and 42 unaccounted.

    General Pershing immediately put the 1st Aero Squadron to work. Aircraft 44, piloted by Capt. Dodd with Capt. Foulois as observer, took off from Colonia Dublan at 1200, flying south for a distance of 25 miles, skirting the Sierra Madre Mountains, unable to gain sufficient altitude to clear the mountains, turning back and landing at 1300. On this date, the 1st Aero Squadron suffered its first aircraft loss. Aircraft 48 piloted by Lt. Bowen, while flying to Neuva Casas Grandes, lost control during landing at Colonia Dublan, damaging the aircraft sufficiently to be written-off.

    On 21 March, the fate of aircraft 41 was determined. Lieutenant Willis walked into Colonia Dublan at 0100. he reported that on 20 March, he landed five miles south of Pearson, badly damaging the aircraft. When a 1st Aero Squadron ground echelon recovery team travelled to the aircraft, only the engine remained, the airframe had been destroyed by local Mexicans. After their initial forward deployment, the 1st Aero Squadron’s strength had been reduced by 25 percent – down to six aircraft. Aircraft 44, piloted by Capt. Dodd with Capt. Foulois as observer, took off from Colonia Dublan at 0836, landing at Calera Lopena at 0927, delivering dispatches; taking off from there at 1055 and landing back at Colonia Dublan at 1155. They had to fly down the valleys because the JN-3′s performance was degraded by the elevations of 6000- to 7000-ft, with the height of the Cumbre Pass at 9000-ft (beyond their aircraft’s capability), along with the high day time temperatures and gusting winds.

    On 22 March, two aircraft were sent up for reconnaissance, both taking off at 0700. Aircraft 44, piloted by Capt. Dodd with Lt. Christie as observer, along with aircraft 53, piloted by Lt. Chapman, conducted a reconnaissance south to the northern end of the Cumbre Pass tunnel. These two aircraft were carrying dispatches to Army troops in that area – if they could be located – and were to land and pickup dispatches for Gen. Pershing. They were told to fly into the mountains as far as possible, but not to take extraordinary risks. The two aircraft encountered terrific up and down drafts, along with whirlwinds, frequently driving the planes to within 25-ft of the ground. They were unable to climb high enough to get over the mountains, forcing their return to Colonia Dublan, landing at 0910. At 0720, aircraft 42, piloted by Lt. Kilner with Lt. Rader as observer and aircraft 45, piloted by Lt. Carberry took off from Colonia Dublan, landing at El Valle, after locating the column commanded by Col. Dodd, returning at 1035. Aircraft 43, piloted by Lt. Dargue, took off from Colonia Dublan at 0800, flying the route of Pacheco Colonia Juraez-Pearson, attempting to locate aircraft 52, landing back at Colonia Dublan at 0945. Later on this day, Lt. Gorrell, the pilot of aircraft 52 walked into a column of Army troops operating at Ojo Federico.

    The JN-3′s performance was not up to the task of aerial operations in Mexico, forcing Capt. Foulois to send a message to the War Department requesting more capable aircraft which could fly with a maximum altitude capability of 18,000-ft. He requested the delivery of two Curtiss R-2s, each powered by a 160-hp engine; two Thomas aircraft, each powered by a 135-hp engine; two Sloane aircraft, each powered by a 125-hp engine; two Martin S aircraft, each powered by a 125-hp engine; and two Sturtevant aircraft, each powered by a 140-hp engine. The request was denied.

    On 23 March, aircraft 45 piloted by Lt. Carberry, aircraft 53 piloted by Lt. Chapman, and aircraft 44 piloted by Lt. Christie, took off from Colonia Dublan at 0800, flying south into the Galeana Valley, looking for Col. Dodd’s troops. However, a heavy storm made it impossible to return to their operating base. On this date, Lt. Gorrel finally made it to Colonia Dublan at 1200 but was forced to abandon aircraft 52 at Ojo Federico. It was not until 25 March that the storm and its high winds let up. Aircraft 43, piloted by Lt. Dargue, took off from Colonia Dublan at 0600, landing at Columbus carrying dispatches at 0800. The aircraft had to be flown to the main supply base to replace its under-powered engine with the more capable OXX. Aircraft 45 and 53 made it back to Colonia Dublan at 1100, after taking off from El Valle. On 26 March, aircraft 42, piloted by Lt. Chapman with Capt. Dodd, carrying a replacement skid for aircraft 44 (damaged during landing because of the high winds), landed near 44 allowing it to be repaired. Captain Dodd got airborne in 44 along with aircraft 42 for the return flight to Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 52 was also repaired, taking off from Ojo Federico and landing at Colonia Dublan. In an effort to protect the remaining six aircraft, Capt. Foulois requested a change be made in the way they were to be deployed. General Pershing approved the request.

    Upon the establishment of effective radio telegraph communication between Namiquipa and Neuva Casas Grandes, the following was recommended:

    1) Discontinue the use of airplanes between Namiquipa and Neuva Casas Grandes, except in emergencies.

    2) Continue the aero communications between Namiquipa and El Valle, if radio-telegraph, motorcycles, or other means fail.

    3) Concentrate all available airplanes at Namiquipa for daily communication between Namiquipa and advanced troops.

    4) If communication between Namiquipa and El Valle is of secondary importance only, and can be maintained by radio telegraph, motorcycle, or other means of communication, the use of airplanes between these two points should also be discontinued, and every available aeroplane concentrated at Namiquipa for the purpose of maintaining communication south of Namiquipa.

    On 27 March, aircraft 42 flown by Lt. Kilner with Lt. Rader as observer, took off from Colonia Dublan to El Valle. Aircraft 43, piloted by Lt. Dargue flew from Columbus to Colonia Dublan carrying mail and dispatches. Aircraft 44 flown by Capt. Dodd travelled from El Valle to Colonia Dublan. The JN-3 went through a complete maintenance field overhaul. Aircraft 45, piloted by Lt. Carberry, flew from Colonia Dublan to Columbus carrying mail and dispatches and to have a new OXX engine installed. Aircraft 53 with Lt. Gorrell flew from Colonia Dublan to Columbus for maintenance, so that a new lower left wing could be installed. Aircraft 53 and Lt. Chapman flew from Colonia Dublan to El Valle, carrying dispatches for Col. Dodd operating in the Galeana Valley. On 28 March, aircraft 43 and Lt. Dargue went from Colonia Dublan to Bachineva; Bachineva to Namiquipa; Namiquipa to Santa Ana; Santa Ana to Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 45 was at Columbus for the installation of an OXX engine. Aircraft 52 remained at Columbus undergoing maintenance as the new lower left wing was installed. Aircraft 53 and Lt. Chapman, flew from El Valle to Colonia Dublan, conducting a reconnaissance while en route.

    On 29 March, aircraft 42 and Lt. Kilner flew from El Valle to Colonia Dublan, carrying mail and dispatches. Aircraft 43 and Lt. Dargue carried mail and dispatches flew from Namiquipa to Colonia Dublan, Colonia Dublan to El Valle, then recovered at Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 45 with Lt. Carberry flew from Columbus to Colonia Dublan with mail and dispatches. Aircraft 53 and Lt. Chapman went from El Valle to Colonia Dublan with mail and dispatches. The 1st Aero Squadron’s aircraft flew up and down Gen. Pershing’s extended lines of communication, but in a limited manner because of just six aircraft. On 30 March, aircraft 43 and Lt. Kilner ventured from Colonia Dublan to El Valle, carrying mail, dispatches, aircraft oil, and 50-lbs of fresh meat while aircraft 52 and Lt. Gorrell, flew from Columbus to Colonia Dublan, carrying mail and dispatches. Aircraft 53 and Lt. Chapman travelled from Colonia Dublan to Namiquipa with mail and despatches.

    On 31 March, aircraft 42 with Lt. Willis flew from El Valle to Colonia Dublan, carrying mail and dispatches. Aircraft 43 and Lt. Dargue went from Colonia Dublan to Namiquipa doing the same. Aircraft 45 with Lt. Carberry and Capt. Foulois as observer lifted off from Colonia Dublan and headed El Valle with mail and dispatches. However, on their return flight, they flew through hail and a snow storm which forced them down at Puerto Escondido. When the weather cleared the two took off, flying onto Espindoleno where they had to land because of heavy rain. They decided to remain overnight.

    On 1 April, aircraft 43 piloted by Lt. Dargue made a forced landing on a mountain plateau because of poor visibility due to a snow storm. Once the storm passed, he took off, landing at Colonia Dublan and then headed to Espindoleno, trying to locate aircraft 45, but his primary task was to pickup Lt. Gorrell (who had traveled there by motorized truck) and return to Colonia Dublan. The ground echelon from the 1st Aero Squadron located aircraft 45, undertook repairs and returned it to flying condition. Aircraft 43 and Lt. Dargue ferried in Lt. Carberry so he could fly aircraft 45 back to Colonia Dublan.

    On 2 April, aircraft 42 and Lt. Christie completed a reconnaissance from El Valle to San Geronimo. Aircraft 44 and Lt. Rader flew a pattern course from Geronimo to Namiquipa, Namiquipa to San Geronimo, San Geronimo to El Valle, returning to Colonia Dublan. Aircraft 52 and Lt. Gorrell, carrying mail and dispatches, flew to San Geronimo and then to Bachineva. After taking off from Bachineva, he conducted an aerial reconnaissance to the east and southeast, and landed back at Bachineva.

    On 6 April, aircraft 43 and Lt. Dargue with Lt. Rader went from Namiquipa to Cusiehuirachic canyon and then onto San Geronimo. The aviators located Col. Brown’s column in the canyon but the terrain was unsuitable for landing. Lieutenant Dargue landing on top of the canyon, connected a parachute to the dispatch bag, took off and flew back over the column, dropping the parachute to the troops below.

    Also on 6 April, the 1st Aero Squadron suffered its third loss when aircraft 44 and Capt. Dodd and Lt. Kilner landed at San Geronimo but fell into a ditch hidden by tall grass. This tore off the landing gear and damaged the lower wings. The squadron sent a ground recovery team to the crash site and they determined the aircraft was beyond repair but salvaged those parts determined to be operational and necessary to keep the remaining five aircraft flying.

    On 7 April, aircraft 43 with Lt. Dargue with Capt. Foulois flew from San Geronimo to Chihuahua City carrying dispatches for the American Consul in the city. Aircraft 45 with Lt. Carberry and Capt. Dodd flew from San Geronimo to Chihuahua City with additional dispatches for the American Consul. Both aircraft reached Chihuahua City at 0820 and 43 landed at the southwest edge of the town with 45 coming down at the north edge of the town. Lieutenant Carberry was fired on by four Rurales at take off. Captain Foulois, after landing, started to walk into town hut heard the gunfire and stopped the Rurales shooting at the aircraft. He was immediately detained and escorted to the city jail. An American in the city noticed the Army officer and Foulois yelled at him to go to the Consul to get help to protect the aviators and their aircraft.

    Captain Foulois was eventually able to contact Col. Miranda, Chief of Staff to Gen. Guitierrz, Military Governor of Chihuahua City. Miranda took Foulois to the general who, in turn, released the American officer. Foulois impressed upon the general the need to send troops to guard and protect the two aircraft outside the city. Foulois and Miranda, with troops, located the three aviators and the aircraft. Before their arrival, Dargue reported that the crowd and local troops began to threaten them. Several burned holes with cigarettes into the lower wings of 43, while others slashed the fuselage fabric with knives, even removing nuts and bolts from both aircraft as souvenirs. It was decided the two planes should be removed as soon as possible before being destroyed by the crowd.

    The aviators selected the American Smelter and Refining Company, six miles to the southeast, as a secure location. Lieutenant Carberry was the first to takeoff in 45, landing safely at the smelter. However, Dargue in 43, took off in a shower of stones thrown by the mob. In the air for only a short while, a top section of the fuselage came loose and tore off, damaging the vertical stabilizer and forcing the pilot to immediately land. He jumped out of the aircraft and pushed back the crowd until the timely arrival of Capt. Foulois and the Mexican troops who secured the aircraft. Captains Foulois and Dodd spent the remainder of the day with the American Consul, arranging for supplies to be sent to the advancing troop columns by Mexican railway transportation. Meanwhile, Dargue and Carberry repaired the damage to their aircraft.

    On 8 April, aircraft 43 with Dargue and Foulois flew from Chihuahua City to San Geronimo, carrying dispatches from the American Consul to Gen. Pershing, reporting what had happened in the city to the aviators as well as the arrangements for sending supplies to his troops. As the Army columns moved further to the south, it was decided to transfer the 1st Aero Squadron’s base of operations from San Geronimo to San Antonio.

    On 11 April, aircraft 42 piloted by Kilner and Rader flew from San Antonio to a point approximately 33 miles east of Satevo, then onto a point five miles west of Satevo. Aircraft 52 and Lt. Chapman flew to Satevo and after landing Chapman was escorted to the commanding officer of the Carranza soldiers. While away from his aircraft, the Mexican soldiers stole field glasses, goggles, ammunition and anything else not attached to the aircraft. Captain Foulois was in the 1st Aero Squadron’s automobile, transporting Gen. Pershing to Satevo. They drove to Carretas and Santa Ysabel, overtaking the 1st Aero Squadron’s train under the command of Capt. Dodd near Guadalupe at 1830. The squadron’s automobile arrived at Satevo at 2100. The main elements of the squadron’s ground echelon arrived at 2300. Dodd reported that the squadron’s ground element had been fired on by a probable Villiasta band of troops near Ciengas, approximately 15 miles north of Satevo but no American causalities were incurred. Squadron personnel returned fire in the direction of the gunfire, immediately silencing the opposition’s attack.

    On 12 April, aircraft 53 and Lt. Chapman conducted a reconnaissance flight to the southeast toward Parral and returned to Satevo, then to point approximately 20 miles south of San Andreas. On the last leg of the flight, Chapman had to make a forced landing due to darkness. The 1st Aero Squadron’s motorized transport was replaced with 21 Jeffrey four-wheel drive trucks. Although new, they proved to be not as reliable as the original trucks.

    On 14 April, aircraft 43 and Lt. Gorrel, completed a reconnaissance flight from Columhus to Boca Grande, Pulpit Pass, Oxaca Pass, Carretas, Janos, Ascension, and back to Columhus. This was an American record for a non-stop cross-country flight carrying a passenger, covering a total distance of 315 miles. The flight was made with the primary purpose of attempting to locate a large Mexican troop force, reported to have hcen moving southeast toward the US Army’s line of communications. Also on this date, the 1st Aero Squadron suffered its fourth aircraft loss – number 52. This aircraft, piloted by Lt. Rader, went from Satevo to Boquillo, near Parral, with dispatches for Col. Brown and Maj. Tompkins. Rader was able to locate Maj. Houze’s command but was forced to land on a rough section of ground, badly damaging the craft. Because he was in hostile country, over 100 miles from the primary operating base and unable to make repairs, Radcr had to abandon the plane. Lieutenant Rader then proceeded with Maj. Houze’s ground column. Aircraft 53, piloted by Lt. Chapman, carried dispatches from San Andreas to San Antonio. Captain Foulois and 14 men from the 1st Aero Squadron’s ground column drove to Chihuahua City from San Antonio and back, carrying dispatches to and from the American Consul. Lieutenant Willis and another ground detachment from the 1st Aero Squadron drove to Parral by automobile, carrying despatches for Col. Brown, who was commanding troops near Parral. At this time, aircraft 42 was dismantled by a recovery team with spare parts loaded into a truck with the remaining sections of the aircraft destroyed. The aircraft’s lower wings were installed on aircraft 45, to replace those damaged in a landing at Chihuahua City on 13 April.

    On 15 April, aircraft 43 with Lts. Dargue with Gorrell flew a reconnaissance mission from Columbus to Boca Grande, Pulpit Pass and Colonia Dublan; Colonia Dublan to Namiquipa; Namiquipa to Satevo. Other aircraft carried mail.

    On 17 April, aircraft 43 with Dargue and Foulois flew from Satevo to San Antonio and Lake Itascate then onto Namiquipa carrying mail and dispatches for the Army division commander in that area. Aircraft number 45 with Carberry and Gorrell flew from Satevo to San Antonio and onto Namiquipa. Captains Dodd and Willis, Lts. Kilner and Christie, and the enlisted men of the 1st Aero Squadron boarded the train and went from Satevo to San Antonio. On 18 April, aircraft 43 with Dargue flew from Namiquipa to San Antonio. Aircraft 45 with Carberry and Gorrell flew from Namiquipa to San Antonio, encountering high winds and dust storms blowing sand and dirt into the air, making it difficult for the pilot to see the ground.

    On 19 April, aircraft 43 with Darguc and Willis went on a reconnaissance from San Antonio to Chihuahua City with the purpose of taking photographs and reconnaissance of roads and approaches to Chihuahua City. The aircraft departed from San Antonio at 0525 and performed the assigned aerial reconnaissance of these roads and areas around Chihuahua City, taking several photographs of the roads and ground approaches to the city. Dargue turned the aircraft, attempting to follow the roads leading west out of the city, through the surrounding hills and mountains, in the direction of San Andreas. While on this part of the mission, the aircraft’s engine started to vibrate and lose power. He attempted to turn around and retrace his course to reach open country where he could land, but the engine failed and heavy down drafts made it impossible to make it to an acceptable landing area. Dargue had to make a landing on the side of a mountain, which had a slope of approximately 45-deg. The aircraft was completely wrecked during landing. Dargue was shaken up, although uninjured. Willis was pinned in the cockpit, both of his feet caught between the engine and fuel tank. He received a severe, scalp wound. The crew burned the, plane to prevent it from being captured by hostile troops. The two aviators with their personal equipment started walking out of the mountains at 0935, heading back to San Antonio which was the nearest US base – a distance of 65 miles. They struggled through the mountains and valleys for two days and nights, suffering from the lack of water and food. They finally reached Sarf Antonio on the morning of 21 April, completely exhausted after 45 hours of continuous walking. Both aviators remained at San Antonio until 23 April, when they were driven by automobile to Namiquipa where they turned in their reports to the Army division commander. Aircraft 45 with Carberry flew from San Antonio to Namiquipa. The remainder of the 1st Aero Squadron’s officers and enlisted men boarded the squadron’s train, traveling from San Antonio to Namiquipa.

    By 20 April, the 1st Aero Squadron was down to two operational aircraft 45 and 53. Aircraft 45 with Carberry and Gorrell flew from Namiquipa to Columbus. Aircraft 53 with Lt. Chapman flew from Namiquipa to Colonia Dublan and then onto Columbus. Captains Foulois and Dodd, Lts. Kilner and Christie, with squadron personnel, traveled by ground from Namiquipa to El Valle, covering a ground distance of 60 miles. On 21 April, squadron personnel departed El Valle at 0730, arriving at Colonia Dublan at 1400, refuelling and topping off the trucks with oil, proceeding north, setting up camp in the evening at Corralitos, covering a ground distance of 75 miles. On 22 April, the squadron ground column departed Corralitos at 0620, arriving at Columbus at 1700, covering a ground road distance of 96 miles. Lieutenant Carberry had to be admitted to the base hospital set up at Columbus, suffering from a severe asthma attack. The 1st Aero Squadron’s remaining two air- craft were destroyed after being declared no longer operational. This ended the 1st Aero Squadron’s operational capabilities, until re-equipped with new aircraft.

    The following is a summary of the operations by the 1st Aero Squadron in northern Mexico:

    1) This was the US Army Signal Corps’ first combat operation with the use of aircraft in conjunction with ground troops. This was not a training exercise or war manoeuvre, but an actual field deployment of nearly all the available Signal Corps aircraft.

    2) The US Army’s deployment into northern Mexico provided the 1st Aero Squadron with valuable combat experience, something not done before, but as the war in Europe continued, this became a real eye-opener.

    3) The 1st Aero Squadron’s mission was communications and aerial reconnaissance. Note, no enemy or Mexican rebel troops were located.

    4) First time operational use of motorized transport for supply and specialized (modified) vehicles for support of aerial operations, instead of the previous or traditional use of horses and mules, standard US Army pack train, until this time.

    5) The 1st Aero Squadron’s operations in northern Mexico identified serious operational deficiencies.

    a) The number of aircraft committed by the Army to support Gen. Pershing’s ground operations were too few to maintain continuous combat operations.

    b) The Curtiss JN-3 was underpowered.

    c) The JN-3 was unsuitable for field operations or combat (unarmed).

    d) The squadron’s organization required to be changed.

    e) Available equipment used to repair the squadron’s aircraft was inadequate.

    f) The Army did not provide sufficient spare parts and supplies to keep the JN-3 operational.

    Brigadier General Pershing reported to the War Department on the performance of the 1st Aero Squadron, which even under the difficulties experienced in northern Mexico, rendered his command most exceptional service: “The personnel of the unit displayed the most commendable spirit, and personal efficiency is of the highest order. Officers have literally taken their lives in their hands without hesitation, although several aviators have had narrow escapes. Unstinting praise for the aviators who had served this expedition is universal throughout the command.” But, aviation was not pressed to the front of the US Army’s tactical thinking. Even when the US entered WWI, the Army’s aviation strength consisted of 65 officers (26 of which were pilots) and 1100 enlisted and technicians. The Army had a total of 299 aircraft, 80 of which were the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, still an unarmed aircraft, nothing to match those being used by the warring nations in Europe.

    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]

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