Pancho Villa attack on border town 100 years ago led to large-scale Guard mobilization

Soldiers from one of the Norfolk, Virginia artillery batteries take time out from training for a picture while serving on the Mexican border. (Photo Courtesy 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery)

Soldiers from one of the Norfolk, Virginia artillery batteries take time out from training for a picture while serving on the Mexican border. (Photo Courtesy 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery)

As Virginia’s Citizen Soldiers and Citizen Airmen continue to deploy overseas to defend the ideals of freedom, the Virginia National Guard is reminded of an earlier deployment caused by an attack on U.S. soil and citizens one hundred years ago this week. On March 9, 1916, Francisco “Pancho” Villa and several hundred of his followers attacked Columbus, New Mexico, seeking to further his revolutionary cause.

Without warning they began to burn the town and kill innocent citizens, and only the quick reaction of U.S. Army Soldiers drove off the raiders before there were even more casualties. This attack set off a chain of events that ultimately led the President to mobilize the National Guard for service on the Mexican border.

Shortly thereafter some four thousand Virginians and Guards Soldiers from forty-six other states and the District of Columbia were protecting the border while Gen. John Pershing led his Regular Army forces after the Columbus raiders. When the Guard’s mission was complete, they returned to their home states but were soon called again to the colors as the United States was about to enter the First World War.

Read more about the attack on History.com:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pancho-villa-attacks-columbus-new-mexico