“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Columbus in Luna County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)

First Aero Squadron Airfield

First Aero Squadron Airfield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, December 26, 2018
1. First Aero Squadron Airfield Marker

The 1st Aero Squadron is the U.S. military's oldest aviation unit, created on March 5, 1913. In 1916 the squadron, which comprised 8 airplanes, 11 pilots, and 34 enlisted men, became the first U.S. Army air combat unit. As a response to Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho” Villa's attack on Columbus, New Mexico, General John J. Pershing ordered the squadron to fly reconnaissance sorties from Columbus airfield on March 15, 1916.

The squadron, flying Curtiss JN-3, known as Jennys, flew 540 sorties from March 1916 to January 1917. Jennys were used for aerial reconnaissance and photography and for delivering mail and official dispatch from airfields in Columbus and Casas Grandes, Mexico. Presently designated as the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, the squadron is the oldest continuously active unit in the U.S. Air Force. Extant buildings dating from Villa's raid and Pershing's military response are located in nearby Pancho Villa State Park and the Village of Columbus and Camp Furlong National Historic Landmark district.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Air & Space
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Location. 31° 49.733′ N, 107° 38.3′ W. Marker is in Columbus, New Mexico, in Luna County. Marker is on Abandoned Railroad (Route 9), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Columbus NM 88029, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. In Memory of Citizens Killed / In Memory of Thirteenth Cavalry (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Southern Pacific Railroad Depot (about 600 feet away); Pancho Villa State Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Last Hostile Action by Foreign Troops (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Pancho Villa State Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Pancho Villa’s Raid (approx. 0.3 miles away); Columbus (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Columbus (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
Regarding First Aero Squadron Airfield. The text for the reverse of the marker is from news reports of the marker's placement, May 2019.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on November 11, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide view photo of the marker and the surrounding area together in context. • A closeup photo of the marker's reverse. • Can you help?
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Mar. 2, 2021