Pancho Villa Expedition
AKA: Mexican Expedition, American Punitive Expedition. In response to Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, March 9 1916, President Woodrow Wilson directed Major General John "Black Jack" Pershing to take a force (initially, 4,800 men) into northern Mexico to capture Villa. The Expedition, which separated into two major components, operated out of a main base in Casas Grandes Chihuahua; it was the first time U.S. forces used airplanes for reconnaissance and motorized vehicles to move supplies and for scouting. (Notably, a young George S. Patton, with the Expedition, was involved in the first military use of an automobile.) Despite numerous clashes with Villa's forces, the Expedition failed to suppress raids across the border or to capture Villa. After nearly eleven months (March 15 1916 - January 1917) deployed in Mexico, the forces were recalled with America's entry into World War I.