The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 454
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
battered old JN-2's were flown to Columbus to be condemned
In the main the serious work of the Ist Aero Squadron had
ended. During the military operations in Mexico, March 13-
August 15, 1916, the squadron completed 540 flights covering
more than 19,ooo miles carrying mail and messages and doing
reconnaissance and photographic work.68 In general, America's
first aviation effort was not entirely successful. This was not be-
cause the young aviators lacked courage and ability, but because
their airplanes failed in mountain and desert operations.84 In
fact, the "Villa expedition," failing utterly in its primary objec-
tive, "exhibited to the world such a lamentable unpreparedness
for war that it encouraged Mexicans of all groups, including
Carranza, to resist American demands, however reasonable."86
The Ist Aero Squadron was based at Columbus, New Mexico,
until August 5, 1917, when it left the border for the European
theater of operation. On May 13-16, 1916, several new pilots
reported to the squadron from the Signal Corps Aviation School
at North Island. The new group included Captain John F. Curry
and Lieutenants Ralph Royce and Roy S. Brown. On July 13-14,
another group-including Lieutenants B. M. Atkison, H. S. Mar-
tin, John B. Brooks, and Carl Spaatz-arrived at Columbus. All
of these newcomers joined the squadron too late to see service
in the Mexican operations.6
When the United States entered World War I in April, 1917,
the Aviation Section, Signal Corps of the Army, consisted of only
sixty-five officers, thirty-five of whom were rated as flying officers,
and only slightly more than one thousand enlisted men. The
Aviation Service, soon to become the Air Service of the Army,
was on the eve of its first period of rapid expansion, and as the
role of air power increased, so did the role of the southwestern
states in military aviation.
83AAF, The Oficial Guide to the Army Air Forces (New York, 1944), 342-343.
64On April 26, 1916, the New York Times carried an article on the delinquencies
of the Curtiss JN's.
65S. F. Bemis, A Diplomatic History of the United States (New York, 1950), 552.
e66Aviation Notebook, 1916, citing National Archives, Monthly Returns, 1st Aero
Squadron; Brief History of First Aero Squadron, AF Library, C 22.32/44.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/480/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.