The deliberate, wanton attack on a defenseless American town by Mexican marauders outraged America. The nation-wide hue and cry forced President Woodrow Wilson to take action. He called out the entire U.S. Army. When he was told by his generals that the U.S. Army alone would not be enough to protect America from the Villistas he called up the entire National Guard! The only National Guard units not sent to patrol the Mexican border were coast artillery units. This was the first time in U.S. history that the National Guard was ever called up without a formal declaration of war.
Within seven days, the United States Army … and the National Guard … were on the move to protect our southern border and to avenge the deaths of fallen American men, women and unborn children.
General John Pershing (assisted by George Patton) acted quickly and amassed hundreds of thousands of troops to guard America’s southwestern border and to fight Pancho Villa. To back up the U.S. Army a total of 158,664 National Guardsmen were called up to protect America from the invaders.
In total numbers this was the largest troop call-up and deployment in the United States since the Civil War. Yes, even the Spanish American War paled by the magnitude of this emergency. Yes, Iraq and Afghanistan have less than half the troops fighting for our freedom as we had along our border to stop the demonstrated threat from the south.
Pershing took just eight thousand — of the hundreds of thousands of American troops now along our border — deep into Mexico and chased Pancho Villa and his men for eleven months. As Pershing seemed to be gaining the upper hand Wilson called off the mission … and the United States entered World War One.
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