Camp Furlong (1912-1924) - A U.S. Army Mexican Border Camp established in 1912 as Post at Columbus at Columbus, Luna County, New Mexico. Renamed Camp Forlong in 1918. Attacked by the bandit Pancho Villa in 1916. Sporadically occupied after 1918 and then abandoned by 1924.
Established in 1912 as a U.S. Army border camp amid rising tensions along the United States-Mexican border during the Mexican Revolution.
The town of Columbus and the camp were attacked on 9 Mar 1916 by Pancho Villa and about 500 of his men. Villa burned down much of the town but determined resistance from the U.S. soldiers from the camp killed sixty to eighty of the attackers and they retreated back over the border. A machine gun platoon from the 13th U.S. Cavalry under 2nd Lt. John P. Lucas (Cullum 4990) set up its guns under fire in the town square and was credited with inflicting many casualties among the attackers and then driving the rest away.
The raid on Columbus and other towns along the border prompted President Woodrow Wilson to send General John J. Pershing on a punitive campaign into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa and end the raids. The expedition was partially successful but did not capture Villa. President Wilson recalled Pershing back to the United States early in 1917 after an embarrassing defeat at the Battle of Carrizal and because it was clear that the U.S. would have to enter World War I.
Camp Furlong was the site of the first tactical military airfield in the U.S. with the 1st Aero Squadron and Curtiss JN3 Jenny biplanes providing observation and scouting. The post also had supply and repair facilities for the early military trucks used in Mexico. The camp housed more than 5,000 troops at one point. It was discontinued in 1918 but used intermittently until 1924.
Camp Furlong Historic Site and Pancho Via State Park, Columbus, Luna County, New Mexico.
Visited: 29 Oct 2019