Tuesday, February 7, 2017

And so it ended. The Punitive Expedition.

Two days ago we reported on the last US soldier leaving Mexico:

The Punitivie Expedition: U.S. complete its withdrawal from Mexico. February 5, 1917.


The smile on the soldier to the left's face was likely quite genuine.  The 6th and the 16th Infantry crossing back into the United States.

And today is the official end of the Punitive Expedition into Mexico by some accounts.  Why the extra two days?  Well, I'm not sure, but no military operation ever concludes on a precise time.  It seems to me that at one time I had the information on this, but I'm no longer exactly sure what the story was. What I do recall is that most of the troops were over the border well before February 7, and what I think is actually the case, as already noted, is that the last were over the border on February 5, but there was some trailing involvement and actions in regards to the expedition for anot her two days.  We'd expect that.

Which, as already also has been noted, didn't mean that everything just returned to normal, officially or unofficially.  A heavy military presence remained on the border for years, and certainly in 1917 there were real fears about a resumption of Mexican military activity, likely rebel activity, in the United States. The upcoming revelation of the contents of the Zimmerman Note, of course, would make those fears a bit more intense, even as the United States was already using reservist for anti sabotage efforts on the East Coast, with the suspected feared enemy agents being German.

The military itself would officially run the campaign, as it calculated it, from January 1, 1916 to April 6, 1917, concluding it, for purposes of eligibiltiy for hte Mexican Border Service Medal, on the date the United States entered World War One.

Mexican Border Service Medal, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Even at that, however, an ongoing campaign was recognized officially in the form of the Texas Cavalry Medal, honoring two brigades of Texas State Guardsmen who remained in the United States to patrol the border throughout World War One.  

Texas Cavalry Medal.

The men who served in those brigades were otherwise ineligible for the World War One Victory Medal, under the relatively strict criteria for that award, and hence their service to the country was recognized in this fashion for their service from December 8, 1917 to November 11, 1918, the period during which it was determined to leave those units on the border.  The award is unique, being the only one every authorized which was unit specific.

So, while our story hasn't ended, it's certainly taken a turn, and started to wrap up a bit.

How did we do?

No comments: