In 1916 Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico with his “Villistas”, who were then pursued relentlessly by a punitive expedition in northern Mexico until February 1917.
The story was filled with adventure and intrigue that peaked when a coded German message to the Mexican government was intercepted. It proposed an alliance between Germany and Mexico in the event of a war with the United States.
American neutrality in World War I was shattered. New Mexico’s National Guard then served with distinction in France during 1918, the final year of the war.
As the twentieth century dawned, most of the state’s traditional martial rivalries subsided. Conflicts of the past were replaced with new global wars that tested the resolve of all New Mexicans.