COLUMBUS, N.M. — As you drive into this dusty little village just three miles north of the Mexican border, you wouldn’t guess that a bloody event here would have affected a world war and kept the town’s name in the history books for more than a hundred years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Just before dawn on March 9, 1916, Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa ordered his troops to attack the sleeping town. It was a mistake; Villa was defeated in less than two hours.
But the U.S. military’s quick response made Columbus the first test of the fledgling American air force and contributed to Germany’s defeat in World War I.
“This is the last time the United States was attacked by a foreign power — with boots on the ground,” said Annette Schneider, a volunteer at the Columbus Historical Society’s museum in the old railroad depot, one of the few buildings that remains from the time of the raid.