Aviators Are Superior

By H.D. Jacobs, United Press Staff Correspondent   |   March 20, 1916
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FIELD HEADQUARTERS AMERICAN ARMY NEAR DUBLAN, Mexico, March 30. (By motor train to Columbus, N.M., March 31.)

The experience of American army flyers in Mexico has made them the superior of any aerial force in the world of equal numbers. Captain E.B. Foulois of the first aero squadron made this claim today in the face of criticism of his men.

"Our aviators are daily encountering conditions no airmen ever before have faced," he said. "The Sierra Madres over which our planes must fly, create shifting winds and dangerous air pockets. The altitude of nearly a mile above sea level gives the machine only about another mile leeway as their maximum altitude is two miles. Despite this and the added handicap of very rough country for landing, the squadron of eight airplanes has gone through the campaign so far without any real serious mishap. As the expedition moves farther south, an altitude of nearly two miles will be encountered and this will test the machines and then men to the utmost. Their experience now makes them the superior of any aerial force in the world."

Regular aerial mail service has been established between here and Columbus.

Following an airplane's flight south, a column of infantry also left the base camp here today after Villa, who is somewhere 175 miles south of Dublin. A trainload of Carranza troops also passed through nearby Casas Grandes, going southward. A small band of Carranzistas is actively co-operating with the American vanguard. Brigadier General Pershing expresses the greatest satisfaction with the treatment accorded him by the representatives of the defacto government.

Despite this co-operation and the friendliness of the native Mexicans, army officers believe catching Villa will be a long, hard job. Some of the difficulties experienced by the American soldiers in the higher and colder altitudes south of here may be guessed from the bitter cold weather in Dublin. Half an inch of ice formed in buckets during the night. It is rumored that the chase after Villa Saturday went on in a snow storm.

The native Mexicans are staking everything on the success of the expedition. If the bandits are not thoroughly wiped out, Mexican farmers fear they will return and murder everyone who sold produce to the American soldiers. Villa is reported to have killed Mexicans for merely adopting American ideas and working for American ranchmen.

The American Mormon colonists in this district especially fear terrible reprisals if the bandits ever again over-run the Casas Grandes district.

The natives are showing admiration for the American soldiers' resourcefulness displayed in improving on crude camp life. The soldiers set examples in sanitation, health conservation and religious respect of Mexican property rights which are having a good effect.

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