History of Columbus
--------------------------- CRADLE OF AMERICAN AIRPOWER ------------------------------
On Mar. 9, 1916, Pancho Villa invaded the United States and attacked Columbus NM. and it's army outpost, Camp Furlong. Eighteen U.S. citizens were killed. Within a week Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing and 6,000 troops were pursuing Villa into Mexico. His "Punitive Expedition" was accompanied by eight Curtiss JN-3 Jennys of the "1st Aero Squadron". This was the first time a U.S. military tactical air unit had ever been deployed and tested in actual combat. This was truly the infancy of American military airpower and therefore the painting is appropriately named.
Despite environmental and mechanical problems that beset the squadron, use of the JN-3 and its variants the N-8 and R-2 in the unsuccessful Mexican campaign served as a catalyst for accelerated development of military and civil aviation.
This painting was commissioned by John Zimmerman of AvData Corp. of Wichita and executed by the well know English aviator and artist, Peter Westacott. The painting was presented to the U.S. Air Force Cheif of Staff, Gen. Michael Ryan, for the Air Force Art Program on April 25th, 2000.
The painting depicts the drama of ground troops supported by the Jennys in air recon operations with the town of Columbus and surrounding landscape in the background. Historically notable is the large red star on the tail of the aircraft. This was the first use of a STAR as the identifying marking of U.S. Army aircraft.
A 27 x 33 print of this painting signed by the artist may be obtained by mailing a check for $50 + $5 S&H to the COLUMBUS HISTORICAL SOCIETY in Columbus, NM. 88029. They may be contacted at 505-531-2620.
Painting Cradle of American Airpower