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A Little History on Pershing, Pancho, & the Rio Grande Rattler

Posted on 24 September 2011

QUICK HISTORY LESSON:

EVENT:

It's 1916 and President Woodrow Wilson orders a "Punitive Expedition" of 4,800 men commanded by General John J. Pershing into Mexico to capture the rebel and bandit leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa.  Villa has been ducking in and out of US borders and raiding American towns and small communities. However, despite Pershing's outnumbering forces, Villa and his bandits continue to unabashedly duck and elude capture.

. [caption id="attachment_12647" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="This famous cartoon depicts Gen. Pershing stamping out a nest of rattlesnakes labeled with names like “Villista,” “Bandit,” and “Cutthroat”."][/caption]

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OUTCOME:

President Wilson, Gen. Pershing, and Lieutenant George Patton publicly claim the mission a success, however a lot of slack is directed their way for being out-witted and out-bluffed by the slippery Mexican rebels.

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Pershing writes in a letter to his family:

...when the true history is written, it will not be a very inspiring chapter for school children, or even grownups to contemplate. Having dashed into Mexico with the intention of eating the Mexicans raw, we turned back at the first repulse and are now sneaking home under cover, like a whipped curr with its tail between its legs."
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So by now, I'm sure you are asking what does this have to do with anything?... I passed US History back in 11th grade.

Well, I just wanted to remind you of the history behind Pancho and Pershing and to know that Pershing had set up his outpost in Lajitas, Texas.  (see, there is the tie-in!)  And in doing my research of Lajitas, Pancho, and Pershing, I came across the ephemeral cartoon seen above with the rattle snakes and well, you can call me crazy, but that's how the Rio Grand Rattler Jacket came about.

So there.

I'm Done.

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