Texas Matters: 'The Old Army' On The U.S.-Mexico Border

Jun 4, 2018

Today’s newspaper headlines tell us about increased U.S. military presence along the U.S. Mexico border, mirroring press reports from a century ago.

On this episode of "Texas Matters," Thomas T. “Ty” Smith joins us to discuss new information from Army source documents about the era that’s been largely overlook by military historians. He's the author of “The Old Army in the Big Bend of Texas – The Last Calvary Frontier 1911-1921."


Between 1911 and 1921 10 cavalry units, four national guard units and four infantry units rotated through 40 different outposts guarding the U.S.-Mexico border.

But times where differnt then. Mexico was in the midst of a revolution, the west was still a wild place and the border was rough, remote and open.

Today, many argue the increased presence of American troops on the border is a political action that is more about optics and talking points than national security. But 100 years ago, concerns on the border’s frontier were legitimate.

And it took men on horseback with pack mules to deal with it.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org or on Twitter @DavidMartinDavi