US PUNITIVE EXPEDITION, 1916, uniforms
1st Lieutenant, 7th Cavalry Regiment
This figure wears a typical uniform for US officers during the border fighting. The M1911 “olive drab” Montana-peaked hat has officers’ black and gold cords with two acorn tassels. His wool pullover campaign shirt in a similar shade has four dark brown buttons on the placket, and bears his rank bars on the collar; he chooses not to wear the black necktie. His wool riding trousers are a rather darker “olive drab” shade. He is armed with a .45 cal Colt M1911 semi-automatic pistol in a cavalry-type swiveling russet brown holster with “US” embossed on the flap, and secured by a long khaki lanyard looped diagonally around his torso. The M1912 belt also supports a double pistol magazine pouch, and is itself supported by a pair of leather suspenders.
Dispatch rider, 1st Provisional Motorcycle Company
The motorcyclist wears an M1911 olive drab knit wool service sweater with two open hip pockets, worn over the soldier’s campaign shirt and cavalry-style wool trousers. Bandanas were often sported by American soldiers. His goggles are commercially manufactured – the US Army never issued them for Mexican border service. His equipment is limited to the M1910 cartridge belt, leather cavalry-style gloves, and cavalry brown leather leggings worn over the russet brown shoes. Slung across his back is his M1903 Springfield, and on his right hip a non-regulation early model dispatch case of olive drab canvas. His mount is an early Harley-Davidson; the Army began using motorcycles as early as 1913, and in 1916 the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company’s product became the vehicle of choice during the pursuit of Pancho Villa. By 1917 roughly one-third of all Harley-Davidsons produced were sold to the US military. In the background is a US/Mexican border marker.
Sergeant, 24th Infantry Regiment
This NCO from the African-American US 24th Infantry wears the M1911 Montana-peak hat with light blue infantry cords, a well-worn OD campaign shirt, wool trousers and laced khaki canvas leggings, with the M1910 pack, cartridge belt and first aid pouch. The bayonet for his M1903 Springfield is carried in a scabbard covered with canvas and a leather chape. He is drinking from his M1910 aluminum canteen. In the foreground is the M1909 Benet-Mercie machine rifle, which made its combat debut with the US Cavalry during Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico.
-Hattip (Stephen Walsh)