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    AU/ACSC/0609J/97-03

    THE MEXICAN EXPEDITIONARY AIR FORCE IN WORLD

    WAR II: THE ORGANIZATION, TRAINING, AND

    OPERATIONS OF THE 201st SQUADRON

    A Research Paper

    Presented To

    The Research Department

    Air Command and Staff College

    In Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements of ACSC

    by

    Lt. Col. Jos G. Vega Rivera (MEXICO)

    March 1997

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    ii

    Disclaimer

    The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do

    not reflect the official policy or position of the Government of Mexico or the Secretary of

    National Defense. They also do not indicate the official policy or position of the US

    government or the Department of Defense.

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    iii

    Contents

    Page

    DISCLAIMER ................................................................................................................ ii

    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS...........................................................................................v

    LIST OF TABLES .........................................................................................................vi

    PREFACE..................................................................................................................... vii

    ABSTRACT................................................................................................................. viii

    INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................1The Traditional Position of Mexico .............................................................................3

    Mexico and the Second World War.............................................................................4

    ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ........................................................................7Status of Mexican Aviation before World War II.........................................................7The Joint Mexican-United States Defense Commission................................................9

    TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT...................................................................................15The Training in the United States ..............................................................................15

    The Training in the Theater of Operations. ................................................................19The Equipment..........................................................................................................22

    The Limiting Factors.................................................................................................23

    OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE.............................................................................. 27

    The Concept of Operations .......................................................................................27The Luzon Operations...............................................................................................29The Formosa Operations...........................................................................................31

    Operational Factors................................................................................................... 32

    ASSESSMENT AND CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................36

    The MEAF Contribution ...........................................................................................36Conclusions...............................................................................................................38

    APPENDIX A: MEXICO-UNITED STATES AGREEMENT ......................................41

    APPENDIX B: FLIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM........................................................43

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    APPENDIX C: OPERATIONAL DATA OF THE 201ST SQUADRON.......................45

    GLOSSARY..................................................................................................................48

    BIBLIOGRAPHY .........................................................................................................49

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    v

    Illustrations

    Page

    Figure 1. Mexican pilots and P-47 aircraft in the SWPA...................................................2

    Figure 2. Map of the Philippines.....................................................................................21

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    Tables

    Page

    Table 1. Organization of the 201st Squadron..................................................................17

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    vii

    Preface

    The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force is Mexicos only military organization that saw

    combat overseas in World War II. This organization and its operational unitthe 201st

    Squadronwere part of the Allied forces that battled against the Axis in the South West

    Pacific Area. However, there are few history works that mention the participation of this

    unit. Hence, the history of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force is not well known. In

    this research paper, I explain some aspects related to the Mexican Expeditionary Air

    Force, concentrating on the organization, training, and operations of the 201st Fighter

    Squadron. I consider that there are valuable and very important lessons to learn from this

    experience.

    I want to acknowledge the guidance and assistance from my research advisor, Dr.

    Richard R. Muller, who suggested the topic, and helped me to focus my research and my

    writing. I also want to acknowledge the insights provided by Captain Amadeo Castro

    Almanzaa 201st Fighter Squadron flight-leader in combat missionsand Lieutenant

    Charles H. Volz Jr., an instructor of Mexican pilots in 1945 at Napier Field, Alabama. My

    thanks to the librarians and staff at the Historical Research Agency in Maxwell Air Force

    Base for their invaluable support. My appreciation, finally, to Don Humberto Gamboa

    Montoya, who served as a Sergeant in the 201st Squadron, and later became a

    mathematics teacher in my hometownMazatln, Sinaloa. Thanks to him I first learned

    about the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force in World War II.

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    AU/ACSC/0609J/97-03

    Abstract

    The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force was part of the Allied forces in the South West

    Pacific Area in World War II. Its operational unitthe 201st Squadronwas organized,

    trained, and equipped with the P-47 aircraft. This is Mexicos only unit that conducted

    combat operations overseas. This research paper analyzes the organization, training, and

    operations of the 201st Fighter Squadron, as the basis for assessing its performance and

    explain the significance of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force.

    The main source of this research is Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Sandoval Castarricas

    Historia Oficial de la Fuerza Area Expedicionaria Mexicana. Most of the support

    for the units history and operations data comes from original documents found in the

    Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. It includes insights of

    participants in the training conducted in the US and the operations of this unit in the

    Philippines and Formosa.

    This research paper clarifies some aspects of the operational performance and

    contributions of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force. It shows how with many

    limitations and at a relatively low cost, the 201st Squadron was able to succeed in its

    combat missions in the South West Pacific Area.

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    Chapter 1

    Introduction

    Mxico, al adherirse a la causa de las Naciones Unidas, expres la firme

    resolucin de coadyuvar por todos los medios posibles a la victoria final

    de las democracias, aceptando conscientemente las altas

    responsabilidades que un pueblo libre debe asumir, cuando se ven en

    peligro, junto con el prestigio de su soberana, los ideales que norman suexistencia y que son base de sus instituciones, honra de su pasado,

    preocupacin intensa de su presente y garanta eficaz de su porvenir.*

    President Manuel Avila Camacho

    Mexicos participation in the Second World War against the Axis powers is seldom

    mentioned in history books. In the few works that acknowledge Mexicos participation,

    the support with raw materials and labor force to the Allied war effort receives

    considerably more attention than the actual contribution in combat. This relationship

    reflects the perceived overall contribution of the country to the Allied cause in World War

    II, but unfortunately, adds to the lack of information about Mexicos only unit

    participating in combat overseasthe Mexican Expeditionary Air Force (MEAF).

    The MEAF was part of the Allied forces in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) in

    World War II. The organization of its operational unitthe 201st Fighter Squadron

    was mostly the result of coordination in the Joint Mexican-United States Defense

    Commission (JMUSDC). The 201st Squadron, through Lend-Lease Agreement, trained

    in the United States from August 1944 to March 1945 and was equipped to conduct

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    combat operations. The preparation of the MEAF