Buffalo Soldiers

Camp Naco, Arizona

Camp Naco was part of the War Department’s Mexican Border Defense construction project, a plan to build a 1200-mile “fence” along the southern U.S. border.  American soldiers were the primary component of this “fence,” and the construction project was to establish or to upgrade border military posts to protect the soldiers against the elements and to protect U.S. citizens and economic interests.  The plan for the camp in Naco included construction of 35 adobe buildings by the 10th Cavalry.

The beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 raised concerns that rebel activity would spill over onto American soil and in response to this potential threat, the U.S. Government sent troops to protect the border.  Naco had a military presence from 1911 until the end of 1923.  While the War Department stationed elements of many units in Naco, the primary presence was the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, and later the 25th Infantry Regiment, all Buffalo Soldier units.  The 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were commended for their service during the Battle of Naco in 1914, receiving a special commendation from the President for their exceptional service in preserving the Neutrality Laws despite being under almost constant threat of gunfire. In 1922, the 25th Infantry Regiment took over for the 10th as guardians of the border until closure of the station in December 1923.

This photograph shows the camp of Troop A, 10th Cavalry in Naco, Arizona.  A group of Buffalo Soldiers are preparing a row of saddles for use.

2013.35.6, Courtesy of The National Archives