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Our mystery man revealed

7 April 2010

Do you know this man?

The Mexican Revolution was a largely do-it-yourself affair, and called for inventiveness.  This Mexican hero was the first person in history to do something that has since changed the course of history.  Who is he and what was it he did?

A  free copy of the soon-to-be released  Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution to whoever is the first to guess… or properly identify … the man and his deed.

A must for any Latin American studies department, Mexican scholar or researcher,  Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution is NOT a “today in history” type time-line, but the ONLY guide to the daily events of the Mexican Revolution that includes the references and sources needed for scholarly investigation.  Revolutionary Days is timed to coincide with the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution, but as a basic reference, will never go out of date.

Two clues.  First:  The Battle of Midway.

Second:  your answer must be received no later than 14 April 2010.

Send your responses to publisher@editorialmazatlan.com.

We have a winner… maybe winners.

The guy in the photo is Gustavo Salinas Camiña , who piloting the bi-plane Sonora in the battle of Topolobampo, became the first aviator in the world to attack a ship.  With homemade bombs, he successfully attacked two Federal warships — Guerrero and Morelos — in support of the Constitutionalist warship Tampico.  Ray Acosta, being the crack researcher that he is, found a report in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings of 1918 by J.H. Klein, Jr. who witnessed the battle from a U.S. observer ship.   Ray found something interesting about Klein’s report. Klein mixed up the date of the bombardment with another event, and rather than assume the U.S. source was correct, dug deeper. He is able to confirm the aerial bombardment took place 14 April 1914.

Born in 1893 in Coahuila, Gustavo Salinas Camiña was Venustiano Carranza’s nephew.  In 1913 the 19-year-old Salinas and four others were sent by President Madero to New York for flying lessons.  On their return, they became the Mexican Air Force.  His uncle’s best general, Alvaro Obregón, was the first to realize the potential of air power.  Whether the naval air attack was Salinas’ or Obregón’s idea is an open question.

Twenty-one at the time of his historic mission, young Captain Salinas was quite the popular hero for his exploit.  I cropped off the autograph (which would have made it too easy) on the photo which was given to one of his many groupie.  Besides his distinguished military and aviation career, Salinas was famous as both an auto race car driver and competitive target shooter. He became the Mexican Air Force’s first Division General, and — during the Second World War — was influential in organizing Escuadron 201, the Mexican air wing in the Pacific War.  At the time, he was also director of Mexico’s civil aviation authority. For his contributions to aviation and to military aviation, he was decorated by the Mexican, French, Belgian and Peruvian governments.  He died in 1964.

“Fulano Conocido” was the first to send a correct answer.  Aage Jorgensen not only identified Salinas, but managed to dig out an unknown (to us) interview with then General Salinas about his exploits, including his bomb-making recipe.  Both will be receiving a complimentary copy of Revolutionary Days, which should be available in about six weeks.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. chuck permalink
    5 April 2010 11:48 am

    Couldn’t get to through via the e-mail link to the publisher to answer your question (got 404).

    Is the man in the picture Pedro Lascurain?

    chuck

  2. 5 April 2010 12:55 pm

    Nope.

  3. dee cunningham permalink
    5 April 2010 10:35 pm

    Gral. Brig. P. A. Gustavo Adolfo Salinas Cami~na
    First to drop a bomb from an airplane at war.
    Battle of Topolobampo Apirl 14, 1914

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