What is honor? What does it mean to give one’s life for a cause? What is death if not our next step to the eternal realm. Our birth and death dates are of minimal importance but what is essential is what did we do between the two dates. What legacy did we leave behind and what evidence is there of such, if any.Let me take you on a journey in exploring the life of my great-grandfather, General Juan Escamilla Garza, a soldier of many battle and opponent of communism in Central America.
The General Escamilla penned his military activities in Mexico and in Nicaragua. His writing will shed light on his military profession and the actions he took. He fought in the Mexican Revolution, went into exile, was called to serve in Nicaragua, and took part in collaborating with the United States Marines when they were sent to Nicaragua.
Juan Escamilla was born on October 20, 1897 in Cienega de Flores, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. His parents were Pedro Escamilla Lozano and Teofila Garza Garcia and he was the youngest of the six children. On June 30, 1913, during the Mexican Revolution, Juan Escamilla enlisted in the Constitutionalist Army in the municipality of Agualeguas, which is in the state of Nuevo Leon. Immediately Juan Escamilla was given the rank of second lieutenant and was under the orders of Capitan Jose Elizondo, who in turn was under the orders of General Lucio Blanco. Juan Escamilla was temporally incorporated in the Blanco Brigade.
Under Blanco he fought against the Huertistas in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, took part in the conquest of Matamoros, and participated in battles that took place in the State of Nuevo Leon[i]. Second lieutenant Escamilla was later transfer to the 3rd Division of the Northeast under the command of General Teodoro Elizondo. The Northeast Division combated the Huertistas in one of the bloodiest battle, the Siege of Monterrey. Even though the Northeast Division came out victorious, Escamilla was wounded in the leg in that battle and was taken to San Luis Potosi to get medical treatment. On May 30, 1914 Escamilla was promoted to First Captain. From July to August 1914 Captain Escamilla was transferred to the command of General Vicente Davila, who was part of the Northeast Division of the South. Under General Davila Captain Escamilla fought against Gen. Romulo Cuellar in San Luis Potosi, Leon, Silao, Cuidad de Guanajuato and Celaya.[ii] On August 10, 1914 Captain Escamilla was promoted to Major.
By January 1915 to July 1915, the Northeast Division had joined forces with General Maclovio Herrera army. Maclovio Herrera’s Army was fighting in Nuevo Leon combating the Conventionalist forces that were under the orders of Gen. Rosalio Hernandez and Gen. Orestes Pereyra. By the orders of the Venustiano Carranza, Maj. Escamilla was given orders to join Gen. Alejo Gonzalez in the state of Chiapas; their mission was to fight against any party or person who would not be part of the Constitutionalist army. Juan Escamilla’s military duties, courage and valor promoted him to higher ranks, as follows[iii]: Lieutenant Coronel, September 12, 1917— Coronel, July 20, 1924—General Brigadier.
To be continued.
[i] General Brigadier del Ejercito Nacional Marciano González, “Certifica Juan Escamilla 1940,” memorándum, Monterrey, N.L, June 10, 1940.
[ii] Juan Barrera-Gómez, “El General Juan Escamilla, es un Veterano de Muchos Batallas,” El Darío de Nuevo Laredo, April 14, 1977, final edition.
[iii] González, “Certifica Juan Escamilla 1940,”.