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Fort Bliss,U.S. army post, 1,122,500 acres (454,300 hectares), W Tex., E of El Paso; est. 1849 and named for Col. William Bliss, Gen. Zachary Taylor's adjutant in the Mexican War. Originally strategically located near the only ice-free pass through the Rocky Mts., it guarded the U.S.-Mexican border and protected West-bound gold seekers from hostile Native Americans; task forces against CochiseCochise
, c.1815–1874, chief of the Chiricahua group of Apache in Arizona. He was friendly with the whites until 1861, when some of his relatives were hanged by U.S. soldiers for a crime they did not commit. Afterward he waged relentless war against the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information. and GeronimoGeronimo
, c.1829–1909, leader of a Chiricahua group of the Apaches, b. Arizona. From his youth he participated in the forays of Cochise, Victorio, and other Apache leaders.
..... Click the link for more information. were based there. The fort's location has changed several times as a result of flooding; its present site, on a mesa, was established in 1890. In 1916, post commander Gen. John J. Pershing led an unsuccessful expedition into Mexico to catch the bandit Francisco (Pancho) VillaVilla, Francisco
, c.1877–1923, Mexican revolutionary, nicknamed Pancho Villa.
His real name was Doroteo Arango.
When Villa came of age, he declared his freedom from the peonage of his parents and became notorious as a bandit in Chihuahua and Durango.
..... Click the link for more information. . Fort Bliss is now the Army Air Defense Center, training missilemen, artillerymen, and air-defense units.