Mexican Army

The Mexican Army (Spanish: Ejército Mexicano) is the combined land and air branch and is the largest of the Mexican Armed Forces; it is also known as the National Defense Army.

It was the first army to adopt (1908) and use (1910) a self-loading rifle, the Mondragón rifle. The Mexican Army has an active duty force of 183,562 with 76,000 men and women of military service age (2015 est.).

Mexico has no major foreign nation-state adversaries. It officially repudiates the use of force to settle disputes and rejects interference by one nation in the affairs of another. Although it has not suffered a major international terrorist incident in recent decades, the Mexican government considers the country a potential target for international terrorism.[3]

Mexican Army
Ejército Mexicano
Logo of the Mexican Army
Mexican Army emblem
Active19th(XIX) century – present
TypeArmy and naval force
Part ofSecretariat of National Defense
Mexican Armed Forces
Motto(s)Siempre Leales (Always Loyal)
Mascot(s)Golden eagle
Anniversaries19 February, Day of the Army.[1]
13 September, Día de los Niños Héroes.[2]
EquipmentSee: Equipment
EngagementsWar of Independence
Spanish attempts to reconquer Mexico
Texas Revolution
Pastry War
Capture of Monterey
Mexican–American War
Caste War of Yucatán
Reform War
French Intervention
Mexican Revolution
Border War
Cristero War
World War II
Dirty War
Zapatista Uprising
Mexican Drug War
Guidon of the Mexican Army
Flag (unofficial)
Flag of the Mexican Army



Pre-Columbian era: native warriors

Florentine Codex IX Aztec Warriors
Aztec warriors as shown in the 16th century Florentine Codex. Note that each warrior is brandishing a Maquahuitl.
Codex Mendoza folio 64r
This page from the Codex Mendoza shows the gradual improvements to equipment and tlahuiztli as a warrior progresses through the ranks from commoner to porter to warrior to captor, and later as a noble progressing in the warrior societies from the noble warrior to "Eagle warrior" to "Jaguar Warrior" to "Otomitl" to "Shorn One" and finally as "Tlacateccatl".
Tepoztopilli Aztec spear Armeria Real collection in Madrid
Tepoztōpīlli from the Armeria Real collection in Madrid

In the prehispanic era, there were many indigenous tribes and highly developed city-states in what is now known as central Mexico. The most advanced and powerful kingdoms were those of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan, which comprised populations of the same ethnic origin and were politically linked by an alliance known as the Triple Alliance; colloquially these three states are known as the Aztec. They had a center for higher education called the Calmecac in Nahuatl, this was where the children of the Aztec priesthood and nobility receive rigorous religious and military training and conveyed the highest knowledge such as: doctrines, divine songs, the science of interpreting codices, calendar skills, memorization of texts, etc. In Aztec society, it was compulsory for all young males, nobles as well as commoners, to join part of the armed forces at the age of 15. Recruited by regional and clan groups (calpulli) the conscripts were organized in units of about 8,000 men (Xiquipilli). These were broken down into 400 strong sub-units. Aztec nobility (some of whom were the children of commoners who had distinguished themselves in battle) led their own serfs on campaign.[4]

Itzcoatl "Obsidian Serpent" (1381–1440), fourth king of Tenochtitlán, organized the army that defeated the Tepanec of Atzcapotzalco, freeing his people from their dominion. His reign began with the rise of what would become the largest empire in Mesoamerica. Then Moctezuma Ilhuicamina "The arrow to the sky" (1440–1469) came to extend the domain and the influence of the monarchy of Tenochtitlán. He began to organize trade to the outside regions of the Valley of Mexico. This was the Mexica ruler who organized the alliance with the lordships of Texcoco and Tlacopan to form the Triple Alliance.

The Aztec established the Flower Wars as a form of worship; these, unlike the wars of conquest, were aimed at obtaining prisoners for sacrifice to the sun. Combat orders were given by kings (or Lords) using drums or blowing into a sea snail shell that gave off a sound like a horn. Giving out signals using coats of arms was very common. For combat outside of cities, they would organize several groups, only one of which would be involved in action, while the others remained on the alert. When attacking enemy cities, they usually divided their forces into three equal-sized wings, which simultaneously assaulted different parts of the defences – this enabled the leaders to determine which division of warriors had distinguished themselves the most in combat.[5]

Military in the Spanish Colonial Era

During the 18th century the Spanish colonial forces in the greater Mexico region consisted of regular "Peninsular" regiments sent from Spain itself, augmented by locally recruited provincial and urban militia units of infantry, cavalry and artillery. A few regular infantry and dragoon regiments (e.g. the Regimiento de Mexico) were recruited within Mexico and permanently stationed there.[6] Mounted units of soldados de cuera (so called from the leather protective clothing that they wore)[7] patrolled frontier and desert regions.[8]


In the early morning of 16 September 1810, the Army of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla initiated the independence movement. Hidalgo was followed by his loyal companions, among them Mariano Abasolo, and a small army equipped with swords, spears, slingshots and sticks. Captain General Ignacio Allende was the military brains of the insurgent army in the first phase of the War of Independence and secured several victories over the Spanish Royal Army. Their troops were about 5,000 strong and were later joined by squadrons of the Queen's Regiment where its members in turn contributed infantry battalions and cavalry squadrons to the insurrection cause.

Alhondiga de Granaditas
Guanajuato. At center: the Alhóndiga de Granaditas

The Spaniards saw that it was important to defend the Alhóndiga de Granaditas public granary in Guanajuato, which maintained the flow of water, weapons, food and ammunition to the Spanish Royal Army. The insurgents entered Guanajuato and proceeded to lay siege to the Alhóndiga. The insurgents suffered heavy casualties until Juan Jose de los Reyes, the Pípila, fitted a slab of rock on his back to protect himself from enemy fire and crawled to the large wooden door of the Alhóndiga with a torch in hand to set it on fire. With this stunt, the insurgents managed to bring down the door and enter the building and overrun it. Hidalgo headed to Valladolid (now Morelia), which was captured with little opposition. While the Insurgent Army was, by then, over 60,000 strong, it was mostly formed of poorly armed men with arrows, sticks and tillage tools – it had a few guns, which had been taken from Spanish stocks.

In Aculco, the Royal Spanish forces under the command of Felix Maria Calleja, Count of Calderón, and Don Manuel de Flon (and comprising 200 infantrymen, 500 cavalry and 12 cannons) defeated the insurgents, who lost many men as well as the artillery they had obtained at Battle of Monte de las Cruces. On 29 November 1810, Hidalgo entered Guadalajara, the capital of Nueva Galicia, where he organized his government and the Insurgent Army; he also issued a decree abolishing slavery.

At Calderon Bridge (Puente de Calderón) near the city of Guadalajara Jalisco, insurgents held a hard-fought battle with the royalists. During the fierce fighting, one of the insurgents' ammunition wagons exploded, which led to their defeat. The insurgents lost all their artillery, much of their equipment and the lives of many men.

Const apatzingan
Constitutional decree for the freedom of the Mexican America
Army of the Three Guarantees enters Mexico city on 27 September 1821.

At the Wells of Baján (Norias de Baján) near Monclova, Coahuila, a former royalist named Ignacio Elizondo, who had joined the insurgent cause, betrayed them and seized Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, José Mariano Jiménez and the rest of the entourage. They were brought to the city of Chihuahua where they were tried by a military court and executed by firing squad on 30 July 1811. Hidalgo's death resulted in a political vacuum for the insurgents until 1812. Meanwhile, the royalist military commander, General Félix María Calleja, continued to pursue rebel troops. The fighting evolved into guerrilla warfare.

The next major rebel leader was the priest José María Morelos y Pavón, who had formerly led the insurgent movement alongside Hidalgo. Morelos fortified the port of Acapulco and took the city of Chilpancingo. Along the way, Morelos, was joined by Leonardo Bravo, his son Nicholas and his brothers Max, Victor and Miguel Bravo.

Morelos conducted several campaigns in the south, managing to conquer much of the region as he gave orders to the insurgents to promote the writing of the first constitution for the new Mexican nation: the Constitution of Apatzingan, which was drafted in 1814. In 1815, Morelos was apprehended and executed by firing squad. His death concluded the second phase of the Mexican War for Independence. From 1815 to 1820, the independence movement became sluggish; it was briefly reinvigorated by Francisco Javier Mina and Pedro Moreno, who were both quickly apprehended and executed.

It was not until late 1820, when Agustín de Iturbide, one of the most bloodthirsty enemies of the insurgents, established relations with Vicente Guerrero and Guadalupe Victoria, two of the rebel leaders. Guerrero and Victoria supported Iturbide's plan for Mexican independence, El Plan de Iguala and Iturbide was appointed commander of the Ejército Trigarante, or The Army of the Three Guarantees. With this new alliance, they were able to enter Mexico City on 27 September 1821, which concluded the Mexican War for Independence.

Pastry War

French blockade in 1838

The Pastry War was the first French intervention in Mexico. Following the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic, fighting in the streets destroyed a great deal of personal property. Foreigners whose property was damaged or destroyed by rioters or bandits were usually unable to obtain compensation from the government, and began to appeal to their own governments for help.

In 1838, a French pastry cook, Monsieur Remontel, claimed that his shop in the Tacubaya district of Mexico City had been ruined in 1828 by looting Mexican officers. He appealed to France's King Louis-Philippe (1773–1850). Coming to its citizen's aid, France demanded 600,000 pesos in damages. This amount was extremely high when compared to an average workman's daily pay, which was about one peso. In addition to this amount, Mexico had defaulted on millions of dollars worth of loans from France. Diplomat Baron Deffaudis gave Mexico an ultimatum to pay, or the French would demand satisfaction. When the payment was not forthcoming from president Anastasio Bustamante (1780–1853), the king sent a fleet under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin to declare a blockade of all Mexican ports from Yucatán to the Rio Grande, to bombard the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and to seize the port of Veracruz. Virtually the entire Mexican Navy was captured at Veracruz by December 1838. Mexico declared war on France.

With trade cut off, the Mexicans began smuggling imports into Corpus Christi, Texas, and then into Mexico. Fearing that France would blockade Texan ports as well, a battalion of men of the Republic of Texas force began patrolling Corpus Christi Bay to stop Mexican smugglers. One smuggling party abandoned their cargo of about a hundred barrels of flour on the beach at the mouth of the bay, thus giving Flour Bluff its name. The United States, ever watchful of its relations with Mexico, sent the schooner Woodbury to help the French in their blockade. Talks between the French Kingdom and the Texan nation occurred and France agreed not to offend the soil or waters of the Republic of Texas. With the diplomatic intervention of the United Kingdom, eventually President Bustamante promised to pay the 600,000 pesos and the French forces withdrew on 9 March 1839.

U.S. invasion

Mexico nebel
The U.S. occupation of Mexico City
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna 1852
General and President Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1852

U.S. territorial expansion under Manifest Destiny in the 19th century had reached the banks of the Rio Grande, which prompted Mexican president José Joaquín de Herrera to form an army of 6,000 men to defend the Mexican northern frontier from the expansion of the neighboring country. In 1845, Texas, a former Mexican territory that had broken away from Mexico by rebellion, was annexed into the United States. In response to this, the minister of Mexico in the U.S., Juan N. Almonte called for his Letters of Recognition and returned to Mexico; hostilities promptly ensued. On 25 April 1846, a Mexican force under colonel Anastasio Torrejon surprised and defeated a U.S. squadron at the Rancho de Carricitos in Matamoros in an event that would latter be known as the Thornton Skirmish; this was the pretext that U.S. president James K. Polk used to persuade the U.S. congress into declaring a state of war against Mexico on 13 May 1846. U.S. Army captain John C. Frémont, with about sixty well-armed men, had entered the California territory in December 1845 before the war had been official and was marching slowly to Oregon when he received word that war between Mexico and the U.S. was imminent; thus began a chapter of the war known as the Bear Flag Revolt.

On 20 September 1846, the U.S. launched an attack on Monterrey, which fell after 5 days. After this U.S. victory, hostilities were suspended for 7 weeks, allowing Mexican troops to leave the city with their flags displayed in full honors as U.S. soldiers regrouped and regained their losses. In August 1846, Commodore David Conner and his squadron of ships were in Veracruzian waters; he tried, unsuccessfully, to seize the Fort of Alvarado, which was defended by the Mexican Navy. The Americans were forced to relocate to Antón Lizardo. In confronting resistance and fortifications at the port of Veracruz, the U.S. Army and Marines implemented an intense bombardment of the city from 22–26 March 1847, causing about five hundred civilian deaths and significant damage to homes, buildings, and merchandise. General Winfield Scott and Commodore Matthew C. Perry capitalized on this civilian suffering: by refusing to allow the consulates of Spain and France to assist in civilian evacuation, they pressed Mexican Gen. Juan Morales to negotiate surrender.

U.S. commodore Matthew C. Perry, who had already captured the town of Frontera, in Tabasco, tried to seize San Juan Bautista (modern Villahermosa), but he was repelled three times by a Mexican garrison of just under three hundred men. U.S. troops were also sent to the California territories with the intention of seizing it. After squads of U.S. troops occupied the City of Los Angeles, Mexican authorities were forced to move to Sonora; but, by the end of September 1846, commander José María Flores was able to gather 500 Mexicans and managed to defeat the U.S. garrison at Los Angeles and then sent detachments to Santa Barbara and San Diego.

After putting up a fierce defense against the U.S. invasion, the Mexican positions along the state of Chihuahua began to fall. These forces had been organized by general José Antonio de Heredia and governor Ángel Trías Álvarez. The cavalry of the latter made several desperate charges against the U.S. that nearly achieved victory, but his inexperience in fighting was evident and, in the end, all the positions gained were lost.

French Intervention

SOLDATS DE L'ARMÉE MEXICAINE. — D'après un croquis de M. Girardin, officier au 1er chasseurs d'Afrique
Soldiers of the Mexican Army c1862.
The Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo 1862, an important victory for Mexican forces against the French

The French intervention was an invasion by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain. It followed President Benito Juárez's suspension of interest payments to foreign countries on 17 July 1861, which angered Mexico's major creditors: Spain, France and Britain.

Napoleon III of France was the instigator: His foreign policy was based on a commitment to free trade. For him, a friendly government in Mexico provided an opportunity to expand free trade by ensuring European access to important markets, and preventing monopoly by the United States. Napoleon also needed the silver that could be mined in Mexico to finance his empire. Napoleon built a coalition with Spain and Britain at a time the U.S. was engaged in a full-scale civil war. The U.S. protested, but could not intervene directly until its civil war was over in 1865.[9]

Monumento Ignacio Zaragoza
Monument to General Ignacio Zaragoza, hero of the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo 1862.

The three powers signed the Treaty of London on 31 October, to unite their efforts to receive payments from Mexico. On 8 December, the Spanish fleet and troops from Spanish-controlled Cuba arrived at Mexico's main Gulf port, Veracruz. When the British and Spanish discovered that the French planned to invade Mexico, they withdrew.

The subsequent French invasion resulted in the Second Mexican Empire, which was supported by the Roman Catholic clergy, many conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities. The presidential terms of Benito Juárez (1858–71) were interrupted by the rule of the Habsburg monarchy in Mexico (1864–67). Conservatives, and many in the Mexican nobility, tried to revive the monarchical form of government (see: First Mexican Empire) when they helped to bring to Mexico an archduke from the Royal House of Austria, Maximilian Ferdinand, or Maximilian I of Mexico (who married Charlotte of Belgium, also known as Carlota of Mexico), with the military support of France. France had various interests in this Mexican affair, such as seeking reconciliation with Austria, which had been defeated during the Franco-Austrian War, counterbalancing the growing U.S. power by developing a powerful Catholic neighbouring empire, and exploiting the rich mines in the north-west of the country.

Mexican Republican forces

In 1861, the Mexican Republican Army consisted of ten regular line battalions each of eight companies, and six line cavalry regiments, each of two squadrons. With six batteries of field artillery plus engineers, train and garrison units, the regular army numbered about 12,000 men. Auxiliary forces, comprising state militias and National Guards, provided a further 25 infantry battalions and 25 cavalry squadrons plus some garrison and artillery units. The National Guard of the Federal District of Mexico City amounted to six infantry battalions plus one each of cavalry and artillery. The newly raised corps of Rurales, created on 5 May 1861 as a mounted gendarmerie, numbered 2,200 and served as dispersed units of light cavalry against the French.[10]

Porfirio Diaz in uniform
General and President Porfirio Díaz, another hero of the Battle of Puebla and president of Mexico in the late nineteenth century until the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution

While opposed by substantial forces of French regular troops plus Mexican Imperial forces and contingents of foreign volunteers,[11] the Republican Army remained in being as an effective force after the fall of Mexico City in 1863. By 1865 Liberal opposition was being led by a core of 50,000 regular Mexican troops and state National Guards, augmented by approximately 10,000 guerrillas.[12]

Díaz era

Following the French withdrawal and the overthrow of the Imperial regime of Maximilian, the Mexican Republic was re-established in 1867. In 1876, Porfirio Diaz, a leading general of the anti-Maximilianist forces, became president. He was to retain power until 1910, with only one short break. During this period of extended rule, Diaz relied essentially on military power to remain in office. He accordingly undertook a series of reforms intended to modernize the Mexican Army,[13] while at the same time terminating the historic pattern of local commanders attempting to seize power using irregulars or provincial forces.[14] Generals of the Federal Army were frequently transferred, the large officer corps was kept loyal through opportunities for graft, an efficient mounted police force of rurales took over responsibility for public order,[15] and the army itself was reduced in size. By 1910, the army numbered about 25,000 men, largely conscripts of Indian origin officered by 4,000 white middle-class officers. While generally well equipped, the Federal Army under Diaz was too small in numbers to offer effective opposition to the revolutionary forces led by Francisco Madero.[16]

Mexican Revolution 1910–1920

V Huerta
General Victoriano Huerta, who overthrew civilian President Francisco I. Madero in 1913
Alvaro Obregon
Revolutionary General Alvaro Obregón, later president of Mexico

The ouster of Porfirio Díaz saw Francisco I. Madero: a member of a rich landowning family, elected as President of Mexico. Madero kept the Federal Army intact, despite the fact that it had been outmaneuvered by the revolutionary forces that brought him to power. General Victoriano Huerta overthrew Madero in a bloody February 1913 coup. Forces opposed to the Huerta regime united against him, particularly the Constitutionalists in the north. These were led by a civilian, Venustiano Carranza as "First Chief," commanding forces led by a number of generals, but most prominently Alvaro Obregón and Pancho Villa. In the Morelos region, an intense guerrilla warfare was waged by forces led by Emiliano Zapata. The Federal Army supporting Huerta was defeated at the Battle of Zacatecas and finally disbanded in 1914[17]and a new Government army was created from Obregón's Constitutionalist forces. Zapata was assassinated in 1919; Villa was bought off and took up civilian life in northern Mexico, before being assassinated in 1923. During the post-military phase following 1920, a number of Constitutionalist leaders became presidents of Mexico: Alvaro Obregón (1920–1924), Plutarco Elías Calles (1924–28), Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940), and Manuel Avila Camacho (1940–1946). When Lázaro Cárdenas reorganized the political party founded by Plutarco Elías Calles, he created sectoral representation of groups in Mexico, one of which was the Mexican Army. In the subsequent reorganization of the party, which took place in 1946, the Institutional Revolutionary Party no longer had a separate sector for the army. No military man has been president of Mexico after 1946.

Contemporary era

General Lázaro Cárdenas, who as president of Mexico 1934–1940 brought the Mexican military under civilian control

Post-revolutionary period

Aulengsxhangtveil Mexirhkyoth Aukh FX-05
Mexican soldiers on parade in Mexico's independence day parade in 2009, Mexico DF, carrying Mexican FX-05 Xiuhcoatl (Fire Serpent) assault rifles.

The ending of the Diaz regime saw a resurgence of numerous local forces led by revolutionary generals. In 1920, more than 80,000 Mexicans were under arms, with only a minority forming part of regular forces obedient to a central authority. During the 1920s, the new government demobilized the revolutionary bands, reopened the Colegio Militar (Military Academy), established the Escuela Superior de Guerra (Staff College), and raised the salaries and improved the conditions of service of the rank and file of the regular army. In spite of an abortive general's revolt in 1927, the result was a professional army obedient to the central government. During the 1930s, the political role of the officer corps was reduced by the governing Revolutionary Party and a workers' militia was established, outnumbering the regular army by two to one. By the end of World War II, the Mexican Army had become a strictly professional force focused on national defense rather than political involvement.[18]

Mexican Drug War

Although violence between drug cartels has been occurring long before the war began, the government held a generally passive stance regarding cartel violence during the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century. That changed on 11 December 2006, when newly elected President Felipe Calderón sent 6,500 federal troops to the state of Michoacán to end drug violence there. This action is regarded as the first major retaliation made against the cartel violence, and is generally viewed as the starting point of the war between the government and the drug cartels.[19] As time progressed, Calderón continued to escalate his anti-drug campaign, in which there are now about 45,000 troops involved along with state and federal police forces.

In recent times, the Mexican military has largely participated in efforts against drug trafficking. The Operaciones contra el narcotrafico (Operations against drug trafficking), for example, describes its purpose in regards to "the performance of the Mexican Army and Air Force in the permanent campaign against the drug trafficking is sustained properly in the duties that the Executive of the Nation grants to the armed forces", for according to Article 89, Section VI of the Constitution of the Mexican United States, it is the duty of the President of the Republic of the United Mexican States, as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to ensure that the Mexican Armed Forces perform its mandate of national security within and outside the state borders.

Military Organization in the Modern Era

Fuerzas Armadas de México
Mexican Air Force cadets march during the Mexican Independence day military parade in Mexico City on 27 July 2012.

The Army is under the authority of the National Defense Secretariat or SEDENA. It has three components: a national headquarters, territorial commands, and independent units. The Minister of Defense commands the Army via a centralized command system and many general officers. The Army uses a modified continental staff system in its headquarters. The Mexican Air Force is a branch of the Mexican Army. Recruitment of personnel happens from ages 18 through 21 if secondary education was finished, 22 if High school was completed. Recruitment after age 22 is impossible in the regular army; only auxiliary posts are available. As of 2009, starting salary for Mexican army recruits was $6,000 Mexican pesos (US$500) a month with a lifetime $10,000 peso (approximately US$833) monthly pension for widows of soldiers killed in action.[20]

The principal units of the Mexican army are ten infantry brigades and a number of independent regiments and infantry battalions. The main maneuver elements of the army are organized in three corps, each consisting of three to four infantry brigades (plus other units), all based in and around Mexico City and its metropolitan area. Distinct from the brigade formations, independent regiments and battalions are assigned to zonal garrisons (52 in total) in each of the country's 12 military regions. Infantry battalions, composed of approximately 300–350 troops, generally are deployed in each zone, and certain zones are assigned an additional motorized cavalry regiment or an artillery regiment.[21]

Regional command

Mexican cadet
Cadets of the Heroic Military Academy (Mexico) with a golden eagle (September 2004).
Arriaje de bandera Plaza de la Constitución (México)
Every afternoon, a Mexican Army platoon lowers the monumental flag in Constitution Square or Zócalo

México is divided into twelve Military Regions composed of forty-four subordinate Military Zones [the 2007 ed. of the IISS lists 12 regions, 45 zones]. Operational needs determine how many zones are in each region, with corresponding increases and decreases in troop strength.

Usually on the secretary of defence's recommendation, the senior zone commander is also the commander of the military region containing the military zone. A military zone commander has jurisdiction over every unit operating in his territory, including the Rurales (Rural Defense Force) that occasionally have been a Federal political counterweight to the power of state governors. Zone commanders provide the national defence secretary with socio-political conditions intelligence about rural areas. Moreover, they traditionally have acted in co-ordination with the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) on planning and resources deployment.

Military Region Headquarter city States in Region
I México, D.F. Distrito Federal, Hidalgo, Estado de México, Morelos
II Mexicali, Baja California Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora
III Mazatlán, Sinaloa Sinaloa, Durango
IV Monterrey, Nuevo León Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas
V Guadalajara, Jalisco Aguascalientes, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas
VI Veracruz, Veracruz Puebla, Tlaxcala, central and northern Veracruz
VII Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas Chiapas, Tabasco
VIII Ixcotel, Oaxaca Oaxaca, southern Veracruz
IX Cumbres de Llano Largo, Guerrero Guerrero
X Mérida, Yucatán Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatán
XI Torreón, Coahuila Chihuahua, Coahuila
XII Irapuato, Guanajuato Guanajuato, Michoacán, Querétaro
Military Zones

Tactical units

Mexican soldiers at ceremony honoring 201st Fighter Squadron 3-6-09
Mexican Paratroopers (March 2009).

The primary units of the Mexican army are ten brigades and a number of independent regiments and infantry battalions.

The Brigades, all based in and around Mexico City and its metropolitan area, are the only real maneuver elements in the army. With their support units, they are believed to account for over 40 percent of the country's ground forces. According to The Military Balance, published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the army has 10 active brigades: one armored, two infantry, one motorized infantry, one airborne, one combat engineer, three military police (the 1st and 2nd, plus the 4th MP Brigade, raised 2015), and the Presidential Guard Brigade – the latter includes a reaction group, (grupo de reaccion inmediata y potente, G.R.I.P.), whose members are trained in martial arts such as karate, aikijutsu, tae kwon do, kick boxing, kung fu, judo, and silat; furthermore, they are trained in techniques and tactics in order to protect high-ranking officials and civil servants, such as the President. The Third military police brigade was transferred to the Federal Preventive Police in 2008. The armored brigade is one of two new brigades formed since 1990 as part of a reorganization made possible by an increase in overall strength of about 25,000 troops. The brigade consists of three armored regiments and one of mechanized infantry. Each of the two infantry brigades consists of three infantry battalions and an artillery battalion. The motorized infantry brigade is composed of three motorized infantry regiments. The airborne brigade consists of two army battalions, one air force battalion and one Naval Infantry battalion. The elite Presidential Guard Corps, of division size, reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for providing military security for the president and for visiting dignitaries. The division consists of five MP foot guards battalions organized into two brigades each, one special forces battalion, one artillery battalion and one cavalry squadron. The 5 brigades together form the First Army Corps (1er Cuerpo de Ejercito).

Distinct from the brigade formations are independent regiments (all regiments are battalion sized) and battalions assigned to zonal garrisons. These independent units consist of the following:

  • 109 infantry battalions (with more being planned for activation)
  • 15 Mechanized infantry regiments
  • 32 Armored Cavalry regiments
  • 20 Armored Reconnaissance Regiments
  • 24 Field Artillery regiments
  • 10 Field Artillery Gun battalions, and
  • 6 Mortar Artillery battalions
  • plus est. 16 military police battalions

Infantry battalions are small, each of approximately 300 troops, and are generally deployed in each zone. Certain zones are also assigned a light armored cavalry regiment, mechanized infantry regiment or one of the 24 field artillery regiments and 10 field artillery battalions. Smaller detachments are often detailed to patrol more inaccessible areas of the countryside, helping to maintain order and resolve disputes.

Special Forces Corps

The Army has a Special Forces Corps unified command with 3 Special Forces Brigades, a High Command GAFE group, a GAFE group assigned to the Airborne Brigade, 74 independent Special Forces Battalions and 36 Amphibious Special Forces Groups.

The Special Forces Brigades consist of nine SF battalions. The 1st Brigade has the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions; the 2nd Brigade has the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions; and the 3rd Brigade has the 4th and 9th Battalions and a Rapid Intervention Force group.

The High Command GAFE is a group with no more than 100 members and is specially trained in counter-terrorist tactics. They receive orders directly from the President of Mexico.

The Amphibious Special Forces Groups are trained in amphibious warfare, they give the army extended abilities in riverline and coastal operations in peacetime and in war.

Special Operations Forces

Name Headquarters Structure and purpose
Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces Corps) Classified
Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando (High Command Airmobil Group Special Forces) Classified
Grupos Anfibios de Fuerzas Especiales (Amphibious Special Forces Group) Classified The Amphibious Special Forces Groups allow the army to extend their operations of ground troops in the coastal and inland waters, in close coordination with the Mexican Navy. 36 battalion-sized formations are in service today.

Estado Mayor Presidencial

Estado Mayor Presidencial Mexico
Seal of the Estado Mayor Presidencial.

The Estado Mayor Presidencial (Presidential Guard) was a specific agency of the Mexican Army that is responsible for the safety and well being of the President in the practice of all of the activities of his office. On 24 March 1985 President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado reformed the regulation of the presidential guard and published it in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) on 4 April 1986. In this version the responsibilities of this agency included assisting the President in obtaining general information, planning the President's activities under security and preventive measures for his safety. This regulation was in force during the administrations of Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon. On 16 January 2004 during the administration of President Vicente Fox Quesada a new regulation of the Presidential Guard was issued and published by the Official Gazette of the Federation on 23 January of that same year. This ordinance updated the structure, organization and operation of the Presidential guard as a technical military body and administrative unit of the Presidency to facilitate the implementation of the powers of his office.[22][23]

The EMP was dissolved in 2018 and its military arm, the Presidential Guards Corps, has had its command becoming a joint service formation, with its units coming under the collective responsibility of the Secretariats of National Defense and the Navy, its three Army infantry battalions now converted into military police battalions as part of now two military police brigades under the Secretariat.

Paratrooper Corps

  • Brigada de Fusileros Paracaidistas (Parachute Rifle Brigade) is a three-battalion paratrooper unit created in 1969 within the Mexican Army but utilizing aircraft from the Air Force. Its headquarters is in Mexico City and its training takes place in the Centro de Adiestramiento de Paracaidismo (Airborne Training Center). A battalion can be deployed rapidly to any part of the country.


Generales Jefes Oficiales
Gral sedena
Gral divn
Gral bgda
Gral bgdr
Corl ejer
Tnte corl
Mayr ejer
Capt 1ero
Capt 2ndo
Tnte ejer
Sub- tnte
Secretario de la Defensa Nacional
General de División
General de Brigada
General Brigadier
Coronel (Infantry)
Teniente Coronel (Infantry)
Mayor (Infantry)
Capitán Primero (Infantry)
Capitán Segundo (Infantry)
Teniente (Infantry)
Subteniente (Infantry)

Rank badges have a band of colour indicating branch:

Lula in Chapultepec
Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Heroic Cadets Memorial in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City. The monument was designed by architect Enrique Aragón and sculpted by Ernesto Tamaríz at the entrance to Chapultepec Park in 1952.[24]
UH-60 Black Hawk
A Mexican army UH-60 Blackhawk landing in the Zocalo, Mexico City.
  • Gold: Generals
  • Light Brown:
    • General Staff
    • Presidential Guard
  • Scarlet: Infantry
  • Burgundy: Artillery
  • Red-Brown: Quartermaster and Materiel ("Materiales de Guerra")
  • Light Orange-Brown: Transportation ("Transportes")
  • Green:
    • "Justicia"
    • Military Police
  • Blue:
    • Engineers
    • Signals and Communications ("Transmisiones")
  • Light Blue: Cavalry
  • Light Gray-Blue: Cartography
  • Purple:
    • Army Aviation
    • Parachute Brigade
  • Gray: Bands
  • Light Gray: Armor
  • Very light Gray: Intelligence
  • Brownish Gray: Administration and Army Intendancy ("Administracion e Intendencia")
  • Yellow and Light Blue:
    • Medical
    • Veterinary and Remount

Military Industry

Mexican Army band playing.
MI-26 en Mexico
A Mexican Army Mi-26 heavy transport helicopter.
Mexican army jeep
Mexican army Humvee on 16 September 2007 parade

Since the start of the 21st century, the Army has been steadily modernising to become competitive with the armies of other American countries[25] and have also taken certain steps to decrease spending and dependency on foreign equipment in order to become more autonomous such as the domestic production of the FX-05 rifle designed in Mexico and the commitment to researching, designing and manufacturing domestic military systems such as military electronics and body armor.[26]

The Mexican military counts on three of the following departments to fulfill the general tasks of the Army and Air Force:[27]

  • Dirección General de Industria Militar (D.G.I.M.) – In charge of the designing, manufacturing and maintenance of vehicles and weapons, such as the assembly of the FX-05 assault rifle and the DN series armored vehicles. On 19 July 2009, SEDENA spent 488 million pesos ($37 million U.S.) to transfer technology to manufacture the G36V German made rifle. Although it is not known if this will be manufactured as a cheaper alternative to the FX-05 meant for the army or if it is to be manufactured for military police and other law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Police. The FX-05 is planned to become the new standard rifle for the armed forces replacing the Heckler & Koch G3, so it is not yet clear what the G-36 rifles will be used for.[28] As of 2011, D.G.I.M. is in charge of assembling the Oshkosh SandCat, the modified Mexican Army version of the Sandcat is named as the DN-XI and will be presented in the Mexican Independence Day parade on September 2012.[29][30]
  • Dirección General de Fábricas de Vestuario y Equipo (D.G.FA.V.E.) (General Directorate of Clothing and Equipment Manufacturing) – Since its creation, the department has grown from a simple clothing factory to an Industrial complex in charge of the supply and design of the Army/Air Force's uniform, shoes/boots, combat helmet and ballistic vest. Until the mid-2000s, the Mexican army's standard combat uniform color was olive green. The army then switched to all woodland camouflage and Desert Camouflage Uniform. In July 2008, the D.G.FA.V.E. announced plans for creating the country's first digital uniforms, which would consist of Woodland/jungle and Desert camouflage; these uniforms entered service in 2009.[31]
  • Granjas Militares (Military farms) – In charge of Agriculture; crop cultivation is a necessity to maintain the health and economy of the Army/Air Force. The Mexican Army has four established SEDENA farms:[32]

Modern equipment of the Mexican Army

Mexican Army
New Mexican army uniform


Mexican Army ERC 90 F1 Lynx during the Independence day Parade.
VCR-TT 6X6 APC on Madero Street in downtown Mexico City after Independence Day celebrations
Fuerzas Armadas de México 2
Mexican cavalry
Mexican Army vehicle inventory
Vehicle/System Type Versions Origin
Armored fighting vehicles
Armored vehicles
Panhard ERC 90 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle ERC 90 F1 Lynx  France
Panhard VCR[33] Armored Personnel Carrier VCR-TT  France
Véhicule Blindé Léger Armored all-terrain vehicle VBL MILAN  France
Oshkosh Sand Cat[29][34][35] Armored Personnel Vehicle Sand Cat – 245 Sandcats were delivered and have Type IV level Armored protection[36]  Israel/ United States
DN-XI Armored Personnel Vehicle The DN-XI is a Mexican modified & designed version of the Oshkosh Sandcat. 100 on order.[37] 1,000 to be acquired by 2018.[38]  Mexico
M8 Greyhound Armored Personnel Vehicle Small numbers modernized  United States
Tracked armored vehicles
Sedena-Henschel HWK-11 Infantry fighting vehicle HWK-11  Mexico/ Germany
AMX-VCI Armored Personnel Carrier DNC-1: upgraded by SEDENA  France
Infantry transport vehicles
Humvee[39] Light Utility Vehicle HMMWV  United States 3,335 order in 2014 + 2,200 order more in 2016.
Chevrolet Silverado Light Utility Vehicle GMT900  United States
Ford F-Series Light Utility Vehicle F-150  United States
Dodge Ram Light Utility Vehicle Variants of 4x4 and 6x6  United States
Yamaha Rhino Light Utility Vehicle Rhino  Japan
Chevrolet Cheyenne Light Utility Vehicle Cheyenne  United States
M520 Goer Utility Vehicle M520  United States
Freightliner Trucks Utility Vehicle M2  United States
M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck Utility Vehicle M35  United States
DINA S.A. Utility Vehicle S-Series / D-Series  Mexico
Mercedes Benz Utility Vehicle L-Series  Germany
Chevrolet Utility Vehicle Kodiak  United States
Freightliner Trucks satellite communications intelligence  United States

Individual weapons

FX-05 Cutaway
FX-05 Xiuhcoatl (Fire Serpent) assault rifle
G3a3 edit
G3A3 battle rifle
Heckler & Koch MP5 b
Heckler & Koch P7M13
PSG-1 rifle museum 2014
Name Caliber Type Origin
Heckler & Koch G3 7.62×51mm NATO Battle rifle. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
FX-05 Xiuhcoatl 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle  Mexico
Heckler & Koch HK33 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
M4 carbine 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle  United States
Heckler & Koch MP5 9×19mm Parabellum Submachine gun. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
FN P90 5.7×28mm Submachine gun[40]  Belgium
Heckler & Koch P7 9×19mm Parabellum Pistol. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
Sig Sauer P226 9x19mm Parabellum Pistol   Switzerland
Beretta 92FS 9×19mm Parabellum Pistol  Italy
FN Five-seveN 5.7×28mm Pistol  Belgium
HK PSG1 Morelos Bicentenario 7.62×51mm NATO Sniper rifle. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
Barrett M82 .50 BMG Sniper rifle  United States
FN Minimi 5.56×45mm NATO Machine gun  Belgium
Heckler & Koch HK21 7.62×51mm NATO Machine gun. Made under license from Heckler & Koch  West Germany
Rheinmetall MG 3 7.62×51mm NATO Machine gun. Made under license from Rheinmetall  West Germany
M2 Browning machine gun .50 BMG Machine gun  United States
M-134 minigun 7.62×51mm NATO Gatling-type machine gun  United States
Mk 19 40×53mm Grenade machine gun  United States
Milkor MGL 40×46mm Grenade launcher  South Africa
M203 grenade launcher 40×46mm Grenade launcher  United States
Heckler & Koch AG-C/GLM 40×46mm Grenade launcher  Germany
Mondragón F-08 7×57mm Mauser automatic rifle used for ceremonial occasions  Mexico
Winchester Model 54 7.62×51mm Bolt-action rifle  United States
CornerShot Weapon accessory  Israel/ United States
Remington 870 12 gauge gauge pump-action shotgun  United States
M1014 12 gauge semi automatic shotgun  Italy


Name Type Versions Origin
Self-propelled artillery
SDN Humvee Self-propelled artillery 106mm  Mexico
Towed artillery
M101 Towed howitzer 105mm  United States
OTO Melara Mod 56 Towed howitzer 105mm  Italy
M90 Norinco Towed howitzer 105mm  China
Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1 Heavy mortar 120mm  France
M29 mortar Medium mortar 81mm  United States
Brandt 60 mm LR Gun-mortar Light mortar 60mm  France
Mortero Light mortar 60mm  Mexico
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon Towed anti-aircraft artillery 35mm   Switzerland
M114 Howitzer 155mm  United States

Anti-armor weapons

RPG-29 USGov
RPG-29 Rocket propelled grenade
MILAN P1220770
Name Type Versions Origin
Light anti-tank weapons
Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle multi-role recoilless rifle 84mm  Sweden
RL-83 Blindicide light anti-tank rocket 83mm  Belgium
SMAW anti-tank rocket 105mm  United States
RPG-29[41] anti-tank rocket 105mm  Russia
Anti-armor Recoilless rifles
M40 106 mm recoilless rifle anti-tank gun 106mm  United States
Anti-tank guided missiles
MILAN Anti-tank guided missile  France

See also

Further reading

Colonial era

  • Archer, Christon I. The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760–1810. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1977.
  • Archer, Christon I. "The Officer Corps in New Spain: the Martial Career, 1759–1821." Jahrbuch für Geschicte von Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas 19 (1982).
  • McAlister, Lyle. The "Fuero Militar" in New Spain, 1764–1800. Gainesville: University of Florida Press 1957.


  • Camp, Roderic Ai. Generals in the Palacio: The Military in Modern Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press 1992.
  • Díaz Díaz, Fernando. Caudillos y caciques: Antonio López de Santa Anna y Juan Alvarez. Mexico City: El Colegio de México 1972.
  • Fowler, Will. Military Political Identity and Reformism in Independent Mexico: An Analysis of the Memorias de Guerra (1821–1855). London: Institute of Latin American Studies 1996.
  • Lieuwen, Edwin. Mexican Militarism: The Political Rise and Fall of the Revolutionary Army. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1968.

Neufeld, Stephen B. The Blood Contingent: The Military and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1876–1911. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2017.

  • Ronfeldt, David, editor. The Modern Mexican Military: A Reassessment. La Jolla: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego 1984.
  • Serrano, Mónica. "The Armed Branch of the State: Civil-Military Relations in Mexico," Journal of Latin American Studies 27 (1995)
  • Vanderwood, Paul. Disorder and Progress: Bandits, Police, and Mexican Development. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1981.
  • Wager, J. Stephen. The Mexican Military: Approaches to the 21st Century: Coping with a New World Order. Carlisle PA: Strategic Studies Institute: U.S. Army War College 1994.


  1. ^ 19 de febrero.- Día del Ejército Mexicano. Archived 1 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  2. ^ Sola, Bertha. "Día de los Niños Héroes Archived 21 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish).
  3. ^ "Country Profile: Mexico" (PDF). Library of Congress Federal Research Division. July 2008. p. 25. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Pohl, John M. D. Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec Armies. p. 9. ISBN 1-85532-159-9.
  5. ^ "Los Origenes" (in Spanish). Secretaria De La Defensa Nacional. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  6. ^ Bueno, Jose Maria. Tropas Virreynales (1) Nueva Espana, Yucatan Y Luisiana. pp. 62–63. ISBN 84-398-0086-X.
  7. ^ Chartrand, Rene. The Spanish Army in North America 1700-1793. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-84908-597-7.
  8. ^ Bueno, Jose Maria. Tropas Virreynales (1) Nueva Espana, Yucatan Y Luisiana. pp. 35 & 38. ISBN 84-398-0086-X.
  9. ^ Michele Cunningham, Mexico and the Foreign Policy of Napoleon III (2001)
  10. ^ Rene Chartrand, page 9, "The Mexican Adventure 1861–67, ISBN 1 85532 430 X
  11. ^ Chartrand, Rene. The Mexican Adventure 1861-67. pp. 18 and 23. ISBN 1-85532-430-X.
  12. ^ Rene Chartrand, page 11, "The Mexican Adventure 1861–67, ISBN 1 85532 430 X
  13. ^ Meyer, Michael C. The Oxford History of Mexico. pp. 409–410. ISBN 0-19-511228-8.
  14. ^ John Keegan, pages 470–471, "World Armies", ISBN 0-333-17236-1
  15. ^ Meyer, Michael C. The Oxford History of Mexico. pp. 405–406. ISBN 0-19-511228-8.
  16. ^ P. Jowett & A. de Quesada, pages 27–28 ""The Mexican Revolution 1910–20, ISBN 1 84176 989 4
  17. ^ Meyer, Michael C. The Oxford History of Mexico. pp. 450–451. ISBN 0-19-511228-8.
  18. ^ John Keegan, page 471 "World Armies", ISBN 0-333-17236-1
  19. ^ "Mexican government sends 6,500 to state scarred by drug violence". International Herald Tribune. 11 December 2002. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Mexico" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 August 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Estado Mayor Presidencial". Archived from the original on 16 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  23. ^ "México – Presidencia de la República | Estado Mayor Presidencial". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  24. ^ Espínola, Lorenza. "Los Niños Héroes, un símbolo" (in Spanish). Comisión Organizadora de la Conmemoración del Bicentenario del inicio del movimiento de Independencia Nacional y del Centenario del inicio de la Revolución Mexicana. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  25. ^ La Jornada. "Equipo y materiales del Ejército, obsoletos, advierte el general Galván". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  26. ^ "Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional". Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional". Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  28. ^ "Alistan compra de 4 Black Hawk para PF – El Universal – México". El Universal. 18 July 2009. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  29. ^ a b Mexico orders Oshkosh SandCats – Jane's Defence Weekly
  30. ^ "Foro Modelismo :: Ver tema – Novedades en el Ejercito Mexicano. Pase de Revista 2012". Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  31. ^ Cambia Ejército uniformes – El Mañana – Nacional Archived 4 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional |". Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  33. ^ [1] Archived 25 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Nuevos Vehiculos Oshkosh Sandcat TPV para el Ejercito – Página 3". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  35. ^ "Mexico's security and defense trends". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  36. ^ Archived 9 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ Mexico starts production of first 100 indigenous 4x4 armoured vehicles DN-XI Archived 29 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine –, 19 December 2012
  38. ^ Mexico; Army funds increase of indigenous MRAP production line Archived 5 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine –, 9 September 2013
  39. ^ "grupo reforma". 6 April 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  40. ^ "Aumentan Vigilancia Durante Desfile Militar" (in Spanish). El Siglo de Torreón. 17 October 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 March 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

Army ranks and insignia of Mexico

This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Mexican Army. Spanish language ranks are in italics, with English translations. Rank insignia of the Mexican Air Force and Mexican Army are identical, as are the ranks, with the exception of two general ranks. Currently the ranks are supported with the Fuerza Aerea (air force) ranks for the air force itself only, with special titles in the army for all ranks per their respective specialty.

Arturo Guzmán Decena

Arturo Guzmán Decena (13 January 1976 – 21 November 2002), also known by his code name Z-1, was a Mexican Army Special Forces officer and high-ranking member of Los Zetas, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas. He defected the military in 1997 and formed Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel's former paramilitary wing, under the leadership of the kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén.Guzmán Decena was born in a poor family in Puebla and joined the military as a teenager to escape from poverty. While in the military, he was a talented and bright soldier, earning a position in the Special Forces of the Mexican military by the mid-1990s. During his military career, Guzmán Decena received counter-insurgency training, acquired skills in explosives, and learned how to track down and apprehend his enemies from an elite combat group trained by the U.S. Special Forces and the Israel Defense Forces.He began to take bribes from the Gulf Cartel while still serving in the military, but eventually defected to work full-time for the criminal organization in 1997. For years he recruited other members of the Mexican Armed Forces to form Los Zetas.

He served as the right-hand man of Cárdenas Guillén until 21 November 2002, when he was gunned down and killed by the Mexican Army in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

Battle of Puebla

The Battle of Puebla (Spanish: Batalla de Puebla; French: Bataille de Puebla) took place on 5 May 1862, near Puebla City during the Second French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French soldiers. The French eventually overran the Mexicans in subsequent battles, but the Mexican victory at Puebla against a much better equipped and larger French army provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and also helped slow the French army's advance towards Mexico City.

The Mexican victory is celebrated yearly on the fifth of May. Its celebration is regional in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is celebrated as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. In the United States, this holiday has evolved into the very popular Cinco de Mayo holiday, a celebration of Mexican heritage.

Battle of San Jacinto

The Battle of San Jacinto (Spanish: Batalla de San Jacinto), fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.

General Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, and General Martín Perfecto de Cos both escaped during the battle. Santa Anna was captured the next day on April 22 and Cos on April 24, 1836. After being held about three weeks as a prisoner of war, Santa Anna signed the peace treaty that dictated that the Mexican army leave the region, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country. These treaties did not specifically recognize Texas as a sovereign nation, but stipulated that Santa Anna was to lobby for such recognition in Mexico City. Sam Houston became a national celebrity, and the Texans' rallying cries from events of the war, "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" became etched into Texan history and legend.

Battle of the Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing the Texian and immigrant occupiers. Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians, both legal Texas settlers and illegal immigrants from the United States, to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the rebellion.

Several months previously, Texians had driven all Mexican troops out of Mexican Texas. About 100 Texians were then garrisoned at the Alamo. The Texian force grew slightly with the arrival of reinforcements led by eventual Alamo co-commanders James Bowie and William B. Travis. On February 23, approximately 1,500 Mexicans marched into San Antonio de Béxar as the first step in a campaign to retake Texas. For the next 10 days, the two armies engaged in several skirmishes with minimal casualties. Aware that his garrison could not withstand an attack by such a large force, Travis wrote multiple letters pleading for more men and supplies from Texas and from the United States, but the Texians were reinforced by fewer than 100 men because the United States had a treaty with Mexico, and supplying men and weapons would have been an overt act of war.

In the early morning hours of March 6, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repelling two attacks, the Texians were unable to fend off a third attack. As Mexican soldiers scaled the walls, most of the Texian fighters withdrew into interior buildings. Occupiers unable to reach these points were slain by the Mexican cavalry as they attempted to escape. Between five and seven Texians may have surrendered; if so, they were quickly executed. Most eyewitness accounts reported between 182 and 257 Texians died, while most historians of the Alamo agree that around 600 Mexicans were killed or wounded. Several noncombatants were sent to Gonzales to spread word of the Texian defeat. The news sparked both a strong rush to join the Texian army and a panic, known as "The Runaway Scrape", in which the Texian army, most settlers, and the new, self-proclaimed but officially unrecognized, Republic of Texas government fled eastward toward the United States ahead of the advancing Mexican Army.

Within Mexico, the battle has often been overshadowed by events from the Mexican–American War of 1846–48. In 19th-century Texas, the Alamo complex gradually became known as a battle site rather than a former mission. The Texas Legislature purchased the land and buildings in the early part of the 20th century and designated the Alamo chapel as an official Texas State Shrine. The Alamo has been the subject of numerous non-fiction works beginning in 1843. Most Americans, however, are more familiar with the myths and legends spread by many of the movie and television adaptations, including the 1950s Disney mini-series Davy Crockett and John Wayne's 1960 film The Alamo.

Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales

The Mexican Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces Corps) is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army. Formerly the GAFE (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales | Special-Forces Airmobile Group), the SF Corps has six battalions; one is the Fuerza especial de reaccion, a quick-response unit, and one is assigned to the Paratroopers Rifle Brigade; the motto of the SF Corps is Todo por México (Everything for Mexico). Within the SF Corps, there are regular, intermediate, and veteran -service troops. The regular-service soldiers usually operate as light infantry. The intermediate-service soldiers (lieutenants and captains) usually are instructors. The veteran-service soldiers of the Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando (FEs High Command) handle Black-Ops missions. Also known as the COIFE, the Special Forces Corps of the Mexican Army is equivalent to the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Fannin Battleground State Historic Site

The Fannin Battleground State Historic Site commemorates the Battle of Coleto Creek, a battle of the Texas Revolution, fought on March 19 and 20, 1836 between Texian forces commanded by Col. James W. Fannin and the Mexican Army commanded by Mexican General Jose de Urrea. Eventually surrounded and outnumbered, Fannin surrendered to the Mexican Army. He and his troops were executed several days later at nearby Presidio La Bahia.Fannin Battleground State Historic Site is located east of Goliad in Goliad County, Texas. The citizens of Goliad County donated the 14-acre battleground to the State of Texas around 1913. The state originally named it Fannin State Park. The site is currently operated by the Texas Historical Commission and features a stone obelisk, interpretive exhibit, group pavilion, and picnic area.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano (25 December 1974 – 7 October 2012), commonly referred to by his aliases Z-3 and El Lazca, was a Mexican drug lord and the leader of Los Zetas drug cartel. He was one of the most-wanted Mexican drug lords.Lazcano joined the Mexican Army at the age of 17 and later ascended to the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE), the Mexican Army special forces. During his tenure in the Mexican Army, Lazcano reportedly received military training from the Israeli Defense Forces and the United States Army, but eventually deserted in 1998, after eight years of service. Upon his desertion, he was recruited by the drug lord Osiel Cárdenas Guillén and Arturo Guzmán Decena with around 30 other soldiers to work as the enforcers of the Gulf Cartel, forming the paramilitary group known as Los Zetas. His torture methods earned him the nickname "El Verdugo" ('The Executioner'), particularly for killing his victims by feeding them to lions and tigers he kept in a ranch.Lazcano died in a shootout with the Mexican Navy on 7 October 2012. After his death, his body was taken from the funeral home by an armed gang.

Juan Moya

Juan Moya y Delgado (1806–1874) was a prominent Tejano landowner and Mexican army captain who fought in the Texas Revolution.

List of Texian survivors of the Battle of the Alamo

When the Battle of the Alamo ended at approximately 6:30 a.m. on March 6, 1836, fewer than fifty of the almost 250 Texians who had occupied the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas, were alive. The conflict, a part of the Texas Revolution, was the first step in Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna's attempt to retake the province of Texas after an insurgent army of Texian settlers, native "Tejanos", and adventurers from the United States had driven out all Mexican troops the previous year. As part of his preparations for marching on Texas, in late December 1835 Santa Anna had convinced the Mexican Congress to pass a resolution that all "foreigners landing on the coast of the Republic or invading its territory by land, armed, and with the intent of attacking our country, will be deemed pirates" and subject to immediate execution.Santa Anna led an army to San Antonio de Bexar, arriving on February 23, 1836, and immediately initiating a siege of the Alamo, which housed Texian Army troops. As the Mexican Army had approached San Antonio, several of the Alamo defenders brought their families into the Alamo to keep them safe. During the twelve days of the siege, Alamo co-commander William Barret Travis sent multiple couriers to the acting Texas government, the remaining Texas army under James Fannin, and various Texas communities, asking for reinforcements, provisions, and ammunition.The siege culminated in an early-morning assault by Mexican troops which left almost all of the defenders dead. Some reports claimed that several Texians surrendered but were quickly executed on Santa Anna's orders. Of the Texians who fought during the battle, only two survived: Travis's slave, Joe, was assumed by the Mexican soldiers to be a noncombatant, and Brigido Guerrero, who had deserted from the Mexican Army several months before, convinced the Mexican soldiers that he had been taken prisoner by the Texians. Alamo co-commander James Bowie's freedman, Sam, was also spared, although it is not known if he participated in the fighting.

During the battle, most of the women and children had gathered in the sacristy of the church. As Mexican soldiers entered the room, a boy, thought to be the son of defender Anthony Wolf, stood up to rearrange a blanket around his shoulders. Mistaking him for a Texian soldier, the Mexican soldiers bayoneted him. In the confusion, at least one of the women was lightly wounded. Bowie's family, including Gertrudis Navarro, Juana Navarro Alsbury and her son, were hiding in one of the rooms along the west wall. Navarro opened the door to their room to signal that they meant no harm. A Mexican officer soon arrived and led the women to a spot along one of the walls where they would be relatively safe. All of the women and children were eventually placed under the protection of an officer and escorted out of the Alamo and imprisoned in the home of the Musquiz family.On March 7, Santa Anna interviewed each of the survivors individually. He was impressed with Susanna Dickinson, the young widow of Alamo artillery captain Almaron Dickinson, and offered to adopt her infant daughter Angelina and have the child educated in Mexico City. Susanna Dickinson refused the offer, which was not extended to Juana Navarro Alsbury for her son who was of similar age.Santa Anna ordered that the Tejano civilian survivors be allowed to return to their homes in San Antonio. Dickinson and Joe were allowed to travel towards the Anglo settlements, escorted by Ben, a former slave from the United States who served as Mexican Colonel Juan Almonte's cook. Each woman was given $2 and a blanket and was allowed to go free and spread the news of the destruction that awaited those who opposed the Mexican government. Before releasing Joe, Santa Anna ordered that the surviving members of the Mexican Army parade in a grand review, in the hopes that Joe and Dickinson would deliver a warning to the remainder of the Texian forces that his army was unbeatable.When the small party of survivors arrived in Gonzales on March 13 they found Sam Houston, the commander of all Texian forces, waiting there with about 400 men. After Dickinson and Joe related the details of the battle and the strength of Santa Anna's army, Houston advised all civilians to evacuate and then ordered the army to retreat. This was the beginning of the Runaway Scrape, in which much of the population of Texas, including the acting government, rushed to the East to escape the advancing Mexican Army.

Los Ántrax

Los Ántrax is an enforcer gang of Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. The group was led by the drug lords Jesús Peña (alias "El 20"), José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa (alias "El Chino Ántrax"), René Velázquez Valenzuela (alias "El Sargento Phoenix"), among others, and they are responsible for a number of homicides and for providing armed security services to Ismael El Mayo Zambada. The gang operates in the capital city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, where its members conduct homicides and violent attacks.

Manuel Micheltorena

Joseph Manuel María Joaquin Micheltorena y Llano (8 June 1804 – 7 September 1853) was a brigadier general of the Mexican Army, adjutant-general of the same, governor, commandant-general and inspector of the department of Alta California, then within Mexico. Micheltorena was the last non-Californian Mexican governor before Californian native son Pío Pico took office.

Mexican Armed Forces

The Mexican Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de México) are composed of two independent entities: the Mexican Army and the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Army includes the Mexican Air Force (FAM). The Presidential Guard, Military Police, and Special Forces are part of the Army, but have their own chain of command. The Mexican Navy includes the Naval Infantry Force (Marine Corps) and the Naval Aviation (FAN).

The Army and Navy are controlled by two separate government departments, the National Defense Secretariat and the Naval Secretariat, and maintain two independent chains of command, with no joint command except the President of Mexico.

Mexican–American War

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México (United States intervention in Mexico), was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

U.S. forces quickly occupied the regional capital of Santa Fe de Nuevo México along the upper Rio Grande and the Pacific coast province of Alta California, and then moved south. Meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron of the U.S. Navy blockaded the Pacific coast farther south in lower Baja California Territory. The U.S. Army under Major General Winfield Scott eventually captured Mexico City through stiff resistance, having marched west from the port of Veracruz on the Gulf Coast, where the Americans staged their first ever amphibious landing.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, forced onto the remnant Mexican government, ended the war and enforced the Mexican Cession of the northern territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. The U.S. agreed to pay $15 million compensation for the physical damage of the war and assumed $3.25 million of debt already owed earlier by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico acknowledged the loss of what became the State of Texas and accepted the Rio Grande as its northern border with the United States.

The victory and territorial expansion Polk envisioned inspired great patriotism in the United States, but the war and treaty drew some criticism in the U.S. for their casualties, monetary cost, and heavy-handedness, particularly early on. The question of how to treat the new acquisitions also intensified the debate over slavery. Mexico's worsened domestic turmoil and losses of life, territory and national prestige left it in what prominent Mexicans called a "state of degradation and ruin".

Naval ranks and insignia of Mexico

This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Mexican Navy. Spanish language ranks are in italics. Ranks of the Mexican Air Force and Mexican Army are almost identical.

Rank insignia have the executive curl only for officers who graduated from the naval academy, other officers have no curl at all.

Operation Michoacán

Operation Michoacán was a joint operation by Federal Police and the Mexican military to eliminate drug plantations and to combat drug trafficking. Initiated on December 11, 2006, the operation was supervised by The Secretary of Public Safety, Attorney General of Mexico (PGR), Secretary of the Interior, Mexican Navy and Mexican Army.

On some occasions, state and municipal police have participated despite not being part of it. The joint operation has distinguished itself as one of the operations against organized crime, drug trafficking in this case, which has employed the largest number of military and police elements, as well as most state forces.

Operation Quintana Roo

Operation Quintana Roo (Spanish:Operacion Quintana Roo) is an anti-drug trafficking military operation jointly conducted by the Mexican army and navy in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The operation began in early February 2009 after the death of former Brigadier General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñónez and two other men.

Texas Revolution

The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Texas Mexicans) in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.

The revolution began in October 1835, after a decade of political and cultural clashes between the Mexican government and the increasingly large population of American settlers in Texas. The Mexican government had become increasingly centralized and the rights of its citizens had become increasingly curtailed, particularly regarding immigration from the United States. Colonists and Tejanos disagreed on whether the ultimate goal was independence or a return to the Mexican Constitution of 1824. While delegates at the Consultation (provisional government) debated the war's motives, Texians and a flood of volunteers from the United States defeated the small garrisons of Mexican soldiers by mid-December 1835. The Consultation declined to declare independence and installed an interim government, whose infighting led to political paralysis and a dearth of effective governance in Texas. An ill-conceived proposal to invade Matamoros siphoned much-needed volunteers and provisions from the fledgling Texian Army. In March 1836, a second political convention declared independence and appointed leadership for the new Republic of Texas.

Determined to avenge Mexico's honor, Santa Anna vowed to personally retake Texas. His Army of Operations entered Texas in mid-February 1836 and found the Texians completely unprepared. Mexican General José de Urrea led a contingent of troops on the Goliad Campaign up the Texas coast, defeating all Texian troops in his path and executing most of those who surrendered. Santa Anna led a larger force to San Antonio de Béxar (or Béxar), where his troops defeated the Texian garrison in the Battle of the Alamo, killing almost all of the defenders.

A newly created Texian army under the command of Sam Houston was constantly on the move, while terrified civilians fled with the army, in a melee known as the Runaway Scrape. On March 31, Houston paused his men at Groce's Landing on the Brazos River, and for the next two weeks, the Texians received rigorous military training. Becoming complacent and underestimating the strength of his foes, Santa Anna further subdivided his troops. On April 21, Houston's army staged a surprise assault on Santa Anna and his vanguard force at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Mexican troops were quickly routed, and vengeful Texians executed many who tried to surrender. Santa Anna was taken hostage; in exchange for his life, he ordered the Mexican army to retreat south of the Rio Grande. Mexico refused to recognize the Republic of Texas, and intermittent conflicts between the two countries continued into the 1840s. The annexation of Texas as the 28th state of the United States, in 1845, led directly to the Mexican–American War.

Timeline of the Texas Revolution

This is a timeline of the Texas Revolution, spanning the time from the earliest independence movements of the area of Texas, over the declaration of independence from Spain, up to the secession of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

The first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired at the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. This marked the beginning of the revolution. Over the next three months, the Texan colonists drove all Mexican army troops out of the province. In January 1836, Mexican president and general Antonio López de Santa Anna led Mexican troops into Texas to put down the rebellion. General Jose Urrea marched half of the troops up the Texas coast in the Goliad campaign, while Santa Anna led the rest of the troops to San Antonio de Bexar. After a thirteen-day siege, Santa Anna's army defeated the small group of Texans at the Battle of the Alamo and continued east. Many Texans, including the government, fled their homes in the Runaway Scrape. On March 19 the Texas troops marched into an open prairie outside of Goliad during a heavy fog. When they stopped to rest their animals, Urrea and his main army surrounded them. The Texas force numbered at least 300 soldiers, and the Mexicans had 300 to 500 troops. With no choice but battle, Fannin chose to stand and fight near Coleto Creek. Santa Anna and his troops searched for the Texan government and the Texan army led by Sam Houston. On April 21, 1836, the Texans defeated Santa Anna's army at the Battle of San Jacinto; Santa Anna was captured the following day. The Mexican army retreated back to Mexico City, ending the Texas Revolution. Texas was now an independent colony and later joined the United States.

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