General John Pershing led the Punitive Expedition into Mexico in 1916-1917. American troops sought for Pancho Villa and his men after they had raided Columbus, New Mexico. The expedition was a mixed bag in terms of success. Villa’s men were put on the run and many were killed in skirmishes. But Villa himself was never captured—the major goal of the project. And the Mexican government, angry at the incursion into their country, threatened war with the U.S. So American troops were pulled out of Mexico—ostensibly to shift forces to Europe for WWI.