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 Cochise and Geronimo 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) Villa . Fort Bliss is now the Army Air Defense Center, training missilemen, artillerymen, and air-defense units.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Miscellaneous U.S. Geography