Our good friends over at doubleplusundead bring us the story of an armed confrontation between Mexican soldiers and US Border Patrol agents on US soil. The question in the comments is, doesn’t an armed incursion by soldiers of a foreign power constitute an act of war. Generally speaking, yes. But I’m willing to cut them just a tiny bit of slack. Because I’ve done it too.
When I was stationed in (West) Germany before reunification, there were signs on just about every road warning you when you approached the East German border. There were very definitive signs reminding US personnel that they could not approach closer than 1 kilometer to the border. This was drilled into our heads from our first day in Germany.
I was the driver for the Brigade XO, Lieutenant Colonel “O”. Good man and great leader. We were driving around checking out the area our unit would be expected to defend if the Red hordes ever came streaming west. We spent all day driving down small roads that didn’t even show on the map. Both of us were fairly new in our assignments and neither of us had been to this sector before. Still, it was a beautiful day, in a picturesque setting and we had plenty of coffee and snacks in the truck.
After a while, the setting changed gradually. And then the really weird thing- none of the road signs were in the same shapes and colors we were familiar with. Puzzlement gave way to alarm when we realized we were in East Germany. And not just a little. We were probably about 5km inside. I turned that truck around and went west just as fast as I could. It was an extremely tense 3 or 4 minutes until we found our way back into West Germany. I kept waiting for the Russians or the East German army to show up and throw us into the gulag for the rest of our miserable, forfeit lives. We couldn’t even put up a fight- we had weapons, but no ammo. We figured we got away clean and quickly resolved to not discuss this bit of tourism.
After a few minutes to get our heart rates back into something approaching normalcy, we continued our jaunt around the countryside. That afternoon, we met up with the Brigade commander, who had been touring another part of the sector. Sgt. H and I got together for a smoke and to be out of the way of the bosses. Sgt. H seemed pretty upset. After some gentle prodding, he confessed, “I screwed up! I drove COL Z about 2 miles into East Germany!”
It turns out, in the run-up to reunification, the Germans had taken down the signs on that stretch of the border.