posted on Sep, 8 2003 @ 02:29 AM
This was not the first incident of this nature in Cuba.
1898 a mysterious explosion aboard the battleship Maine in Havana Harbour killed 266 US soldiers and sparked the Spanish-American war with Cuba. The
horrific explosion influenced more than a million volunteers for duty.
The U.S. Army, under-manned and ill-prepared for war, began mobilization for the coming conflict a week before President McKinley's April 23 call for
volunteers. Within days recruiting offices were swamped with patriotic young men, eager to serve in the anticipated conflict. Training began almost
immediately, at several posts and stations around the United States.
Among the ranks of the eager volunteers was the 40-year-old Under Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt. This was a war he had prepared for in
the previous year and, thanks to his aggressive efforts on behalf of the Navy, America's sailors were far better equipped and prepared for war than
the Army. Now Roosevelt wanted to insure that his own personal role on the fields of combat would materialize. The previous December he had made his
feelings about armed conflict abundantly clear in his comments to the Naval War College that, "No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme
triumphs of war." Now that war had finally come, he was determined not to sit it out behind a desk in Washington, D.C.
Among Roosevelt's circle of friends in the Capitol was an Army surgeon who frequently visited and, while in Washington, took time for long walks in
the countryside with the Under Secretary. Dr. Leonard Wood had served in the Indian Campaigns under General Nelson Miles. On April 8, just weeks
before the mobilization of the Army, Dr. Wood was issued the Medal of Honor for personal heroism during the Apache Campaign in Arizona Territory in
the summer of 1886. Long before his award was issued, Roosevelt and Wood had talked often and passionately about events in Cuba and the prospect of
war. "We both felt very strongly that such a war would be as righteous as it would be advantageous to the honor and the interests of the nation,"
Roosevelt later wrote. "After the blowing up of the Maine, we felt that it was inevitable. We then at once began to try and see that we had our
share in it."
[Edited on 8-9-2003 by quaneeri]