“A Message to Garcia”, was written one evening, after a dinner. It was about written in one hour on the date of 22FEB1899, on Washington’s birthday. During the war between Russia and Japan, every front line soldier was given a copy. There were over 40 million copies of” A Message to Garcia” published. It has also been read to Marine Corps recruits for years. The story was written about Colonel Andrews Summers Rowan. Rowan was born in Gap Mills, Virginia, in 1857. He was an American officer who graduated from West Point in 1881.
Rowan served several posts with military intelligence in Latin America. He was very interested in Cuba, and even wrote a book about the island. After his service in the Spanish-American War; Rowan served in the Philippines, posts in the US Fort Riley (Kansas), West Point (Kentucky), and American lake (Washington). Rowan retired in 1909. Twenty years after he retired, Rowan was presented the “Distinguished Service Cross”, as an award for his brave actions in the Operations in Cuba in May of 1898. He died in 1943 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A Message to Garcia” takes place during the Spanish-American War. President William McKinley, who was the president during the war, needed to communicate with the leader of insurgents, which was Garcia. Garcia was somewhere in the mountains vastness of Cuba. He was where no one knew and he could not be reached by mail nor telegraph message. Someone told McKinley that a man by the name of Rowan would be the one to find Garcia if anyone could, as Rowan had special interests and expirience with the land of Cuba.
Rowan was sent to find Garcia and he took the letter, sealed it up, and strapped it over his heart. In four days he arrived in Cuba by boat. He navigated the hostile country on foot. Withing three weeks from the time of landing in Cuba, he delivered the letter. The main point of this story is initiative. Initiative is doing the right thing without having to be told or in some cases asked just once. It proves how to pick out the Marines who are squared away and good to go versus the ones who just want to get by.
I think story is a great example of our morals as Marines. It demonstrates the instant obedience of orders. Rowan did not ask any questions, he took the letter and did what he had to do. It is about missions accomplishment regardless of the obstacles and challenges that could get in the way. We need to rely on ourselves and only ask questions when you’ve at least tried it yourself. Overall, “A Message to Garcia demonstrates honor, courage, and commitment.