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He used his time at Fort McPherson to do something he’d always wanted to do

Leonard Wood was what some people would describe as an overachiever. Born in 1860, he lived for 67 years and, from the evidence of his life, it is clear that he was, at the very least, a motivated man. Wood began his adult life as a Harvard educated surgeon and he put that education to use for the U.S. Army.

When he was 26 years old, he won the Medal of Honor for his service in the Apache Campaign during the American Indian Wars, the same campaign that saw the surrender of the great Apache Chieftain, Geronimo.

By the time Leonard Wood turned 35, he had been named as the White House physician to President Grover Cleveland. And when war broke out with Spain, Wood went to Cuba as the commander of the First Volunteer Cavalry, a group of soldiers he and, his good friend and second-in-command, Theodore Roosevelt had recruited, trained and given the name The Rough Riders.

After the Spanish-American War, Wood stayed on in Cuba as the country’s Military Governor. In less than ten years he rose from a Captain in the Army Medical Corps to the highest post in the U.S. Army as Chief of Staff under President William Howard Taft.

For a time during his remarkable rise through the ranks in the Army, Wood was stationed at the Fort McPherson Barracks just outside of Atlanta. And it was during that period that he decided to go back to college…not so much for the chance to continue his education but more for the opportunity to play some football. And that is the subject of this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”


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  1. Leonard Pallats July 6, 2015 6:52 pm

    Wood served as vice chairman of the new Joint Army-Navy Board. He disagreed with the chairman, George Dewey, who wanted a full-fledged Navy base established at Subic Bay in the Philppines. Wood argued that the base could not be defended by land. So Subic Bay became the site of a refueling station for Navy ships. As a result, the only U.S. Navy base in the Pacific at the start of World War II was at Pearl Harbor. How’d that work out?Report

  2. John Cowart July 13, 2015 8:20 pm

    Regarding Leonard Pallats post:  What the Hell does a Naval Base in the Philippines have to do with Pearl Harbor? Would we have just been surprised there too?  GO JACKETSReport


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