1906 Cuban Pacification Campaign
The Cuban republic was established after the 1898 Spanish-American War. In 1901 the Platt Amendment, a rider attached to the Army Appropriations Bill of 1901, stipulated the conditions for U.S. intervention in Cuba that virtually made the island an U.S. protectorate. Under the terms of this bill the United States established - and retains to this day - a naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Revolution broke out in Cuba in 1906, and a Marine expeditionary force was sent to the island to establish and maintain law and order. In mid-1906 Cuban internal strife caused the United States to invoke the Platt Amendment and send troops to the island nation in an attempt to restore order. William Howard Taft, now Secretary-of-War, sent his Philippine Insurrection veterans, the experienced 11 Cavalry Regiment under the command of Colonel Earl D. Thomas, 2nd COLONEL OF THE REGIMENT.
As part of this force, the 4th Expeditionary Battalion was formed at League Island, Pennsylvania, on 27 September 1906. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Franklin J. Moses, the battalion sailed for Cuba, arriving at Camp Columbia on 8 October. Here, it was reorganized and redesignated 2d Regiment, 1st Expeditionary Brigade. Order was soon restored, and upon the arrival of United States Army troops as occupation forces, the 2d Regiment was disbanded on 31 October. The major portion of its personnel became part of the newly created 1st Provisional Regiment stationed in Cuba for duty with the Army forces.
Pulled from its annual maneuvers at Fort Riley, Kansas, First Squadron returned to Fort Des Moines while the balance of the regiment left for Cuba by way of Newport News. The regiment arrived in Havana ahead of its horses on 16 October 1906 and set up base camp outside the city. A storm with hurricane force winds struck the next day, destroying the camp and battering the ships still at sea so badly that over 200 mounts were killed. The troopers of the day quickly recovered and assumed control of western Cuba. Regimental Headquarters was established in Pinar del Rio after a 29 hour/110 mile force march by Troop F. The mission of the 11th Cavalry was to 'show the flag' by conducting mounted patrols throughout the countryside between the villages. While in Cuba the regiment was joined by its new commander, Colonel James Parker, 3rd COLONEL OF THE REGIMENT.
"Galloping Jim" (the longest serving Colonel) continued peacekeeping operations during the Regiment's two-year stay, demonstrating to the natives that the US Army's Cavalry was ready for any and all eventualities. Although conflict is at times inevitable, the 11th Cavalry Regiment best serves the country when it commands respect and thereby averts war through a show of strength. This will be repeated time and again throughout the history of the regiment.
By 1909 the political situation in Cuba was stable and the regiment was recalled. In late February, they began hurried preparations to embark out of Havana and return to the United States. The reason for the hasty departure became apparent when, upon arriving once again in Newport News, Virginia on 1 March 1909, they were immediately ordered to Washington D.C. by train. Arriving in a severe blizzard, the troopers of the 11th Cavalry Regiment nonetheless readied themselves for the task at hand. The next day, 4 March 1909, the Blackhorse assumed a place of honor in the inaugural parade of their old friend and now President, William Howard Taft.
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