Today in Military History: June 10, 1898; Marines land at Guantanamo Bay

Hart, Edward H., photographer. “Hoisting the flag at Guantanamo” ca. 1898-1901.

On June 10, 1898, the 1st Marine Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert W. Huntington, landed on the eastern side of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The next day, Lt. Herbert L. Draper hoisted the American flag up a pole at Camp McCalla where it flew during the next eleven days. Huntington later sent the flag with an accompanying letter to Commandant Charles Heywood noting that “when bullets were flying, the sight of the flag upon the midnight sky has thrilled our hearts.”

The Marines were in Cuba to join the fight for independence against Spain. The European country was unprepared to fight a war so far from home, causing Spain to surrender to the U.S. five weeks later.