Leonard Wood was born in Winchester, New Hampshire, on October 9, 1860. In 1884 he received his M.D. from Harvard. He joined the Army Medical Corps the next year.
He served as a surgeon to the United States Army during operations carried out against the Native Americans, and later became the White House Physician during the term of President Glover Cleveland.
There he met Theodore Roosevelt, with whom he became good friends. When the Spanish-American war started, the two both went to fight.
Wood was first in command of the group known as the Rough Riders. It was a volunteer army that Roosevelt, next in charge, made famous.
After the Spanish had been defeated, the Americans took over Cuba. Leonard Wood served as the military ruler of Santiago for a year, then governed all of Cuba from 1899 to 1902.
He was quite successful at his job, and somewhat well-liked in Cuba. Eventually a Cuban government took over the job.
Wood later became the governor of Moro province in the Philippines, where his troops were involved in several bloody attacks from opposition movements.
During the beginning of the first World War, Wood strongly encouraged America to be prepared for war. Wood narrowly lost the Republican presidential nomination of 1920 to Warren Harding.
He returned to the Philippines, running the islands from 1921 to 1927. Again he crushed independence movements, and was disliked there. Wood died on August 7, 1927.