Some of the Rough Riders were Theodore Roosevelt and his close friend, Dr. Leonard Wood. Other members of the Rough Riders regiment included a hastily assembled assortment of preachers, cowboys, miners, lawmen, outlaws and native Americans from New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and the Indian Territory.
Roosevelt was serving as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the time of the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. He and his close friend, Dr. Leonard Wood, were eager to participate in the conflict. Dr. Wood had previous combat experience fighting in the Indian campaigns and received the Medal of Honor for his bravery fighting the Apaches in present-day Arizona. The regiment was officially designated the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. Observers coined the term “Rough Riders” to describe the haphazard manner in which the men were assembled, as well as their lack of experience and training.