Summary of A Message to Garcia: Elbert Hubbard 1899: Be a “Rowan” at your job.

Background information

  • This Story was written during the Spanish-American War
  • Main personalities
    • Garcia, a general in Cuba, who is familiar with the Spaniard combat tactics. He could possibly help with some valuable details on how to win against Spain.
    • Rowan, an American trusted to go to Cuba and find Garcia. At this time, no telephone or any means of communication available to contact Garcia.
    • Rowan has to deliver the letter to Garcia, in person. Once delivered, Rowan has to inform his boss that he has accomplished the task. At the time, Garcia’s location is unknown, and Rowan has to do all the work by himself. Pack up the bags and go to a new country, looking for an individual he is never met. He took up the task and delivered the letter, just in time. His courage and sacrifice are amazing.
    • Whatever your job or profession, strive to be the ” Rowan”.
      • Can your employer trust you to do the job? especially during “crunch time”.
      • Are you reliable and dependable that your supervisor can give you impossible tasks, knowing that you will achieve the desired results?Garcia 2018

        This text describes a story of a man named Rowan who was trusted by his supervisor as the only person who was qualified enough to get the message to Garcia. The letter addressed to Garcia himself had to be delivered to him in person. Rowan had to inform his supervisor that he had accomplished the mission. The only problem was that no one knew where Garcia was at the time, and the message was urgent enough that it had to get to him in a timely manner before it was too late. This was during the Spanish-American war and it was important to communicate with Cuba, as Spain had lots of influence in Cuba at during those times.

The important lesson learned from this text is that we have to be like Rowan in our service as soldiers. We need to be as focused as Rowan was, along with concentration, determination, and perseverance to be excellent soldiers. These qualities will definitely help us when we are on and off duty in the military or civilian life. When Rowan was given the letter, he did not complain and give excuses for why he might not be able to get the letter to Garcia. He simply took it and went to Cuba looking and searching for Garcia until he delivered the letter. As soldiers, we have to adapt and be flexible enough so that whatever tasks that need to get done have to get finished without excuses and complaints. We, as individual soldiers in our respective MOSs, must work together so that our units excel in our jobs. That way we can be trusted by our NCOs and commanders to perform difficult tasks and accomplish the mission in our [insert your Battalion name] and [insert your brigade ] in general.


I have been told to summarize this essay by my NCOs for the 3rd time now in less than two years of my career. I am not sure if this is the only essay the military has available, but it is a powerful essay. I am sharing this summary for folks out there who might need some help. The original text is kind of confusing first. You will have to read it twice to understand it because it is written in some archaic English. If you decide to use my summary, make sure to give me credit and do not just copy and paste. Hopefully, you find it helpful. Cheers!


Message to Garcia summary!







Published by Didier Champion

Didier is a Ph.D. student in the department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, CO. His current research focuses on using " Low-cost Air Quality Sensors to study Environmental Problems and to improve air quality especially in developing countries ". He is working on an NSF and EPA project in Ghana, West-Africa. Our research group is using these sensors to assess the impact of solid fuels use (mainly wood and charcoal ) on the regional air-quality in the area.

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