Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918)

Quentin Roosevelt was the youngest of six children of US President Theodore Roosevelt. His father became president when Quentin was three and he was quite a rambunctious child. He ran with a multi-racial group of the sons of government workers and officials dubbed "The White House Gang". These Little Rascals terrorized the White House by spitballing presidential portraits, snowballing the Secret Service, and carving a baseball diamond into the White House lawn. At one point, Quentin snuck a pony into the elevator and brought him to visit his brother Archie's bedroom.

Quentin was intelligent and mechanically gifted. He attended Harvard University, but with World War I raging in Europe, he did what many sons of the elite did, he became a fighter pilot. There was even a famed group of Yale flyers dubbed "The Millionaire's Unit". Quentin was a popular but reckless pilot, even by the standards of a profession where life was often cheap and short. On July 14, 1918, Quentin's Nieuport 28 was shot down over France. The Germans buried him under a makeshift cross. They tried to make his death a propaganda victory, but it backfired because his father was still quite popular in Germany.

Six months after the death of his son, President Roosevelt died. Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt's body was later reburied in the World War II American Cemetery next to his brother Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who died serving in WWII. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.'s son and Quentin Roosevelt's namesake, Quentin Roosevelt II, also died in a plane crash, near Hong Kong in 1948.

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