By all accounts, the great Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 wasn't really Spanish at all. It was American. In fact, it was an Army flu. The first victim, the "index patient," was an Army private named Albert Gitchell who worked as a cook at the Army's Camp Funston on the vast Fort Riley military reservation in Kansas. It is believed that . troops heading to Europe brought this flu with them. Before it was over, more than 20 MILLION people had died of influenza around the world—the deadliest natural disaster in world history. Army scientists wanted to prevent another global killer from emerging from an Army post where new recruits might become an unintended hatchery for some vicious new flu strain that once again could wipe out millions of people. Trying out a new oil additive on troops seemed like a relatively modest risk in comparison to the benefits of a better flu vaccine.