With hands resting on their guns, Ernesto ''Che'' Guevara and William Morgan -- two rebel leaders -- glared at each other from across a desolate field in the central mountains of Cuba.
For a tense moment on that fall day 50 years ago, each waited for the other to make a move -- the Cuban revolution on the brink.
They exchanged harsh words but in the end put down their weapons, agreeing to return to fighting their common enemy, the Fulgencio Batista regime.
Both would lead their own units in the final weeks of the revolution. Both captured major cities. Both played pivotal roles in the conflict.
But while Guevara has been long remembered, Morgan has been largely forgotten -- an ex-paratrooper buried in an obscure grave in Havana's largest cemetery.
Former rebels who fought with Morgan argue that he has never been recognized for his role in a revolution that changed Cuba.
''He was a soldier,'' said Enrique Encinosa, a Miami radio host who penned six books on Cuban history. ``He was tough. He was disciplined. He was able to teach people to fight who had never been taught before.''
In a crucial sweep during the last two weeks of the fighting, Morgan and his men attacked a fortress that guarded the road to Cienfuegos, forcing the soldiers inside to surrender.
The move not only allowed Morgan to capture the city, but opened the area to the guerrillas marking the beginning of the end for Batista's army, historians say.
Three years later, the yanqui comandante met his own demise after defying a revolutionary government he helped put in power.
Charged with running guns to anti-Castro rebels, Morgan was executed by a firing squad in 1961 and was buried in the massive Colón Cemetery.
Five decades later, his role in modern Cuban history is resurfacing, partly because of a rare request by relatives to have his remains returned to the United States.
For the past 18 months, Morgan's widow has been quietly negotiating with the Cuban and U.S. governments, while former rebels in Miami have been raising money to ensure he won't be forgotten.
Some of the money is expected to pay for the return of Morgan's remains -- if the request is granted, said George Castellon, who has helped raise $2,500.
''For so long, people just remembered Che Guevara,'' Castellon said. ``It was Che this and Che that. But they forgot about Morgan.''
Morgan was a swashbuckling figure who cut a large swath among rebels in the Escambray Mountains.
A street tough with underworld ties, his entry into Cuba began in Cold War fashion: running guns to Castro's rebels -- possibly for mobster Meyer Lansky, interviews and FBI records show.
While the guns were strictly for money, Morgan said he took on the revolutionary cause after a fellow gun smuggler was killed by Batista's forces in 1957.
No one has been able to confirm the story, but Morgan showed up in the Escambray that year to launch a series of assaults that later drove Batista's soldiers from the mountains. Sporting tattoos and speaking broken Spanish, the pudgy, sunburned Ohioan was a curiosity to the rebels in the mountains of central Cuba.
Compared to the fighters in the eastern Sierra Maestra, the guerrillas of the Escambray -- known as the Second Front -- were less experienced.
Although Morgan had a checkered military past -- he was booted from the U.S. Army for going AWOL -- he was well trained in hand-to-hand combat, according to former rebels.