Robert E. Drake - Southern Pines
Col. Robert E. Drake, 83, of Southern Pines, died Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Burial will be at in West Point, N.Y., at a later date.
Col. Drake was born in Pasadena, Calif., to Col. Frank Drake and Jenny Leland Drake. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in July 1921, graduating on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was assigned to the 9th Tank Battalion, 20th Armored Division and crossed the Rhine in the spring of 1945.
In 1950, he was the commanding officer of the tank company of the 31st Infantry Regiment, Seventh Infantry Division, and made the landing at Inchon, Korea. Later that year, the 31st crossed into North Korea with the objective of relieving the First Marine Division east of the Chosin Reservoir. Shortly thereafter, Chinese Communist Forces attacked the 31st, decimating the regiment. Col. Drake's tank company fought a rear guard action for the remainder of the regiment and later for the 1st Marine Division on its retreat to Hungnam.
Col. Drake attended the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He later served on the staff and faculty of the Staff College. He served as aide-de-camp to the commanding general of X Corps and again for the commanding general of the 4th Armored Division. From 1958 to 1961, he was assigned to the Military Assistance Advisory Group in France and was an observer of the war in Algeria. He later served as senior adviser to the National Defense College in the Republic of Vietnam.
Upon his return, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1971 and 1972, and to the Department of the Army from 1972 to 1973. During his service, Col. Drake was awarded two Silver Stars, two Bronze Service Medals, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and two Legions of Merit.
In 1973, he retired to Southern Pines. He was director of the Sandhills Youth Center at McCain, from 1975 to 1991. Upon his retirement, the Center of that facility was named in his honor. Col. Drake was vice president of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities from 1992 to 2000. He was a member of the Pinehurst Country Club, the Moore County Hounds, the American Legion, and the Kiwanis Club.
Col. Drake was preceded in death by his brothers, Col. Leland Rodman Drake and Frank N. Drake II.
Surviving are his wife of 37 years, Fran Drake; a son, William M. Drake of San Francisco, Calif.; a nephew, Rodman Leland Drake and his wife, Jacqueline, of New York, N.Y.; nieces, Sharon Drake Tabor and her husband, Ronald, of Little Rock, Ark., and Joan Drake Fox of Palm Beach, Fla.; as well as seven great-nephews and nieces.
Memorials may be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church or to the American Heart Association.
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