David Drake

E-News — January 2024

Trooper Down

David Drake

 

David Drake, the author or co-author of over 80 science fiction and fantasy books, passed away on December 10, 2023 in Silk Hope, North Carolina. Drake, a Vietnam veteran and lawyer, turned to writing fulltime in 1981, a few years after his first book was published.

Drake was born on September 24,1945. He studied at Duke Law School and was drafted into the army in 1970, where he was assigned to the 11th Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) where he spent the war in Vietnam and Cambodia. He finished law school after he returned and became Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Assistant Town Attorney. He turned to writing to help him grapple with his army experiences; his first book, the short story collection Hammer’s Slammers, came out in 1979.

“The stories [in Hammer’s Slammers] were more important to me as self-therapy than they were as the start of a career,” Drake wrote on his website about his first published book. “They gave me a chance to write about what I’d seen and heard; about the men I’d served with and person I’d become in that time. Being able to get that out on paper helped me keep it between the ditches and (from what they’ve told me) helped other veterans by showing them that they weren’t alone.”

Hammer’s Slammers was a ten-book series and became his best-known work, which includes dozens of other novels including the fantasy series Lord of the Isles and the Lt. Leary series. He also provided outlines for numerous books, including the Belisarious series and The General series.

Drake stopped writing in November 2021 due to health issues. “I have a long memory. This certainly isn’t a virtue when somebody else remembers another way and I refuse to change my belief,” he wrote in his last newsletter on November 17, 2023. “Sometimes it’s clearly a good thing though, being able to remember events in the army. Not so much because they gave me a career, not so much because of specific incidents as by giving me the feel of a war zone. That’s really different from normal life.”

The following excerpt is from Blackhorse Tales, By Don Snedeker.

David Drake was drafted out of law school in 1969. He recalls that his basic training company at Ft. Bragg, NC, “was about equally split among blacks from inner city Detroit; whites from the mountains of Western NC; and college graduates like me. It was an interesting mix.” Equally interesting was his return to law school in 1971. His classmates didn’t know that he was a Vietnam Vet. When he heard two of them sharing ideas on how to avoid getting sent to Vietnam, “for a moment, listening to them, I wanted to kill both of them.”

David got over such notions. He quit lawyering and became a successful full-timemscience fiction author. He’s widely considered the gold standard in the Military SciFi genre (about 60 books), due, in no small part, to this first-hand combat experience with the 541st Military Intelligence Detachment in the Cambodia operation in 1970. David concludes: “The greatest single influence on my life was the Vietnam War. I wish that weren’t true, but it is … I’m very proud of my service and of the Blackhorse, but this was not a good time in my life. It really, deeply, wasn’t.” Many troopers would agree that their year at war was not a good time in their lives.

the author or co-author of over 80 science fiction and fantasy books, passed away on December 10, 2023 in Silk Hope, North Carolina. Drake, a Vietnam veteran and lawyer, turned to writing fulltime in 1981, a few years after his first book was published.

Drake was born on September 24,1945. He studied at Duke Law School and was drafted into the army in 1970, where he was assigned to the 11th Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) where he spent the war in Vietnam and Cambodia. He finished law school after he returned and became Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Assistant Town Attorney. He turned to writing to help him grapple with his army experiences; his first book, the short story collection Hammer’s Slammers, came out in 1979.
“The stories [in Hammer’s Slammers] were more important to me as self-therapy than they were as the start of a career,” Drake wrote on his website about his first published book. “They gave me a chance to write about what I’d seen and heard; about the men I’d served with and person I’d become in that time. Being able to get that out on paper helped me keep it between the ditches and (from what they’ve told me) helped other veterans by showing them that they weren’t alone.”

Hammer’s Slammers was a ten-book series and became his best-known work, which includes dozens of other novels including the fantasy series Lord of the Isles and the Lt. Leary series. He also provided outlines for numerous books, including the Belisarious series and The General series.

Drake stopped writing in November 2021 due to health issues. “I have a long memory. This certainly isn’t a virtue when somebody else remembers another way and I refuse to change my belief,” he wrote in his last newsletter on November 17, 2023. “Sometimes it’s clearly a good thing though, being able to remember events in the army. Not so much because they gave me a career, not so much because of specific incidents as by giving me the feel of a war zone. That’s really different from normal life.”

The following excerpt is from Blackhorse Tales, By Don Snedeker.

David Drake

David Drake was drafted out of law school in 1969. He recalls that his basic training company at Ft. Bragg, NC, “was about equally split among blacks from inner city Detroit; whites from the mountains of Western NC; and college graduates like me. It was an interesting mix.” Equally interesting was his return to law school in 1971. His classmates didn’t know that he was a Vietnam Vet. When he heard two of them sharing ideas on how to avoid getting sent to Vietnam, “for a moment, listening to them, I wanted to kill both of them.”

David got over such notions. He quit lawyering and became a successful full-timemscience fiction author. He’s widely considered the gold standard in the Military SciFi genre (about 60 books), due, in no small part, to this first-hand combat experience with the 541st Military Intelligence Detachment in the Cambodia operation in 1970. David concludes: “The greatest single influence on my life was the Vietnam War. I wish that weren’t true, but it is … I’m very proud of my service and of the Blackhorse, but this was not a good time in my life. It really, deeply, wasn’t.” Many troopers would agree that their year at war was not a good time in their lives.

A Tribute to Glenn Snodgrass
From our Friends in Germany

From the Point Alpha Facebook Page:

A Last Salute to Glenn Snodgrass

The passing of Colonel (Ret.) Glenn Snodgrass has deeply saddened the Board of Directors and the staff of the Point Alpha Foundation. He was a friend and supporter who remains in our thoughts and prayers. We express our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, family, and friends.

Glenn Snodgrass served for several years in Germany with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. In one of the most tense periods of the Cold War, he commanded the 1st Squadron of the 11th ACR, based in Fulda. Glenn was as committed about protecting the Inner-German Border as about defending the freedom and democracy of West Germany. His service to our country will not be forgotten.

During and beyond his tenure as President of the Blackhorse Association, he offered invaluable support for the Point Alpha Foundation and the preservation of the historic site. We were happy we got to meet him in the fall of 2022 at the former OP Alpha and cannot grasp he is gone forever.

Glenn Snodgrass will be remembered as an advisor to the Point Alpha Foundation, but more so as a friend. The whole Point Alpha Family would like to express their gratitude for Glenn’s exceptional service and support. We will keep his memory alive and work hard to uphold the legacy of the Blackhorse Regiment.

Geisa, Germany
December 2023

Glenn Snodgrass

A Great Video Showcasing the Blackhorse

This video was produced by the British as one of their cavalry units took on the Blackhorse at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin. It’s well worth a look.

View the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt2gmEnPzrk

Update on Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Ceremony

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment will be represented by Regimental Troopers past and present to honor the 11th Cavalry Regiment’s birthday with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, February 2, 2024.

This event began in 2015, and it has grown in tradition as it enters its ninth year. The Regiment at Fort Irwin, California will send a detail to participate. Following the ceremony, we will share lunch at Joe Theismann’s Restaurant from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The restaurant’s address is 1800A Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.

For more information, please contact the event coordinator, Guillermo Guillén
at guillermo.guillen.03@nullgmail.com. Kindly forward this information to other Troopers you are in contact with that are not receiving the association’s E-News.

Below is a list of instructions from Arlington National Cemetery:

  • Privately owned vehicles and commercial buses are not authorized to drive to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Parking is available at the Visitor’s Center paid parking lot.
  • To minimize delays that would prevent your group from making its scheduled time, we recommend that your travel plans include additional time for unexpected traffic congestion, unfamiliarity with area roadways, parking, and unloading.
  • Lastly, it is February in the National Capital Region. Dress for cold weather.

Blackhorse History Corner

Courtesy of Don Snedeker

Some of our Lesser-Known History

The 11th Cavalry was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, California, for over two decades. It was inevitable, of course, that there were both positive — and not so positive — interactions between Cavalrymen and the local citizenry. For example:

Robbery

 

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Christmas Through the Years With the Blackhorse

SEASONS GREETINGS

 

Christmas card, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light), Camp Carson, CO, 1952

Christmas in Viet Nam

 

Blackhorse Christmas

 Send us your Blackhorse-related news.

Do you have items of interest that are related to the Blackhorse? Please send them to Clint Ancker, Director of Communications, at banditsix@nullaol.com.

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