Colonel Arnold Houston Gaylor, U.S. Army (Ret.), went to Fiddler’s Green on May 14, 2022 in Williamsburg, Virginia at the age of 81. Arnie was born in Roderfield, West Virginia on Nov 6, 1940 to Henry and Flora (Headley) Gaylor, though he considers his home to be Midfield, Alabama, where he grew up. His two older brothers, William and James, preceded him in death; he is survived by his sister, Patricia Simmons.
Arnie graduated from Bessemer High School in 1958 and attended Birmingham- Southern College until he was appointed to the United States Military Academy, West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science. Upon his graduation on June 3, 1964, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, Armor in the United States Army. During his time in the Army, Arnie earned a Masters in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Masters of Military Art and Science from the Command and General Staff College, and a Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
“Dragon Daddy” (as he was known to his troopers) served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse). He taught Mathematics at the United States Military Academy 1972-1975, and served at Fort Eustis, Virginia and Selfridge ANG Base, Michigan as a Research and Development Coordinator, where he participated in the design of the new M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.
He commanded 2nd Battalion, 5th US Cavalry (Black Knights), 1st Cavalry Division, in Fort Hood, Texas, where he was affectionately known as LTC “Darth” Gaylor to his captains. From 1985 – 1989, Colonel Gaylor served as G3 of the 3rd Armored Division, Frankfurt, Germany and as Chief Force Management Division, Office of Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations United States Army Europe, Heidelberg, Germany. In Heidelberg, he was awarded The Legion of Merit for conceiving, developing, and implementing force integration procedures to facilitate combat ready units to be deployed to Europe. His final posting was in the Department of Operations, Strategic Defense Command, Huntsville Alabama.
Colonel Gaylor retired from military service after 26 years of active duty in 1990. He started his civilian career as a Program Developer for EER Systems before finding his home with Cubic Defense Applications Group, eventually attaining the position of Vice President and Deputy General Manager, Operations Support Division. While with Cubic, Arnie oversaw and managed all civilian operations at JRTC at Fort Polk, Louisiana and the Korean Battle Simulation Center, United States Forces Korea & Eighth Army, Yonsang, Korea.
During his time at West Point, Arnie met his wife of 57 years, Linda (Wermick) Gaylor, while in Philadelphia for an Army/Navy game. (Arnie asked a group of nurses in an elevator, “Who wants to go to a party?” and Linda volunteered!)
Arnie is survived by Linda; his children, Scott Gaylor and Becky Snyder (husband Bill); and his grandchildren, Nick and Lauren Gaylor and Elizabeth and Billy Snyder. Arnie was an engineer at heart and enjoyed designing and building renovations and additions for his beloved cabin in Pennsylvania. He was also an avid supporter and volunteer for the Democratic Committee in York County, Virginia. Arnie’s greatest achievement was the love and devotion he gave to his wife and family. Many generations of Gaylors and Snyders will learn from his wisdom.
The family asks those who wish to express sympathy to consider donating (in Arnie’s name as an honor/memorial gift) to Move United (visit http://www.moveunitedsport.org), which offers sports rehabilitation for wounded warfighters with permanent physical disabilities in military hospitals and communities across the U.S.
In the words of poet, Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Rest assured, Arnie did not go gently. He fought his final battle with grace, strength, and dignity.