Joseph Drake

Joseph Drake

Two photos of men in the military

At right is Joseph "Joe" Drake, 95, in 2019 with his son, John; and at left in 1945, as a sergeant wearing the Combat Infantry Badge indicative of a combat veteran with the patch of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on his left shoulder. Drake served in the U.S. Army as a mortarman, 2nd Ranger Battalion, with combat duty in France, Belgium and Germany during WWII. Joe Drake currently resides in Hawley, Pennsylvania. His son, John C. Drake, is the director of the Center for Business Development and Community Outreach, at Penn State Scranton. Drafted in May 1943, John Drake volunteered for the Rangers upon completing basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Following additional extensive and demanding training, he was assigned to Able Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion in July 1944 as a replacement for the numerous casualties the battalion had suffered in scaling the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. He earned five campaign stars for combat operations, among which was the assault and capture of the German fortress of Battery Graf Spee at Brest, France, in August 1944; the seizure of Castle Hill 400 at Bergstein, Germany during the otherwise disastrous Battle of the Huertgen Forest/Siegfried Line Campaign, November to December 1944. During the Battle of the Bulge his battalion withstood the German attempts to outflank and surround the American lines in their sector. After crossing the Rhine, the battalion led the spearhead across Germany and had linked up with the Soviet Red Army at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia by VE-Day, May 8, 1945.

IMAGE: Provided