A long-time member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and later a civilian employee for the Department of Defense has passed away. Major (Ret) Lyle Dean Drake spent 39 years working for the federal government in either a military or civilian capacity – almost all of it in the field of special operations. He held a number of positions from the A-team to policy level at the Pentagon. Drake died at age 75 on August 14, 2018.
He was born in March 1943 and attended school (quitting after the tenth grade) in Illinois. He would later finish his education and go on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Business Management and Supervision.
He joined the Army in July 1960 where he served 25 years. Four years was with conventional units and then 21 years with Special Forces. He started out in SF as a Weapons specialist and then later serving as an Operations and Intelligence Sergeant. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major (E9). During his career he did two tours in Vietnam and spent many years in Europe.
In 1980 he was assigned to HQs of the Army in the Pentagon where he worked counter-terrorism policy and SF / SOF proponent issues. In 1981 his Reserve Commission was activated and he was promoted to Captain and then to Major. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1985.
After retirement from the U.S. Army Drake entered the Civil Service with the Department of State in the Office for Combating Terrorism. He then went to work for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) with a focus on counterterrorism (CT) and special operations policy. He then transferred to a DoD office that worked POW / MIA issues. He retired from the Civil Service as a GS-15.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at the Kilmarnock Baptist Church, Kilmarnock, Virginia. Arrangements are by the Currie Funeral Home, Kilmarnock, Virginia. Internment will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Source: Information and photo provided by Chapter XI of the Special Forces Association. Top photo: Lyle Dean Drake receiving the Silver Star in Vietnam while assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group.