description

Samuel Dreben WWI soldier of fortune - 1918. Dreben enlisted on June 27, 1899 in the 14th Infantry Regiment and was shipped to the Philippines (acquired by the U.S. as a result of its victory in the Spanish American War) to help put down a native insurrection led by Emilio Aguinaldo. He quickly distinguished himself in battle. Later, he participated in the rescue of westerners besieged in Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion. Mustered out in 1902, he took a succession of unsatisfactory jobs, including an attempt to fight for the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War, before reenlisting in 1904. This time, he was stationed at Fort Bliss. It was here that he was trained how to use a machine gun, a skill for which he became well-known (and would need in later years). He made friends in nearby El Paso, Texas before his second army hitch ended in 1907.

Together with two other soldiers of fortune and machine gun experts, Tracy Richardson and Emil Lewis Holmdahl, Dreben's wanderings then took him to Central America. He worked as a security guard in the Panama Canal Zone. After several unsuccessful business ventures, he was recruited to fight for various liberation movements in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico. It was in Guatemala that he suffered his only combat wound - a shot in the rear. In the Mexican revolution, Dreben joined the forces of Francisco Madero as a machine gunner. After Madero's murder in 1913, Dreben worked for Felix A. Sommerfeld in El Paso, smuggled arms to Pancho Villa's forces, and went on sabotage missions in Mexico for Sommerfeld's secret service. When the latter made his infamous raid on Columbus, New Mexico on March 9, 1916, killing some civilians, Dreben joined the Punitive Expedition sent by an outraged America to bring his former comrade-in-arms to justice. Dreben served as a scout and became good friends with the expedition's commander, General John "Black Jack" Pershing. The Americans were never able to catch the elusive bandit, and the fiasco eventually came to an end in 1917.

Uploaded on 07.30.2014 by El Paso Museum of History

Accession no: 013-1985-028

Northeast / Ft. Bliss, (1910 - 1919), War

  • Ft. Bliss

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

The Fighting Jew

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

El Paso YOUNG ghostbusters

El Paso YOUNG ghostbusters

El Paso, Texas Ft. Bliss and Vicinity

Texas photo map of El Paso, Texas, Ft. Bliss and vicinity. Area topography and significant landmarks are visible.

Master Plan Fort Bliss Texas: General Site Plan and Building Map

General site plan of Fort Bliss Texas indicating permanent, mobilization and theater of operation type buildings; city-limit boundaries, railroad lines;...

West Texsa Young Marines lay wreaths at Ft. Bliss Cemetery

West Texas Young Marines honored Veterans by laying wreaths at headstones at Ft. Bliss cemetery- 5200 Fred Wilson Ave on...

Texas (El Paso County) Fort Bliss Quadrangle

This map represents the Fort Bliss Quadrangle in El Paso County, Texas. Topographical features and El Paso landmark buildings are...

Retirement Ceremony at Old Ironsides

My father retired after serving 21 years in the army.

Getting Ready For Deployment - 2014

Picture of me( SFC Morin) - ready for deployment in the year 2014.

Vietnam Veterans of America March - El Paso, Texas

On opening day of the The Sixth Wall of Giants exhibition, the El Paso chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of...

Military Parade Opening Day For The Sixth Wall Of Giants

Military parade on the opening day of the The Sixth Wall of Giants.

Mayor Leeser and a veteran of the Vietnam War - El Paso, Texas

Mayor Oscar Leeser standing with a Veteran at the opening of the Sixth Wall of Giants at EL Paso Museum...

Sixth Wall of Giants - El Paso, Texas

Opening of the Sixth Wall of Giants at the El Paso Museum of History on May 2, 2015.

Veteran studies the Fort Bliss timeline - El Paso, Texas

Veteran studies the Fort Bliss timeline at the El Paso Museum of History.

Sixth Wall of Giants - El Paso, Texas

Construction of the Sixth Wall of Giants in 2015.

A Historical Meeting - El Paso, Texas

Photo is of the mural by T. (Trygve) J. Kittlesen made for the second El Paso County Courthouse. Fort Bliss...

Fort Bliss Timeline- El Paso, Texas

Timeline of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas at Sixth Wall of Giants exhibit the El Paso Museum of History...