The Fighting Jew
El Judío Luchador

The Fighting Jew

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.

Area: Northeast / Ft. Bliss

Source: El Paso County Historical Society

Reference ID: 013-1985-028

Uploaded by: El Paso Museum of History

Comments

Add a comment
Thank you for your comment

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

Aerial View Of Fort Bliss

Area view of Fort Bliss between 1910 and 1920.

Camp of U.S. Army

Between 1910 and 1920 the 13th Cavalry of the U. S. Army camped ...

Buffalo Soldier, Fort Bliss

A salute to black cavalry soldiers, the sculpture by Jimmie ...

Bliss Replica

This replica gives the visitor an idea about the construction of ...

El Paso County Historical Society

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society(EPCHS) has been ...

Prince John Magruder

John Magruder was a career military officer who served in the ...

Col. McMaster

Col. McMaster was assigned to Fort Bliss from 1915-1916. Col. ...

First Lieut. Charles B. Gatewood

First Lieutenant Charles Bare Gatewood (April 5, 1853 – May ...

Capt. Emmett Crawford

In the spring of 1882, the 3rd Cavalry was transferred to ...

Second Lieut. Britton Davis

In the spring of 1882, the 3rd Cavalry was transferred to ...

Col. Alexander W. Doniphan

With the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and ...

Brave Rifles - Veterans

The Air Defense Artillery Association welcoming Desert Storm ...

Earl A. Buckhart on troop horse.

The story of this photo was written on the back. "This picture ...

General Omar N. Bradley

Photo: General Omar N. Bradley is to left of the image. From ...

Jay M. Garner -A Past Commanding General at Fort Bliss, Texas

Born in Arcadia, Florida, Garner served an enlistment in the ...

Benjamin Franklin Coons

COONS, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1826 in St. Louis, Missouri –1892 in ...

Houses on Fort Bliss

The image shows two houses on Fort Bliss in 1910. A little girl ...

Group of Military Personnel

This group of soldiers is posing in front of some tents on Fort ...

Two Soldiers in Car

These two soldiers are sitting in a Maxwell car. Maxwell was a ...

Military Personnel ca. 1900

A group of military personnel is posing in front of carts pulled ...

Military Personnel on Fort Bliss

The image shows military personnel on Fort Bliss in 1910. The ...

Family on Fort Bliss

The image shows a group of people, probably a family, on Fort ...

Military Personnel with Horses

The image shows military personnel with their horses in front of ...

home.search_collection