Robert Leonard Drudik was born in Milwaukee, WI. He came from the land of beer and the home of the Braves. He was full of Navy talk, but was destined to be behind the rifle.
Assigned to Company C, 1st Regiment, Bob did well in academics. He excelled at mathematics. But he also found time to coach all who needed help in the King’s English, and in the Kaiser’s Deutsch, for cadets taking German Language classes. He was in the German Club for all four years, served on the Public Relations Council for three years, and enjoyed sailing, camping, and fishing.
Bob chose the Infantry Branch. After completing the Infantry Basic Course at Ft. Benning, GA, he stayed on to attend both the Ranger and Airborne Schools. After all this hard-core training, he remained at Ft. Benning from 1960–61 to serve on the Staff and Faculty of the Infantry School. Bob was then selected to be an ROTC Instructor at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) from 1962–64. He received Commendation Medals for the assignments at both Ft. Benning and VMI. After being promoted to Major in 1965, Bob was selected to attend the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.
After graduation from C&GS in 1966, Bob was sent to Vietnam. After an early assignment at Headquarters, First Field Force, he was later sent to serve with troops in combat, in the 35th Infantry Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. On this, his first Vietnam tour, Bob received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.
Upon return to the States, Bob was selected to be the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of Fifth Army. He served in this key position from 1967–68; and for his outstanding service, he received the Legion of Merit.
Following promotion to lieutenant colonel in 1968, Bob was assigned back to Vietnam in 1969 and placed in command of a battalion in the 7th Cavalry. He then moved up to become the Deputy Commander of 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. For his exemplary service in both Cavalry Units, he received the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and 11 Air Medals. He was severely wounded during this second tour in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
Back stateside again he was assigned to the Pentagon in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development (ACSFOR) from 1970–73. He earned a Meritorious Service Medal for his work on the Army staff. In 1974 he was selected to attend the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA. After graduation from the War College, he attended Pennsylvania State University, where he received a master’s degree in public affairs.
He was then sent back to the Department of the Army in the Pentagon, where he served, from 1974–77, as a Division Chief in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS). For his outstanding service in that office, he received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Staff Service Medal. During that assignment, he also served as Special Assistant to the Director, Interagency Task Force for Indochinese refugees.
Promoted to colonel in 1976, Bob next commanded the Experimentation Support Command, at Ft. Ord, CA, serving in this command position from 1977–79.
In June of 1979, Bob was sent to Europe to take command of the Nürnberg Military Community. Following promotion to brigadier general, he became the Commanding General of the 21st Support Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From there, Bob moved to Ansbach, to take over as the Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Armored Division.
Back in the States and promoted to major general, Bob’s next assignment was to serve, from 1984–85, as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, at Headquarters FORSCOM, Ft. McPherson, in Atlanta, GA.
Following that high-level staff assignment, he was once again given a command assignment, this time of the Test and Experimental Command (TEXCO) at Ft. Hood, TX, in 1986. With this final Army assignment, Bob completed an outstanding career of 32 years in the U.S. Army. At his retirement ceremony in 1989 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work at Ft. Hood.
In addition, on Nov 13, 2003, Major General Robert Leonard Drudik, USA, was inducted into the U.S. Army Operational Testers Hall of Fame. Holding to his primary tenet, "Truth in Testing," he was the first Commander to use this motto at TEXCOM/OTC; and it has remained their creed to this day.
After leaving the service in 1989, Bob went to work in industry, starting out at Integrated Design & Construction, Inc. (IDC), in the area of logistics and field operations. He was a Corporate Officer and Program Director. There he assisted in the design and construction of major satellite projects.
He died on Dec 29, 1997, in Falls Church, VA. Services, with military honors, were held on Jan 5, 1998, at the Ft. Meyer Chapel, followed by interment in Arlington National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth Joanne, and two stepsons: Brett H. Coulter of Tacoma, WA, and Clifford S. Coulter of Albuquerque, NM. He was also survived by a twin brother, Donald J. Drudik, who resides in Orangevale, CA. Joanne died May 9, 2003, 6 years after Bob, and is buried in the same site at Arlington.
Major General Robert L. Drudik served the Unites States Army honorably for 32 years. He was a leader in the legacy of the Long Gray Line. Family and friends share a great pride for his service to the Nation.
— Thomas G. Thompson
When our work is done,
our course on earth is run,
may it be said "Well Done.
Be Thou at Peace."