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« Right, don't worry. It's gonna be a piece of cake!
Howard Drake

Howard Drake is the main protagonist of ArmA 2's Operation Arrowhead campaign.


Drake is a former U.S. Army airborne infantryman, and was one of the many members of the U.S.-led Task Force Knight that was deployed to Takistan as part of the UN-mandated Operation Arrowhead.

A seasoned veteran, Drake has been extensively trained in multiple fields, ranging from leadership skills, flying rotary-wing aircraft, parachute insertions, driving various armed vehicles, as well as operating mounted heavy weapons.

He maintains a friendship with fellow TF Knight members Garry Pierce, Ben Herrera, and 1st SFOD-D operator Terry Graves; the four often meeting up after missions to discuss current events or for just friendly banter.

Events of Operation Arrowhead (2012)

With Takistan's ports and coastal cities occupied by allied forces, the second phase of Operation Arrowhead; pushing towards the central regions of Takistan, could now begin.

Flying in via Black Hawk helicopters, Drake was a part of Hitman One, one of the many U.S. Army infantry squads from TF Knight. Their first target was the airfield of Loy Manara in the south which was still controlled by the Takistani Army.

Good Morning T-stan

Operation Arrowhead begins, with Drake's squad leading the charge.

Drake's men immediately came under fire from the entrenched defenders upon arrival, though friendly tanks were able to destroy armoured Takistani reinforcements. Drake's squad proceeded to clear the airfield by hand and eventually secured it shortly afterwards.

The focus now shifted to the nearby villages close to the airfield which were occupied by government militiamen. Along the way, Drake came into contact with a local guerilla warlord who openly offered the support of his men to the Americans. Drake gratefully accepted the offer, but cautioned them against getting caught in the crossfire between Western forces and the militia.

With both villages cleared of hostile militia, U.S. forces began to quickly set up their new forward airbase while awaiting for further reinforcements to be flown in. Drake's squad were assigned with patrol and logistical duty whilst a convoy of IFVs and tanks moved north to clear the valley.

Not long after the convoy breaks through the militia/Army defences, a cargo plane carrying a team of NGO aid workers and journalists is shot down by the militia. While the convoy raced to reach the crash site, Drake's squad were reassigned to help guard a resupply point that was established in a small village south-west of the crash site.

Unfortunately, the convoy was too late and no survivors were found at the crash site. Not all hope was lost however, as the local guerillas reported that they were taken away to a coltan mine near the city of Feruz Abad further north of their current location.

« We can see them, sir. Just let us engage, over!
Eager to fight, Drake's squad take charge of the attack on Feruz Abad

U.S. intelligence confirms the location of the survivors, and TF Knight immediately mounts a rescue operation to save the civilians. Drake was now left in charge of his own squad (still under the callsign of Hitman) as the rest of TF Knight (callsign Montana) conducted a diversionary attack to seize Feruz Abad while a Delta Force team assaulted the mining complex.

The Delta Force team clears the mine but only discovers the cold corpse of AAN reporter Joe Harris with the other three hostages nowhere to be seen. In spite of the setback, Drake's men continued to secure the rest of the city and an hour later, take it over completely.

Without further intelligence on the location of the other survivors, TF Knight's focus returned to taking the rest of central Takistan. Drake's squad participated in another offensive north, this time against the heavily-fortified Rasman airbase. U.S. helicopters helped to destroy enemy anti-air emplacements and tanks protecting the airfield, while Drake's men and other mechanised infantry moved into position south-west of Rasman.

When night falls, U.S. tanks led the charge into Rasman to the east as Drake's infantry took the western flank. Rasman's defences are finally broken after an hour of fierce fighting, and U.S. forces secure the airbase, designating it as FOB Arizona.

Eye of the Hurricane

The final Battle for Zargabad begins.

In a stroke of luck, Colonel Muhammad R. Aziz, the commander of the Takistani regime, is discovered hiding at his palace in the regional capital of Zargabad.

At the same time, U.S. intelligence receives ill news; Col. Aziz was intending to launch the remainder of his SCUD missiles both at the neighbouring country of Karzeghistan and coalition forces. It now fell onto TF Knight to put a stop to his plans before Aziz could inflict too much damage.

Leading the assault on Zargabad, Drake's squad commanded a Bradley IFV and hit the city's defences head-on. Whilst other allied forces focused on seizing the nearby airfield and the other two SCUD sites, Drake's squad focused on the city centre where the third SCUD was hidden in an empty yard. After destroying the launcher, they proceeded to fight their way through the city block-by-block.

Drake's men eventually ran into a mosque that was unusually heavily defended for some reason. Dismounting on foot, Drake's men cleared the building itself while he personally climbed to the top of the dome. To Drake's surprise he finds the survivors of the plane crash: Dr. Hladik, Anita Baker, and Rita Ensler. He immediately began untying them reported his finding back to Colonel Kane.

With Aziz' SCUDs neutralised and the hostages freed, only the Colonel himself remained. As a final objective, Drake's men raced towards the presidential palace where Aziz was holed up and was planning to make a hasty getaway. Drake's men destroyed his SUV and cut off his escape routes, while a Delta Force team closed in onto the Colonel's position. Aziz refused to surrender even when his bodyguards were eliminated, however. He was eventually killed in the ensuing gunfight.

Post-Operation Arrowhead

At a public press conference held back at FOB Arizona, Col. Kane announced to the global media that Operation Arrowhead had ended in a complete victory for coalition forces.

Drake was present at the conference alongside his three other friends. Having attained all of their main objectives, Kane personally commended the four for their efforts in helping to achieve their victory.

Later in life, Drake would go on to write his own book titled Checkmate: The Untold Story Of Operation Arrowhead. Published by Acropolis Books, his autobiography immediately became a success and was ranked first in the The World Today's bestseller list, and has even been adapted into a motion picture. Reviewers have praised Drake's book as both "gripping" and "a true tour de force".

Personality and Appearance

Drake appears as a Caucasian male in his (presumably) mid-twenties with a bald head and beardless face.

He dons the standard attire of a U.S. Army SAW gunner, but prefers to wear a lighter version of the UCP-camouflaged, Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) and a sleeveless brown Army Combat Shirt. For headgear, he also wears an MICH combat helmet while on missions.

A fairly upbeat individual, Drake always maintains a positive view on his current situation and tries to keep cheerful even in the face of danger. Essentially, he's the kind of person you would never forget either after a long firefight or week-long party.

« Khaled: Yes, we are Karzhegi. Government oppressing our people. Aziz killer. I am Khaled, the warlord of Loy Manara.
Drake: (self-monologue) Oh, I remember reading something in my Cultural Reference Handbook...
Khaled: What??
Drake: Nothing.
Drake's usual self-monologue

From time to time, Drake does usually tend to mutter to himself when placed into situations that he's uncomfortable with, however - often to the confusion of the people that he's conversing with.


  • Drake is nicknamed by his friends as "Hitman", which additionally serves as his personal and unit's callsign.
  • Although Drake is technically considered to be the protagonist of Operation Arrowhead, this is mostly attributed to him making the most canonical (and playable) appearances out of the four characters, with only Graves coming in second in terms of the number of missions where he's playable.
  • He is the only main character from Operation Arrowhead to be canonically mentioned in ArmA 3; specifically in the Contact expansion pack.


See also

Characters of ArmA 2
USMC 27th MEU Carl DresslerDavid ArmstrongEd Winter* • John MaddoxShaftoe
Force Recon Brian O'HaraChad Rodriguez† • Ian Simmons† • Matthew CooperPatrick Miles† • Peter Adamson† • Randolph SykesRobert Johnson† • Sanjeev Raj† • Steve Kaminski
U.S. Army Task Force Knight Ben HerreraC.F. KaneGarry PierceHoward Drake
Delta Force Terry Graves
ACR Bohuslav KoubaJan KristekTomáš VybíralZabu
CDF BegunovR.A. StavovichTomas Marny
ChDKZ Gregori Lopotev* • Kostey† • Mikola Bardak* • Nikola Nikitin
Russian Armed Forces Karelin† • Lev Zotkin* • Mikhail Istcov* • Shagarov
NAPA Prizrak† • Little JohnYidashYuri Olegich
British Army Jack GallagherJames IrvinePhilip Stephenson
Bystrican Militia Andrej KasunBorz KazbekovDragan KasunRadan Miyović
Smugglers Aslan Radayev
ION Brian FrostFrank "Tanny" Radcliffe† • Henry AsanoJames Eckersley† • Mark ReynoldsPatrick Dixon† • Roland Saunderson
Takistani Army Muhammad R. Aziz


Anita BakerAntonia LagushinaIvan Ruce† • Joe Harris† • Josef Sova† • Rita EnslerValentina Galkina† • Vojtech Hladik
indicates deceased characters | * indicates character status is unknown
DLCs that the character was first introduced in:
Operation Arrowhead | British Armed Forces | Private Military Company | Army of the Czech Republic