Urban Leonard Drew
|Born||March 21, 1924|
|Died||April 3, 2013 89) (aged|
|Service/|| United States Army Air Forces |
United States Air Force
Michigan Air National Guard
|Years of service||1942–1950|
|Unit|| 361st Fighter Group |
414th Fighter Group
|Commands held||375th Fighter Squadron|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Air Force Cross |
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal (14)
Urban Leonard Drew (March 21, 1924 – April 3, 2013), known as Ben Drew, was a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Forces and a flying ace of World War II. He was the first and the only Allied pilot to shoot down two Luftwaffe jet-powered Me 262 aircraft in a single mission while flying a propeller-driven North American P-51 Mustang. He received the Air Force Cross for the mission in 1983.
Drew was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924, he was raised along with a younger brother by their schoolteacher mother. His father died when Drew was at the age of 3. He received his education at Wayne University and the University of Michigan, graduating with a degree in Political Science.
Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of eighteen, Drew joined the United States Army Air Forces and commenced pilot training.
He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on May 14, 1942, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program in October 1942.
Drew was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings in Marianna Army Field on October 1, 1943, and began training as an instructor pilot for the North American P-51 Mustang at Bartow Field and then served as a P-51 Mustang instructor pilot with the 56th Fighter Squadron of the 54th Fighter Group.
He went overseas in May 1944 and was assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron of the 361st Fighter Group, which was stationed at RAF Bottisham and later at RAF Little Walden.
During his tour with the 361st Fighter Group, which was commonly known as "Yellowjackets", Drew completed 75 missions, rising to command of "A" Flight and the 375th Fighter Squadron.
Drew would be officially credited with six aerial victories during his combat tour. "Detroit Miss", coded E2-D was his personal P-51, during his tour with 361st Fighter Group.
He was credited with 6 aerial victories, 1 ground victory, 1 damaged and 1 water kill, in which he and his wingman sank and burned the largest aircraft in world, the Blohm & Voss BV238-V1 on 18 September 1944. Hitler was going to use it to bomb Washington and New York City.
His biggest day was on October 7, 1944, when he shot down 2 jet-powered Me 262s on a single mission while leading an attack on Achmer Aerodrome.
His appeal for the Distinguished Service Cross was denied, because of the lack of evidence for his kills; the gun camera of his P-51 had jammed and his wingman, 2nd Lt. Robert McCandliss was shot down and became a prisoner of war.However, he was awarded the Air Force Cross many years later (see Belated recognition subsection below).
After his service in Europe, Drew was transferred to various training bases in the U.S.
In 1945 he was assigned to the 413th Fighter Squadron of 414th Fighter Group, flying P-47 Thunderbolts at Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands, where he flew B-29 Superfortress escorts over Japan and strafing missions on hangars, barracks, ammunition dumps, trains, marshalling yards and shipping.
After the war, Drew helped organize the 127th Fighter Group of Michigan Air National Guard.
He became deputy group commander and later was appointed the first Air Adjutant General of the State of Michigan.He served this position till he left active duty on 1950.
More than 40 years later, an Air Force clerk noticed Drew's claim for two Me 262 victories on the same mission. She contacted a custodian of German war records who knew former Luftwaffe pilots who might be able to shed light on the claim.
Georg-Peter Eder had been set to lead the Me 262s of JG 7 that day, but when his aircraft had problems taking off the two-ill-fated pilots took off to lead JG 7.
Eder says he saw a yellow-nosed P-51 dive on the Me 262s and shoot them down. Eder couldn't read "Detroit Miss" on the nose of the P-51 Mustang, but his account was sufficient to confirm Drew's two Me 262 victories.
After the total story was confirmed by both the German Luftwaffe archives and the United States Air Force archives, the Air Force Board for the Correction of Military Records recommended that Drew and his wife were flown in an Air Force C-141 Starlifter from Johannesburg, South Africa for the ceremony.
The Secretary of the Air Force, Verne Orr presented the Air Force Cross on May 12, 1983. He is one of the only three airmen to receive Air Force Cross for actions in World War II.
|Date||#||Type||Location||Aircraft flown||Unit Assigned|
|June 25, 1944||1||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Lisieux, France||P-51B||375 FS, 361 FG|
|August 25, 1944||1||Bf 109||Rostock, Germany||P-51B||375 FS, 361 FG|
|September 11, 1944||1||Bf 109||Göttingen, Germany||P-51D||375 FS, 361 FG|
|September 18, 1944||1||Heinkel He 111||Fehmarn Belt||P-51D||375 FS, 361 FG|
|October 7, 1944||2||Messerschmitt Me 262||Achmer, Germany||P-51D||375 FS, 361 FG|
Drew's decorations include:
|USAF Pilot Badge|
|Air Force Cross|
| Distinguished Flying Cross |
with 1 bronze oak leaf cluster
| Air Medal |
with 2 silver and 2 bronze oak leaf clusters
| Air Medal |
(second ribbon required for accouterment spacing)
|American Campaign Medal||Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal|| European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal |
with 4 bronze campaign stars
|World War II Victory Medal||National Defence Service Medal||Air Force Longevity Service Award|
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Major (Air Corps) (then First Lieutenant) Urban L. "Ben" Drew, United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane and Leader of Blue Flight, 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force in action near Hamm, Germany, on 7 October 1944. On that date, Lieutenant Drew became the first Allied pilot to shoot down in combat two Me 262 aircraft. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and in the dedication of his service to his country, Lieutenant Drew reflected the highest credit on himself and the United States Air Force.
After his retirement from military life, Drew established an aviation business in United Kingdom and South Africa.
Drew died on April 3, 2013 at Vista, California and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Duane Willard Beeson was an American fighter pilot and flying ace of World War II. He scored 22.08 victories, including 17.3 air-to-air kills, 12 of which were scored in the P-47C/D Thunderbolt, and 5.3 of which were scored in the P-51-B Mustang. Beeson was one of ten United States Army Air Forces pilots who became an ace in two different types of fighter aircraft.
Royal Air Force Bottisham or more simply RAF Bottisham is a former Royal Air Force station located 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.
The 357th Fighter Group was an air combat unit of the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. The 357th operated P-51 Mustang aircraft as part of the U.S. Eighth Air Force and its members were known unofficially as the Yoxford Boys after the village of Yoxford near their base in the UK. Its victory totals in air-to-air combat are the most of any P-51 group in the Eighth Air Force and third among all groups fighting in Europe.
The 361st Fighter Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the European Theatre of World War II.
The 479th Flying Training Group is a United States Air Force unit, stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola. A component of Air Education and Training Command, the group was activated on 2 October 2009. The current commander of the 479th Flying Training Group is Col Charles A. McElvaine.
The 156th Airlift Squadron is a unit of the North Carolina Air National Guard 145th Airlift Wing. It is assigned to Charlotte Air National Guard Base, North Carolina and is equipped with the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
The 185th Special Operations Squadron is a unit of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Special Operations Wing located at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The 185th is the only National Guard unit to be equipped with the MC-12W. While commonly known as "Liberty" the aircraft does not have an official nickname and AFMC's Project Liberty Office was closed upon transfer of the aircraft to the Project Javaman Office for support to United States Special Operations Command. Liberty was named after the WWII Liberty Ship rapid shipbuilding project while Javaman was named after a declassified World War II naval project involving remote control attack boats controlled by retrofitted bomber aircraft. The unit is known as the "Sooners." Famous unit alumni include former Vietnam prisoner of war Brig. Gen. James Robinson "Robbie" Risner and Astronaut Captain Fred Wallace Haise Jr., Apollo 13 Lunar Module Pilot.
The 100th Fighter Squadron is a unit of the Alabama Air National Guard 187th Fighter Wing located at Dannelly Field, Alabama. The 100th is equipped with the General Dynamics F-16C+ Fighting Falcon.
The 461st Flight Test Squadron is a United States Air Force squadron, assigned to the 412th Operations Group of Air Force Materiel Command, and is stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The It performs flight testing on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
The 356th Fighter Group is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the Army Service Forces, being stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 10 November 1945.
The 354th Operations Group is a component of the 354th Fighter Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces. The group is stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The 31st Operations Group is the flying component of the 31st Fighter Wing, assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. It is stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
The 332d Expeditionary Operations Group is a provisional air expeditionary group of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command, currently active. It was inactivated on 8 May 2012 and reactivated 16 November 2014.
The 376th Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 361st Fighter Group, VIII Fighter Command, stationed at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts. It was inactivated on 23 October 1945.
The 337th Aeronautical Systems Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Aeronautical Systems Center of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where it was inactivated in 2008.
The 172d Air Support Squadron is a unit of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Airlift Wing located at Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan. The 172d was last equipped with the C-21A Learjet before the aircraft were transferred in 2013.
Glenn Todd Eagleston was a career officer in the United States Air Force and the leading ace of Ninth Air Force in Europe in World War II. Eagleston was credited with 18 1/2 victories, two probable victories, and seven damaged German aircraft. He also destroyed at least five enemy aircraft on the ground, while flying P-51 Mustangs with the 354th Fighter Group.
The 116th Operations Group is a Georgia Air National Guard unit assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing. The unit is stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The 116th Group controls all operational Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint STARS aircraft of the 116th Air Control Wing. It was activated in 1992, when the Air Force implemented the Objective Wing organization, and was successively equipped with the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the Rockwell B-1 Lancer before converting to the E-8C in 2002.
John James Voll was a career officer in the United States Air Force and a World War II flying ace. He flew P-51 Mustangs with the 308th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Group. He was the third highest scoring P-51 Mustang ace of the war, and the top USAAF ace of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and Fifteenth Air Force, with 21 aerial victories.
The mission of the 131st Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, is to provide expeditionary, B-2 global strike combat support capabilities to geographic commanders and Commander, United States Strategic Command. This is done by training and equipping airmen to fly the aircraft of the 509th Bomb Wing. The group also organizes, trains, and prepares a force of citizen airmen to defend and serve the people of Missouri.