SHARKHUNTERS Salutes Veterans

Major  URBAN  L.  DREW  (4717-1996)
United States Army Air Force,
Fighter pilot


Urban "Ben" DREW was born 21 Marcy 1924 in Detroit, Michigan, entered the USAAF in October 1942 and graduated in Class 43-I in Marian, Florida.  1sr Lieutenant Drew was assigned the replacement base at Bartow, Florida and while training there, got lost and when faced with running out of fuel, he landed in a farmer's field by popping up over the power lines and stalling his plane beautifully, putting it down safely onto the freshly plowed ground.  He got a ride back to his base from a farmer and when his Squadron C.O. returned to retrieve the plane, he was faced with two decisions - either have the plane disassembled and trucked back to base or try to fly it out himself.  He chose the latter and, according to BEN, held the brakes, revved the engine to maximum power, released the the wheels caught in a furrow, ground looped the plane and was forced to have it disassembled and trucked back to the base.  Ben said the last he saw of his former Squadron C.O. was as he was packing his bags to rejoin the "walking Army".


After completion of his studies there, he was kept on as an instructor for the P-51 fighter.  He was soon reassigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron,  361st Fighter Group based at Bottisham, Cambridgeshire, England.  This group, nicknamed the "Yellowjackets" moved to Little Walden in Essex where he eventually rose to command "A" Flight.

After his combat he was transferred to various USAAF bases around the USA for a while but in 1945, he was sent to Iwo Jima and assigned to the 413th Fighter Squadron, 414th Fighter Group where he flew P-47 'Thunderbolt' fighters.


BEN's most notable combats during the war were:

*  Sinking the Luftwaffe's only six-engine flying boat
     on a lake in northern Germany;

*  Shooting down the first two jet fighters ever shot down in combat.  He jumped them as they were taking off and shot down the Squadron Commander and his wingman as depicted in the items seen below.


After the end of the war, "BEN" helped organize the 127th Fighter Group of the Michigan Air National Guard where he ultimately became Deputy Group Commander then Air Adjutant General of the State of Michigan.  He emigrated to South Africa where he established aviation business there and he married the reigning Miss South Africa.  After many years there, "BEN" wanted to return to his native USA but his wife said that she was not going to leave South Africa.  He came home to the USA - she stayed in her home in South Africa and they went their separate ways.



Both these beautiful ONE-OF-A-KIND works of art are hand signed by both "BEN" DREW (RED CIRCLE) and the artist RAYMOND WADDEY (1238-1989) (BLUE CIRCLE).  They are featured on our Sharkhunters AUCTION.  Naturally, these red and blue circles are NOT on the original painting.  They are on these photos to show the position of the autographs.