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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Maj Urban L Drew USAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Urban "Ben" Drew was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of eighteen, Drew joined the USAAF and commenced pilot training. He earned his wings and a commission at Mariana, Florida in October 1943. He remained in the States honing his flying skills as an instructor pilot for the North American P-51 Mustang at Bartow, Florida. In May of 1944 he received his first overseas combat assignment, sailing to England on the Queen Elizabeth. He was assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron "Yellowjackets" of the 361st Fighter Group based in at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire. Later his squadron would be relocated to Little Walden in Essex. During his combat tour Drew would fly a total of seventy-five combat missions, rising to command of X Flight and later to command of the 375th squadron. Drew would be officially credited with six aerial victories during his combat tour. Notable was his downing of two Me-262 jets on October 7, 1944. He was the first fighter pilot to down two of the German jets, and he received the Air Force Cross for this achievement. Also of note was the ace's destruction of the largest aircraft to fly in WW 11, the BV-238, which he destroyed in a strafing pass with two wingman on Lake Schaal on September 18, 1944. Initially he was credited with the destruction of a BV-222, and it was not until many years later during the research for a British Broadcasting Company documentary that it became clear that it was a BV-238 which Drew and his wingmen strafed and destroyed on September 18, 1944. Following his successful combat tour, Drew returned to the States where he again served as a flight instructor. In 1945 he was assigned to the 412 th Fighter Squadron of the 414 th Fighter Group based at lwo Jima flying the P-47 Jug. Drew's final victory tally included 6 confirmed aerial victories, 1 damaged, and 1 additional aircraft destroyed on the ground. In addition to the Air Force Cross, Drew was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals. Following the War Drew helped organize the 127 th Fighter Group of the Michigan National Guard. He became Deputy Group Commander and later was appointed the first Air Adjutant General of the State of Michigan. After his retirement from the Air Force with the rank of Major, he established an aviation business in Britain and South Africa. He currently resides in Southern California, and remains active in matters involving the American Fighter Aces Association. Sadly we have learned that Ben Drew passed away on 3rd April 2013.|
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