Ben Drew was born on March 21, 1924, in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. 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, Florida, on October 1, 1943, 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 in Europe, where he was credited with destroying 6 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 1 probable, and 1 on the ground. He was the first person to shoot down 2 Me-262 jet fighters and was awarded the Air Force Cross for this feat nearly 40 years later. After his tour in the ETO, Drew was assigned to the 413th Fighter Squadron of the 414th Fighter Group, where he flew P-47 Thunderbolts off of Iwo Jima until the end of the war. Capt Drew left active duty on January 18, 1946, and then helped organize the 127th Fighter Group of the Michigan Air National Guard, where he served until 1950. Ben Drew died on April 3, 2013.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Urban L. Drew, Major (Air Corps) [then First Lieutenant], U.S. 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, 8th 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.