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First Name: Samuel

Last Name: Drew

Birthplace: Wurzburg, DEU

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Nelson

Date of Birth: 26 February 1948

Date of Death: 19 August 1995

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Samuel Nelson Drew


Samuel Nelson Drew
Colonel, U.S. Air Force

Samuel Nelson Drew was born on 26 February 1948 in Wurzburg, Germany.

Drew graduated from Louisa County High School in Virginia. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also earned a Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1986. 

He served as an operational intelligence officer here and abroad until 1980. From then until 1983, and again in 1989, he taught political science at the Air Force Academy. He was named a National Security Fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1989, leaving a year later to become U.S. Assistant for Defense Operations and Policy for NATO in Brussels.

Drew became a professor of National Security Policy at the National War College in January 1994 and later moved to Herndon, VA, to serve as NATO Branch Chief in the Directorate for Strategic Plans and Policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Shortly before his death, he had been named the Director of European Affairs for the National Security Council. He was largely responsible for investing the military and diplomatic initiatives of the U.S. and Bosnia with a coherent design for peace. He was universally respected for his knowledge, his negotiating skills, his strategic thinking about the future of NATO and Europe after the Cold War.

While on their way to Sarajevo to discuss new peace plans in the Balkans, he and two other U.S. diplomats (Joseph Kruzel, and Robert C. Frasure) were killed when a rain-soaked mountainside dirt road collapsed beneath the armored personnel carrier in which they were traveling, sending the vehicle rolling down a 500-meter slope into a ravine.

Medals and Awards

Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (3 Awards)
Air Force Commendation Medal (2 Awards)

President Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal, posthumously.

Published Books

Drew wrote several books and articles on national security, including "NATO From Berlin to Bosnia: Trans-Atlantic Security in Transition" and "NSC-68: Forging the Strategy of Containment." 

Death and Burial

Colonel Samuel Nelson Drew died in a vehicle accident on 19 August 1995 in the Balkans. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Snyder Drew, and 2 children, Samantha and Phillip, all of Herndon, VA.

Honoree ID: 2436   Created by: MHOH




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