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Samuel Nelson Drew
Colonel, United States Air Force
American Memory
August 23, 1995:

The Director of European Affairs for the National Security Council, died August 19, 1995 when the armored vehicle in which he was riding plunged off a mountainside in Bosnia.

He was one of three US diplomats killed on their way to Sarajevo to discuss new peace plans in the Balkans. He lived in Herndon. Born in Wurzburg, Germany, Colonel Drew grad from Louisa County High School in Virginia and earned degrees in journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970. He earned a master's degree in political science at Chapel Hill in 1972 and a doctorate 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 US Assistant for Defense Operations and Policy for NATO in Brussels. He became a professor of national security policy at the National War College in January 1994 and moved to Herndon this January to serve as NATO Branch Chief in the Directorate for Strategic Plans and Policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Colonel Drew's military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with 2 OLC, and Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 OLC. He 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." 

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Snyder Drew, and 2 children, Samantha and Phillip, all of Herndon. Funeral services will be at 10 am tomorrow at the Ft Myer Post Chapel, followed by burial in Arlington National Cemetery.



August 24, 1995:

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming - President Clinton will interrupt his summer vacation tomorrow and return home to attend the memorial svce for 3 US diplomats who died Sat in a crash en route to Sarajevo. "He wanted to pay his respects to the Americans who were killed and to attend the svces with their friends and families," said Dep White House Press Secy Ginny Terzano. "He knew each of them personally," she added. Mr Clinton decided early yesterday morning to attend the svces at Ft Myer Chapel in Arlington. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will accompany the president on the trip. The bodies of Robert Frasure, 53, the Special American Envoy to the former Yugoslavia, Joseph Kruzel, 50, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Air Force Col Samuel Nelson Drew, 47, a National Security Council aide, were flown to Washington, DC yesterday. They will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Mr Clinton does not plan to attend the individual funeral services or the interments, Miss Terzano said. She said that Mr Frasure will be buried today and Col Drew and Mr Kruzel will be buried on Thursday. 

Mr. Clinton's return home follows some criticism of his decision on Sat to express condolences from a golf course and his phone calls to the wives of the 3 from the greens of Teton Pines Golf Course some 10 miles from Jackson. Aides, however, defended the president and characterized the criticisms as unfair since the president spent a large chunk of time Saturday reviewing the fatal Bosnian peace trip by his three aides. 

Current plans are for Mr Clinton to fly home tomorrow, attend the 2-hour memorial service, and then fly back here. He does not plan to make a stop at the White House, although those plans could change. Former Presidents Bush and Reagan similarly broke from their vacations to return to the Oval Office. Mr Reagan, for example, returned September 2, 1983, after the Soviet Air Force shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 off the coast of the Soviet Union. Mr Bush returned August 22, 1991, after a coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. 

While the deaths of the three diplomats will make it more difficult to sell the Clinton peace plan, Mr Clinton wants the effort to push forward, according to administration officials. The top US peace envoy, Asst Secy of State Richard Holbrooke, is already drawing up a new peace negotiation team to return soon to Bosnia. 

December 15, 1995:

President Clinton awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal postumously to 3 US diplomats killed in August in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Air Force Col Nelson Drew, Ambassador Robert Frasure and Joseph Kruzel were killed when their military vehicle plummeted down a mountainside cliff while on a diplomatic mission in Bosnia.

SN Drew Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Len Cowherd


Posted: 23 August 1995 Updated: 17 September 2005 Updated: 3 June 2006
American Memory

SN Drew Gravesite PHOTO
A picture at Samuel Nelson Drew's grave site taken in June of 1999.  (L-R) Leonard M. Cowherd III, Laura V. Cowherd & Colby A. Cowherd, all cousins of Colonel Drew.
Leonard was set to enter West Point in a few days. He had attended Nelson's funeral in 1995.  He was killed in Iraq on 16 May 2004 and is buried "down the hill" in Section 60.
Photo Courtesy of Len Cowherd