Frank Drew


Brigadier General Frank Morehead Drew passed away November 13, 2021 at the age of 91, surrounded by his family in his home in Waco, Texas.

Frank was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 10, 1930, third child of Robert Woodson Drew and Mary Way Passmore Drew. A youngster during the Great Depression and youth of World War II, his formative years were spent in Kentucky. His father and brother both served in WWII as pilots. Prior to the war, his father operated a sea-plane flying service on the Ohio River. These experiences set the stage for his career as a fighter pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. After a single year at Western Kentucky University, Frank transferred to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1953 with a commission in the United States Air Force. A 26 year military career culminated in service as a Brigadier General in the Air Force. He was in the first group of Air Training Officers (ATO’s) at the Air Force Academy and was selected to be a model for the new cadet uniforms, designed by Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille. Posters of Frank in the new uniform went up in recruiting centers and federal buildings around the country. Frank attended the National War College and received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

While serving as a major during the Vietnam War, Frank met the love of his life – an International Voluntary Services (IVS) volunteer and USAID worker in Laos from northern Idaho, Carol Falk, who spent nearly three years in Southeast Asia during the war years and the rest of her life at his side.

Frank’s military career included being in the inaugural group ATO at the new Air Force Academy, a flight commander based in France, Libya and Turkey for Fighter-Bomber wings and Tactical Air Command squadrons, setting up and managing a Victor Alert Cell in Turkey, graduation from the Army Command and General Staff College, and an Air Commando in combat operations in Laos and Thailand (Vietnam War), which included commanding the Tropic Moon I Task Force, a special Air Warfare Center unit equipped with night vision devices, the first of their kind. When he returned to the states, he was assigned as Chief of the Air Support Branch in the Defense Communications Planning Group in Washington, D.C., working next in the Office of the Special Assistant for Sensor Exploitation, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, on technologies used during the Vietnam War. He later entered the National War College, and in 1971 became Assistant for General Officer Matters in Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel. In 1974, he was assigned Commandant of the Air Command and Staff College at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base. His final two positions were serving as chief of the Air Force section of the US Delegation, Joint Brazil-United States Military Commission and his return to the states as Vice Commander of the Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center at Nellis Air Force Base, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frank’s airplanes included training, combat and non-combat time in the PA-18 (Super Cub), T-6, T-28 (Trojan), T-29, T-33, T-39, F-80, F-86 (Saberjet), F-100 (Super Sabre), C-47, B-25 and A1-E (Skyraider). While in Brazil, he flew as a “guest pilot” in the PBY-SA’s (seaplane), Grumman S-3, and Embraer Xavante Fighter Trainer. He was a command pilot with over 3,600 flying hours, with military decorations and awards, including the Legion of Merit with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Medal w/4 Bronze OLC’s Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/OLC, National Defense Service Medal w/three Bronze Stars, Vietnam Service Medal w/3 Bronze Stars, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Short w/2 Bronze Stars and Long w/2 Bronze Stars, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon w/5 Silver OLC’s, the RVN Gallantry Cross w/ Palm and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

During his years in the Air Force, Frank and Carol built a family with four children. After retiring from the Air Force, Frank worked for the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California and Austin, Texas in Product Development and International Marketing. After Frank retired from Lockheed, he kept busy, passing a civilian aviator class II medical exam and flying again. He wrote an article about getting back in the sky at age 65, which Plane and Pilot magazine published. He also wrote a memoir of his life and became an inventor, winning a National Hardware Association’s prize for innovation. His alma mater, Beverly Hills High School, hung his picture in their Hall of Fame a few years ago.

Through all the years, Frank and Carol put family first. From the day their first child arrived, the Drew family, with Frank at the head, had a magic word. The magic word was “Family!”

Frank is survived by his wife, Carol Arlene Drew; his daughters Amy Hines of Waco, Mary (Dean) Courtney of Panama City, Florida, and Emily (David) Tietz of Victoria, BC; his son, Frank Drew of Waco; and his six grand-children. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Woodson Drew; mother, Mary Way Passmore; brother Robert Lincoln Drew, and sisters Nancy (Taylor) Bennett, and Mary Way Greer.

Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 4, 2021 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Waco, Texas. Full funeral military honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in 2022.

In memory of Frank Drew, contributions may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or designate the gift to Moon Shot – Glioblastoma –MSGLB.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Tom and I express our deepest sympathy at the death of Frank. He was such a fine man and we were blessed to have him as a friend. He always made you feel special when together. He gave so much of his life serving our Country.
    May God’s gracious love fill you with Peace at this sad time.
    Tom and I are so sorry we will not be able to attend his service. You will be in our prayers and our spirit will be with you.
    Love and blessings to all of you.
    Betty and Tom

  2. Frank was the most complementary man, I never talk to him without him finding
    Something to complement me about, as I’m sure he did to everyone.
    He told me when I would ask about him and his Service. I don’t like to toot my own horn.
    Frank your horn deserves tooting. Thank you for your Service.
    Will miss you my neighbor. ✈️ Fly High
    Larry Wollard

  3. The Fortune’s send our deepest sympathy to Carol & family. We all loved the Drews’s family & Jim had a special bond with Frank, both liked classic cars. I’m planning to attend the memorial service. You”re in our thoughts & prayers. God Bless You All!
    Love & God Give you Peace!
    Marie & family

    • Thank you Marie. Such fond memories of fond times. Looking forward to seeing you if you can make it.

      • Drew family,
        I’m so sorry to say that I won’t make it to the service but I want to come during week to visit with mom & all of you soon.
        You all are in my thoughts & prayers. It’s been 7 years when Jim passed & he’s in my thoughts daily Give your mom a big hug from me & send my love to all!
        God Bless You All & Give You Peace!
        Love you All,
        Marie & family❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏

  4. We extend our deepest condolence to Carol and the entire family. Thanks to Carol and Frank for their long and distinguished service to our great country and in civilian life after retirement from the Air Force. We will not be able to attend the memorial service on December 4, I will be in Hillcrest recovering from total hip replacement surgery.
    God bless you, Carol, and your entire family. Remember the wonderful and good times you all shared.
    Dr. Harold and RoseMary Rafuse
    Retired USAF officer, pilot and space operations officer
    And, neighbors across the street

  5. We extend our deepest condolences, Frank was a good family friend and will be missed. Our families grew up together in the 80s and 90s in west Austin. Those are times we fondly look back upon. The whole Drew family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    –Adam E. Hampton, Charles Hampton, Jr., Charles Hampton & Cynthia Hampton

  6. We extend our deepest condolences, Frank was a good family friend and will be missed.

    Our families grew up together in the 80s and 90s in west Austin. Those are times we fondly look back upon. The whole Drew family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    –Adam Hampton, Charles Hampton, Jr., Charles Hampton & Cynthia Hampton

  7. Monica Mulvihill

    I’m having a hard time writing this as I cry after the beautiful slideshow that I just watched. I’m so sad that I can’t be there to celebrate wonderful Mr. Drew! I thank God for the day I wandered down the street to say hi to 2 year old Amy who was out front on her little bike. Mr. Drew was a one-of-a-kind wonderful man and I will always have fond memories of his loving spirit. I was so proud to tell people that my good friend was a general in the Air Force. Even though it’s been many years since we lived near each other, your whole family has always held a special place in my heart and always will. I will miss Mr. Drew’s smile and happy disposition and of course I will miss being called Minka. Love to all of you from me, Jeff, Carly, and Jenna!

  8. Bangorn and Gary Grim

    Thank you Carol, Amy, Mary, Emily and Frank for the opportunity to know Frank better through the memories of those he loved. We will never forget all of you.

  9. J.T. Smith, Lt Col USAF (Ret), USAFA '60

    When an Air Force Academy Cadet, I was privileged to have been among those trained by General Drew. He was an outstanding man and officer in every respect. He stands in my memory, and in those of many others, as an unparalleled role model. He taught us all exactly to what we should aspire both as Air Force officers and as men. The news of his passing is very sad indeed to all members of the USAF Academy Class of 1960. Our condolences go to his family.

    Smooth skies and tailwinds to you, sir.

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