Major Drury W. Wood
Wall of Honor Level:Air and Space Friend
Honored By:Ms. Jacquelin Piazza Walden
Major Drury W Wood's life began in Nashville, GA, November 5, 1923. His higher education consisted of 2 years at Georgia Technology Institute, 1941-42, specializing in Mechanical Engineering. WW II interrupted thoughts of further education, especially of the formal kind. On December 8, 1942, he enlisted in the Navy Flight Program. He was commissioned 2nd Lt. USMCR, and sent to Marine Fighter Squadron 123 flying the Corsair aboard the USS Bennington, CV20, flying strikes against Okinawa and mainland Japan; awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 3 Air Medals.
When WW II ended, Wood was transferred to Marine Fighter Squadron 225, Cherry Point, NC, where Wood was in a demonstration team. Subsequently, he was transferred to Second Marine Division, Le Juene, NC, as a Forward Air Controller, transferred again to Memphis, TN, to the Aviation Electronics Officers School. During these years, Wood married and raised a family.
The next move was to the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA as Operations Officer of Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron One.
In the fall of 1950 on a tranquil Sunday afternoon, Wood's Commanding Officer called and said, "Pack your gear. We're going to Korea." "Where is Korea?" Wood asked. "You'll find out." Meanwhile at the loading dock in Long Beach, CA, the International Longshoreman Workers Union was on strike, picketing for a pay raise. The Marine Division had to load all its own equipment. As Wood was loading 500 lb. bombs on the cargo ship one of them dropped from a chain hoist. A splinter from the bomb hit Wood in the eye, and the hoist injured the fingers of his left hand. He was taken to a hospital, treated, and bandaged with an arm sling and an eye patch. Already wounded and not yet in the war!
Two weeks later the ship docked in Osaka, Japan where the unit prepared and was in the invasion of Inchon, Korea. The unit then moved on toward Yonpo, N. Korea, the location of the Chosin Reservoir with it's 39% below-zero climate that claimed many casualties. Wood is honored as a member of the Chosin Few. The entrance of the Chinese outnumbered all the U.S. forces in Korea and forced a retreat to Pusan. A year later, Wood was returned to the States.
In 1952, Wood completed Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, MD. He tested Navy aircraft, was made Operations Officer of the school, and saw one of his students become a Senator and first American in space (John Glenn).
Wood went inactive military in 1955. As a civilian, he worked for Douglas testing Navy aircraft for 5 years; Northrup, 3 years, familiarized the Blue Angels Demonstration Team with the T38 Talon, and then moved to the Army Test and Evaluation Center for 2 years. This was the era when The Society of Experimental Test Pilots flourished. Wood was elected 7th President, and later received the Kinchloe Award as Test Pilot of the Year in 1968.
In 1964 Wood and family moved to Germany where he was made Chief Test Pilot for Dornier Aircraft. He was the only pilot to test or fly the DO 31, a military VSTOL transport, with 10 engines, and 5 still-standing World Records.
Wood retired after 27 active and reserve military years. Over his career he of flying over 150 types of aircraft including conventional, amphibian, and VSTOL single and multi engine.
He returned to university to finish his formal education and received a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Urban planning; was Mayor of a small Washington town, and settled down in SW Oregon on 5 acres of woodland.
FELLOW AND 7TH PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF EXPERIMENTAL TEST PILOTS
GOLDEN EAGLES (THE PIONEERS OF NAVAL AVIATION)
THE CHOSIN FEW, KOREA NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 1950
FELLOW AND CHARTER ENGINEER ROYAL AERONAUTICAL SOCIETY
HONORARY DIRECTOR OF DORNIER MUSEUM
HOOVER HALL OF HONOR
SMITHSONIAN WALL OF HONOR
OREGON AVIATION HALL OF HONOR
AMERICAN FLAG FLOWN IN MAJOR WOOD'S HONOR DURING 1/31/16 STRIKE OVER IRAQ
MEDALS, RIBBONS, AWARDS PRIZES
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
AIR MEDALS WW ll
COMMENDATION LETTER, KOREAN WAR, COMBAT V 1950-1952
PEACE TIME (ARMY MARINE CORP) 1945 1950, 1952-1955
KINCHLOE AWARD (TEST PILOT OF THE YEAR) 1968
GERMAN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS (CIVIL)
WASHINGTON STATE NATIONAL GUARD 1980-1988
IN 2013, KOREAN WAR VETERANS FROM NUMEROUS COUNTRIES SUBMITTED ESSAYS TO THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA'S WRITING CONTEST. WOOD'S WAR HAS NO TIME TO MOURN, WON HIM THE FIRST PLACE PRIZE OF 1O MILLION WON ($9,500) AND SEVERAL AWARD CEREMONIES HERE AND IN ROK.