William G. Draper

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Colonel William Grafton Draper
"Colombine III", VC-121E Super Constellation 53-7885 flown by Colonel Draper while pilot for President Eisenhower, 1960

William G. Draper (June 28, 1920 – November 26, 1964) was a career military officer and Air Force Aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[1]

He was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and graduated from Central High School in Washington, D.C. in 1939. He obtained his CAA private and commercial licenses in 1940, and in 1941 received his instructor’s rating at the Wilmington, Delaware airport. In November 1942 he joined the United States Army Air Forces and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He was assigned to Air Transport Command North Atlantic Wing ferrying B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to England and North Africa. He later was assigned to the Air Transport command India-China Division “Fireball Line,” which flew supplies and equipment in the China-Burma-India Theater from Miami to Assam, India.

From 1950 to 1952 he was the personal pilot for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, and later served as President Eisenhower’s personal pilot and Air Force Aide.[2] Colonel Draper was the pilot of Eisenhower's Presidential plane "Columbine," the predecessor of what we now call "Air Force One."

On November 26, 1964, he committed suicide by hanging himself, reportedly depressed after a heart attack ended his service as a pilot, which he had been continuously since he was 19.[3] He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Draper appeared on an episode of What's My Line.[4]


  1. ^ Government Printing Office. U.S. Government Organization Manual 1955-1956. Washington, DC: GPO. p. 62.
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1964/11/26/eisenhower-pilot-found-hanged-in-home-in-a-washington-suburb.html
  4. ^ http://www.tv.com/shows/whats-my-line/episode-259-95216/

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