Hero-Cavaliers of the Soviet Union:
Ivan Grigorevich Drachenko
by Henry Sakaida (continued)
Portrait of Hero-Cavalier DrachenkoHowever, due to a record error, the second request for the Glory 2nd came through, and he received this on 7 October 1944!
In October, Drachenko led a flight of six Sturmoviks which destroyed three Tiger tanks that had been stalling the Soviet advance for days, creating a bottleneck in the Carpathians.
In the meantime, Drachenko was recommended for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for having flown 157 missions, participating in 24 aerial combats, and having achieved the f
ollowing: 76 armored cars and tanks destroyed; railroad troop train - 6; automobiles - 654; heavy trucks and wagons - 122; supply depots - 7, plus 18 set on fire; shot down 5 enemy aircraft and destroyed another 9 on the ground; 4 bridges demolished, and over 1,600 enemy soldiers killed. On 26 October 1944, Drachenko received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
In 1947, Drachenko moved to Kiev and graduated from Kiev University in 1953, with a law degree. He later became a vocational school director, assistant director of the Ukraina Cultural Entertainment Palace, and deputy chairman of the Council for Studies of Labor Resources of the Ukrainian SSR.
On 26 November 1968, Drachenko turned in his duplicate Order of Glory 2nd Class, and received the 1st Class in return, making him a Cavalier of the Order of Glory.
Cavalier/Hero Ivan Drachenko was one of a very few IL-2 pilots to become an ace. He passed away on 15 November 1994.
I made an attempt to contact his family, but my inquiry was rebuffed. His cousin, a retired colonel, seemed very anxious to tell me everything about him, but for some strange reason, I never heard from him again.
Above Left: photograph of Hero-Cavalier Drachenko Below: Inside of Drachenko's Flight Logbook
Open view of Drachenko's Flight Log
 

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