You can't do it the normal Linux way because your USB drive is not a native Linux filesystem (It's probably FAT/NTFS) so does not really understand Linux permissions. The ownership & permissions for FAT/NTFS partitions are assigned to it during the mount process.
Run 'df -hT' to see what filesystem the USB drive is.
Since most modern systems use udev rules to automount drives, it's not very easy to change this default behavior. If you are mounting it manually or using an fstab entry, you can tweak fstab to give you your desired settings. Something like this:
/dev/sde1 /home/kuiper ntfs-3g user,uid=1000,gid=1000 0 0
This will mount your USB drive using the specified uid & gid.
Last edited by ongte; 03-27-2011 at 09:51 AM.