Email to Lou Ives
October 1, 2005
Sorry to have missed your IM’s of this morn.
We were untouched by [Hurricane] Rita. Didn’t evacuate either, although we had a mandatory evac. In Corpus…put out by the Mayor. Maybe 1/3 of the people evacuated; Padre Island’s number would have been higher. The island now is building fast; prices are going out of reason. A hurricane hit will slow that down.
Seems to me you had some connection with a university…was it U. of VA? [it was, and is]. I have a granddaughter there…a sophomore .
We are heading that way in a couple of weeks. One of our sons and his wife live in Anderson, SC. Close to Clemson. Our son’s wife teaches math at Clemson. They are going with us. We want to visit Monticello, spend a few hours in the Fredricksburg area, then up to Dulles to see the new aviation museum, then to Harper’s Ferry, then S down thru the Shenandoah and back to Anderson, stopping a few hours in Lexington to visit Stonewall Jackson’s home and Washington and Lee where Lee is buried. Quite a coincidence…Jackson and Lee buried in the same small town. Yes, I am a Civil War buff.
I married a Corpus girl in ’52, when I was here in C.C. instructing in F6F’s in advanced training. We produced a large family…9 offspring. We both enjoy good health and are enjoying good times here.
A brief summary of my Navy career. I flew Corsairs from ’48 thru ’50…2 Med. cruises. Then went to Advanced Training Command in Corpus and instructed. The training command no longer had Corsairs…they were needed in Korea. So we had F6F’s, F8F’s, and AD’s. Two years of flying as much as I wanted! Then BuPers got even with me….sent me to Cat and Arresting Gear School, then to a Jeep Carrier out of Norfolk. That tour was for about 18 mos, during which I made LT.
Then I got back to fleet flying…transitioned to F9F-8s out of Cecil Field. We were on Ticonderoga…straight deck, no mirror. Came aboard about 125 knots. A lot of fun flying the F9F-8. We were strictly a day fighter...4 20mm cannon only. No drops, no other ordnance, daylight only. A blast.
After about 1 ½ years of that, I got orders to Tulane…1 ½ years. Got my degree then on to Monterrey, Cal. and Line School followed by a 1 ½ yr. tour at Pt. Mugu, Cal. I was assigned to the Pacific Missile Range Hdqtrs, but never did understand what my job was. We were operators of the range, which extended from Pt Mugu to Kwajalein. I got to schedule a Navy Constellation which periodically made the run from Mugu to Hawaii to Wake to Kwaj. Occasionally I flew F9F-6 drones just for flight time. Charlie Brown [AvMidn with Dean and Lou – Ottumwa Preflight Class 9-46] was there too. He was also at Line School in my class.
I’m not sure whether Charlie knew what he was doing at Mugu either. He married a girl at Corpus while we were there. At Mugu, their little fellow got spinal meningitis and passed away. Their first and at that time only child. They had at least one other child later on.
After 1 ½ years at Mugu, I got orders to A3D’s at Whidbey Island, Wash…summer of ’60. Went thru the A3 training squadron, then had a very busy schedule deploying to WestPac. Went out three times on Coral Sea. It was nukes of course, and entirely different from my prior flying. It was a very good tour tho…the squadron I was in was very good. Thereafter I got orders to Vigilantes (A-5s) out of Sanford, Fl.
The rest of my flying career was in A-5s. I finished training and went to a squadron which was getting ready to deploy on Kitty Hawk to WestPac. The Viet Nam War was on. I was to be XO, but while in the training sqd. the C.O. was killed, and I was asked to go to the squadron as C.O. After a disastrous Tonkin Gulf tour (disastrous because our losses were so high), I got orders back to Sanford to be the C.O. of the training squadron. The A-3 and A-5 tours were fruitful for me, but troublesome as an aviator. The plane was difficult to maintain, and the accident rate and combat losses were still high. I got awfully tired of delivering bad news to the next of kin.
When I finished my tour in the A-5 training squadron, I got orders to [USS] Intrepid as Ops Officer. Made 3 trips out to WPac on Intrepid, then got orders to Naval War College in Newport, RI. From there I went to BuPers as the Navy’s man on POWs and MIAs. I lasted about 1 ½ years in that unpleasant assignment, then got orders to the A-5 community again as the Wing Commander. They were by that time at NAS Albany, Ga., formerly an Air Force Sac Base. After 3 years there I requested retirement and we moved here in 1974. Thirty years, retired, and have now  been retired for 31 years. I’m active, but not very productive. Do things like playing tennis and cutting the grass. My oldest son and I have had a Beech Debonaire…a Bonanza with a conventional tail instead of the V-tail. We both fly it, but not very much on my part…gas is too expensive, and consumption is about 12 gal/hr.
I presume you are sufficiently bored now, so I’ll close this out.
Hope you and family are fine and enjoying life as we are. Good to hear from you.