Letter to Lou Ives

BOX 430

October 18, 1990


Aviation Midshipman Lou Ives
1109 Fox Ridge
Earlysville, Virginia 22936


Dear Lou:

Received letter of September 26, 1990 and I'm just now getting around to answer. As for some of the data requested about Bob Bick the following applies:

VC-4, DET 44N was on the Lake Champlain (not the Fighting Lady as I previously stated). The team consisted of Jerry O’Rourke, Bobby Allen, Bob Bick, Jim Brown and myself [Glenn Wegener].

I don’t know what preflight class Bob Bick was in but it was close 15-48 through 19-48. (I was in class 16 and graduated with class 18 due to an illness. He was near one of my classes and I was In battalion 3 and I think Bob was In either the first or second battalion).

I made a Mediterranean cruise with Bob Bick before we went to Korea in 1953. Cleve Null, Burt Burtchall, Eric Steentofte, Bob Bick and. Glenn Wegener went to the Mediterranean in 1952 but participated in “Main Brace" in the North Atlantic first aboard the USS Roosevelt. We made the first F3D, Willie the Whale, cruise in that aircraft starting in 1952,

The diagram of events in North Korea are fairly accu­rate except when In the B-29 flight stream as an escort you stayed until the last B-29 was on its return trip either to Japan or Okinawa. I don't remember an inbound or outbound portion of the escort process. The F3Ds were stacked at various altitudes in the stream and if any intruder "MiG" showed up we would pursue the intruder. They were so awed by our fine onboard radar that they seldom engaged the F3D but they tried to pursue the more vulnerable B-29s. 

In the cat and mouse of the ensign MiG in the front and three attackers in the rear, it is noteworthy that the bait always stayed just slow enough that you would try to pursue but you knew the tall warning radar was going to pick up 3 bogies at 5, 6, and 7 o'clock. The bright light of the two jets could be distinguished as two jets at three miles and no matter which way you turned, one of these would still come in on a vector. If you turned ·too soon it was difficult to lose them, but if you let them get with­in one-half to one mile then you could do your thing and try to get a shot at one of them when they went into burner and "flew" by you. Occasionally you had a time shaking the bogie off your tail and he was steady trying to get you with his 75 mm cannon. If there were any clouds you could hide in a cloud or storm since they needed a visual on you to attack and would not pursue you. Sometimes all of a sudden numerous radar directed search lights would come on you and you knew very shortly a "Day fighter pass" was about to occur if you didn't lose the lights. Never would they let us get close for our 20 mm cannons. I'm just glad they didn't have the missile capability that they have now or I would be dead "numerous" times. They always knew the altitude we were assigned as we had to tell Cho-Do Island (our friendly island) what assigned altitude we were supposed .to be. It was a Mexican stand-off as we had excellent onboard radar but they had the speed.

A vignette of sorts about me personally. I was selected for the regular Navy in 1952 but resigned to go to medical school but managed to stay "in the line" and flew with the weekend warriors very actively from resignation in 1956 through my 45th birthday when they told me I could no longer fly fighter aircraft. I had been practicing OB-GYN in the rural Mississippi Delta town for the previous six years. I believe I am the only fighter pilot to be in the private practice while regularly fly­ing (over 300 hours per year). At 62 [1990] I am still in active prac­tice and still fly my own airplane (a lot at night naturally). (It: was fun and I'd do it again in a second.) Also I have a waiver from the Federal Air Surgeon to fly again after a serious stroke after 14 months and I don't know of anyone who is flying at this point after a stroke.

Hope this data and ramblings are of some value to you.


Very truly yours,

Glenn L. Wegener, M. D .

Pensacola Preflight Class 16-48