“When Jack graduated from the University of Montana in 1956 he entered U.S. Air Force Navigator training at Harlingen AFB, Texas. Upon completion of Navigator training he attended Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) training at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi. Jack’s initial assignment was to the B-66 and later to the B-52. As a B-52 EWO, Jack received an Air Medal for his actions in February 1965 when an aerial refueling malfunction pumped nearly 3,000 pounds of fuel into the crew compartment of his B-52.
In 1965, he was assigned to the then classified Wild Weasel mission. Only after arriving at Tyndall AFB, Florida, were the newly assigned Wild Weasels told what their actual mission would be. Brigadier General Kenneth Dempster, the man in charge of the Wild Weasel project, explained to them that the Air Force had upgraded some of old two seat F-100F, Super Saber, aircraft with the new AN/APR-25 Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) system which could tell the direction to a Russian SA-2 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) site and also warn them of a launch. Their mission was to fly this ten year old aircraft into North Vietnam in front of the strike force, hunt for a SAM site and then destroy the SAM site.”
When the briefing was over the General asked if there were any questions to which Captain Jack Donovan responded with:
“You want me to fly in the back of a little tiny fighter aircraft with a crazy fighter pilot who thinks he’s invincible, home in on a SAM site in North Vietnam, and shoot it before it shoots me, you gotta be shittin’ me!”
Jack’s comment, You Gotta Be Shitting Me (YGBSM), became the motto of the Wild Weasels and remains so to this today. The backseat Weasel EWO’s were called “Bears”.(1)