Pensacola News Journal
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
September 14, 2016
The squadron honored Perry and Beck by painting "Lady Jessie" on the side of its commander's jet.
A famed Vietnam-era Navy fighter squadron will reunite in Pensacola on Saturday to share a unique story about their tribute to a fallen colleague and the woman who helped boost their morale during their long combat deployments.
An aircraft painted by VA-164 to honor Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dick Perry.(Photo: National Naval Aviation Museum)
The pilots of VA-164 flew A-4 Skyhawks off the USS Oriskany in 1966 and 1967, during an intense period of combat that included the deaths of 44 sailors in a hangar bay fire.
The men from the squadron, known as the Ghost Riders, will share their story on Saturday at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
"It is a unique story in the history of naval aviation," said Hill Goodspeed, historian for museum.
Squadron pilot Dick Perry worked at a Reno, Nevada, casino with Jessie Beck before he joined the Navy. Beck owned a keno concession at a casino. Beck and Perry became close friends and continued their friendship after Perry joined the Navy.
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