Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ghost Riders Reunite In Pensacola

Famed Navy fighter squadron reunites in Pensacola
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.

An aircraft painted by VA-164 to honor Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dick Perry.
(Photo: National Naval Aviation Museum)
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.

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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