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This Skyhawk Association website page is dedicated to LCdr. Dick Perry and Mrs. Jessie Beck
"Stopping by Carlin, Nevada" is offered here in it's latest form (May 15, 2002) with permission of author Cdr. John C. Davis, USN (Ret).
After touching the name and inscription on the plaque, and pausing for sometime to just look at this town and to grasp all it now meant, I went to find his parents. Their house was simple, just as any in town. They were not home, and my journey had yet a thousand miles, so I had to leave without meeting them. Just as well, their memories may have been too painfully fresh then.
Lady Jessie A-4F BuNo 155018, NP 401, Cdr. Don Snyder VA-164 Ops and Mrs. Jessie Beck, July 1971. USN photograph from Capt. Donald Snyder, USN Ret. Farewell "Lady Jessie"
"Naval Aviation lost a devoted friend when Jessie Beck, 83, died in Reno, NV, in July 1987. As the first woman to own a major Nevada casino - the Riverside Hotel and Casino, she was called "the gambling grandmother," but to Air Wing 16 she was "Lady Jessie."
During the Vietnam War Jessie wrote to some 500 servicemen, but Naval Aviators were among her favorites. During the 1950s Jessie and her husband Fred became acquainted with a future Navy pilot when they ran the Keno game at Harold's Club in Reno. Dick Perry was a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who worked part-time at Harold's as a dealer. Thus began a lengthy relationship in which young Perry became almost an adopted son of Jessie and Fred.
Following graduation, Dick entered Navy flight training and eventually reported to VA-164 in January 1966, where Jessie kept him well supplied with pastries and such. The size of her "care packages" spilled over to the rest of the Ghostriders, and Dick's pride in Jessie's affection was evident to all hands. Eventually he arranged for a squadron party in Reno - the first of several hosted by Lady Jessie, who by then owned the Riverside Hotel and Casino. Other CVW-16 pilots also sampled the famous Beck hospitality as word spread through the air wing.
The close ties between Jessie and VA-164 were further strengthened when Dick named his A-4E "Lady Jessie." Eventually a squadron tradition evolved, with the CO's aircraft bearing the name of the Ghostriders' favorite friend.
However, tragedy struck during USS Oriskany's (CVA-34) 1967 Western Pacific cruise. On 31 August 1967 LCDR Dick Perry's Skyhawk was hit by a SAM and he ejected less than two miles offshore. Though he had a good chute, there was no sign of life. The SAR crew reached the body, determined Perry was dead, and departed the area under orders of the on-scene commander, since the helo was taking fire from nearby shore batteries.
Despite the loss of the man who brought Jessie Beck in contact with VA-164, the close relationship continued. On an especially grand occasion, Jessie hosted a party for both VA-163 and VA-164 during May 1968. The aviators admired their lady not only for her generosity and kindness, but for her devotion to her Naval Aviator "sons."
In July 1971, the Naval Air Station Fallon Administrative Building was named for and dedicated to Dick Perry by Base Commander Cdr. Ramsay Lawson. The dedication ceremony included a Blue Angel performance dedicated to Lady Jessie and a personal appearance by Mrs. Jessie Beck."
"FAREWELL LADY JESSIE" first appeared on page 14 of "The Hook: Journal of Carrier Aviation" Spring 1988 and is presented here with permission.
Ironically, Dick Perry's remains - thought lost at sea - were returned to the U.S. in 1987, the same year of Jessie Beck's death. Servicemen everywhere will be saddened to learn of her death, but none more so than the Skyhawk pilots of CVW-16, who flew Lady Jessie's name into combat over Vietnam.
The Ghostriders continued to honor the gracious lady from Reno after Dick's death by displaying her name on each CO's aircraft until the squadron was disestablished Dec 12, 1975.
BuNo 155022 USN photo from Harry S. Gann
Patch courtesy of Richard W. Hamon
May 24, 1961, the VA-164 patch was selected.
Admiral Thomas Brown, USN (Ret)
Cdr. John C. Davis, USN (Ret)
Harry S. Gann
Richard W. Hamon
Cdr. Lance B. Massey, USN (Ret)
Mike W. Mullane
John R. Nelson
Capt. Donald "Super" Snyder, USN (Ret)
1961 to 1975, Ghostriders.
September 1, 1960, Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (VA-164) established.
December 12, 1975, Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (VA-164) dis-established.
September 1, 1960 - - - - Naval Air Station Cecil Field
September 26, 1961- - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore
October 7, 1960 - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
March 13, 1964- - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A4D-5 (A-4E) Skyhawk *
April 6, 1969 - - - - - - - - - - - Douglas A-4F Skyhawk.
August 8, 1972- - - - - - - - - - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk.
* November 30, 1962
A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
A4D-5 designation changed to A-4E
Three view drawings from Harry Gann, redrawn by Bud Southworth.
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - - Air Wing
September 1, 1960 - - - - - - AH - - - - - - CVG-16 / CVW-16*
March 1, 1968 - - - - - - - - NP - - - - - - CVW-21
*CVG-16 was re-designated CVW-16 when Carrier Air Groups (CVG) were re-designated Carrier Air Wings (CVW) on December 20, 1963
06-07-62 to 12-17-62 - CVG-16 - CVA 34 - A4D-2 - Western Pacific
08-01-63 to 03-10-64 - CVW-16 - CVA 34 - A-4B - Western Pacific
04-05-65 to 12-16-65 - CVW-16 - CVA 34 - A-4E - Western Pacific/Vietnam
05-26-66 to 11-16-66 - CVW-16 - CVA 34 - A-4E - Western Pacific/Vietnam
06-16-67 to 01-31-68 - CVW-16 - CVA 34 - A-4E - Western Pacific/Vietnam
07-18-68 to 03-03-69 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4E - Western Pacific/Vietnam
08-02-69 to 04-15-70 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F - Western Pacific/Vietnam
10-22-70 to 06-03-71 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F - Western Pacific/Vietnam
01-07-72 to 10-03-72 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F & TA-4F - Western Pacific/Vietnam
05-08-73 to 01-08-74 - CVW-21 - CVA 19 - A-4F & TA-4F - Western Pacific/IO
03-18-75 to 10-20-75 - CVW-21 - CV 19 - A-4F & TA-4F - Western Pacific
August 20, 1945 - - - - - LT Benjamin T. Pugh (acting)
September 1, 1960 - - - - CDR Harlan D. Williams
September 5, 1961 - - - - CDR Lloyd W. Moffit
October 1962- - - - - - - CDR C. A. Banks, Jr.
September 21, 1963- - - - CDR R. M. Netherland
August 28, 1964 - - - - - CDR J. W. Roberts
July 24, 1965 - - - - - - CDR John D. Shaw
June 26, 1966 - - - - - - CDR Paul H. Engel
May 31, 1967- - - - - - - CDR Douglas F. Mow
July 4, 1968- - - - - - - CDR William F. Span
July 18, 1969 - - - - - - CDR Roy V. Hagberg
July 24, 1970 - - - - - - CDR George L. Boaz
July 8, 1971- - - - - - - CDR Ramsay (N) Lawson
July 1, 1972- - - - - - - CDR Stanley R. Arthur
June 15, 1973 - - - - - - CDR Fred J. Gosebrink
May 30, 1974- - - - - - - CDR Frederick P. Meyers
Navy Unit Commendation
10 May 1965 to 06 Dec 1965
12Jun 1966 to 01 Nov 1966
14 Jul 1967 to 12 Jan 1968
01 Aug 1968 to 22 Feb 1969
08 Feb 1972 to 14 Sep 1972
01 Jul 1971 to 31 Dec 1972
05 Sep 1963 to 13 Sep 1963
03 Nov 1963 to 08 Nov 1963
07 May 1965 to 02 Jun 1965
10 Jun 1965 to 03 Jul 1965
17 Sep 1965 to 18 Sep 1965
02 Dec 1968 to 04 Dec 1968
30 Oct 1969
03 Jan 1970 to 08 Jan 1970
22 Feb 1970 to 25 Feb 1970
21 Aug 1969 to 31 Mar 1970
20 Nov 1970 to 07 May 1971
02 Oct 1965
30 Oct 1965
01 Nov 1965
03 Nov 1965
07 Nov 1965
11 Nov 1965 to 12 Nov 1965
06 Jul 1966 to 07 Jul 1966
26 Sep 1968
29 Sep 1968
09 Oct 1968 to 11 Oct 1968
13 Oct 1968
02 Nov 1968
07 Nov 1968 to 08 Nov 1968
10 Nov 1968 to 11 Nov 1968
13 Nov 1968 to 19 Nov 1968
21 Nov 1968 to 26 Nov 1968
21 Dec 1968 to 24 Dec 1968
26 Dec 1968 to 28 Dec 1968
30 Dec 1968
01 Jan 1969 to 03 Jan 1969
07 Jan 1969 to 14 Jan 1969
31 Jan 1969 to 08 Feb 1969
01 Aug 1969 to 01 Sep 1969
30 Mar 1972 to 15 Jul 1972
04 Jul 1965 to 18 Jul 1965
09 Aug 1965 to 11 Sep 1965
30 Sep 1965 to 19 Oct 1965
28 Oct 1965 to 27 Nov 1965
29 Jun 1966 to 29 Jul 1966
06 Aug 1966 to 08 Sep 1966
23 Sep 1966 to 26 Oct 1966
13 Jul 1967 to 08 Aug 1967
17 Aug 1967 to 30 Sep 1967
04 Oct 1967 to 03 Nov 1967
19 Nov 1967 to 17 Dec 1967
30 Dec 1967 to 13 Jan 1968
21 Aug 1968 to 04 Sep 1968
13 Sep 1968 to 15 Oct 1968
23 Oct 1968 to 28 Nov 1968
20 Dec 1968 to 15 Jan 1969
29 Jan 1969 to 10 Feb 1969
31 Aug 1969 to 24 Sep 1969
03 Oct 1969 to 27 Oct 1969
24 Nov 1969 to 17 Dec 1969
18 Jan 1970 to 11 Feb 1970
09 Mar 1970 to 26 Mar 1970
19 Nov 1970 to 08 Dec 1970
29 Dec 1970 to 15 Jan 1971
23 Jan 1971 to 20 Feb 1971
09 Mar 1971 to 10 Apr 1971
17 Apr 1971 to 04 May 1971
07 Feb 1972 to 09 Mar 1972
25 Mar 1972 to 02 May 1972
11 May 1972 to 01 Jun 1972
12 Jun 1972 to 14 Jul 1972
24 Jul 1972 to 17 Aug 1972
27 Aug 1972 to 14 Sep 1972
September 1, 1960: Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (VA-164) established at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. The Ghost Riders were assigned the Douglas A4D-2 / A-4B Skyhawk.
November 14, 1961: Lt(jg). Richard S. Linn ejected safely when his A4D Skyhawk (BuNo 144887) engine flamed out on a routine practice bombing run at the special weapons instrumental range at MCAS Yuma this morning. He landed uninjured in the desert about 10 miles from the air station and was returned by helicopter. The Yuma Daily Sun, Yuma, AZ, Tuesday, November 14, 1961.
June 7, 1962 through December 17, 1962: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4B Skyhawk first deployment on USS Oriskany CVA 34. This cruise was to Western Pacific.
August 1, 1963 through March 10, 1964: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4B Skyhawk second deployment on USS Oriskany CVA 34. This cruise was to Western Pacific.
March 13, 1964: The Ghost Riders were assigned the Douglas A-4E Skyhawk.
June 10, 1964: Ens. Frederick X. Bir, 25, of NAS Lemoore was killed when his Navy Skyhawk jet (BuNo 151053) crashed north of China Lake. Corpus Christi Times, Thur., June 11, 1964.
February 27, 1965: Lt. J.L. Burton, 35, ejected safely Saturday following a mid-air collision between his VA-164 A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 151171) and a USMC F-8E Crusader while taking part in exercise "Silver Lance" about 230 miles SE of San Diego near the USS Oriskany. USMC 2nd Lt. Glenn R. Bollenback, 28, attached to a Marine all - weather fighter squadron at Kaneohe, HI made a safe landing at NAS Miramar. Pasadena Independent, Monday, March 1, 1965. 1638 (hours) observed mid-air collision off the starboard bow, bearing 015 R, 2500 yards between an A-4 aircraft piloted by LT J.A. Burton, USN, and a F-8 aircraft piloted by 2/Lt R.G. Bollenbach, USMC. The A-4 crashed into the sea, position LAT 31-24.0N, LONG 122-13.7W. Lt Burton ejected and was picked up by the USS Isbell (DD-869). The F-8 was directed to proceed to NAS Miramar having sustained slight damage to the starboard wing. USS Oriskany deck log, Saturday, 27 February 1965.
April 4, 1965 through December 16, 1965: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4E Skyhawk third deployment on USS Oriskany CVA 34. This was the Ghost Rider's first combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
May 5, 1965 through July 1965: The Ghost Riders of VA-164 it flew close air support missions in South Vietnam.
September 6, 1965: Lieutenant J. L. Burton in A-4E BuNo. 152042 side number AH 475 was shot down by triple A, over North Vietnam. Lieutenant Burton was rescued.
October 12, 1965: A-4E BuNo 151157 Sustained Major Damage over Vietnam - VA-164 - No Injuries to Pilot - Assume Stricken - No further records found.
24 OCT 1965: LCdr Weichman of VA-164 participated in several strikes in the Hanoi-Haiphong area, including the MiG base at Phuc Yen. He received the Silver Star for a mission on 24 OCT when he led eight planes tasked with missile suppression ahead of the major strike against Phuc Yen. He began a low-level run for a loft delivery of one of his Shrike anti-radar missiles. His target was an occupied missile battery. During his successful attack, which took out he site, his A-4 (151194) sustained many hits from flak as well as from several SAM launches. The determined aviator headed for one of the missile launch areas, this time dealing with heavy 85mm flak. SAMs wer also passing him from nearly every direction, their explosions occasionally sending shrapnel into his jet, knocking out the radio and navigational equipment. Finally, with A-4 threatening to shake itself apart, he headed bck toward the water, all the while threading his way through the flak. He recovered aboard the Oriskany, his Skyhawk showing more than 140 holes.
October 31, 1965: Lieutenant Commander T. R. Powers in A-4E BuNo. 151173 side number AH 466 was shot down by triple A, over North Vietnam. Lieutenant Commander Powers survived the ejection and was captured by the North Vietnamese and was murdered by the North Vietnamese while in captivity. He was awarded the Navy Cross.
November 7, 1965: Commander J. D. Shaw, VA-164, Commanding Officer, was awarded the Silver Star for successfully leading a strike against a North Vietnamese SAM site.
February 2, 1966: Lt(jg). Larry S. Mettler, 27, was killed Wednesday night when his Skyhawk (BuNo 151157) crashed in the ocean as it was launched from the USS Constellation and sank about 45 miles NW of San Diego, CA. Albuquerque Journal, (Friday) February 4, 1966.
May 26, 1966 through November 16, 1966: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4E Skyhawk fourth deployment on USS Oriskany CVA 34. This was the Ghost Rider's second combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
July 28, 1966: Ensign G. P. McSwain in A-4E BuNo. 152077 side number AH 407 was shot down by a SAM, over North Vietnam. Ensign McSwain survived the ejection and was captured by the North Vietnamese.
July 29, 1966: Lt(jg). Donavan Ewoldt was killed (BuNo 152095) when he flew into water during a practice in-flight refueling in marginal weather. (no deck log entry)
August 25, 1966: Lt(jg). William Henry Bullard in VA-164 A-4E BuNo 152084 crashed into the sea bearing 355 R, one mile, at latitude 18-48.5N, longitude 106-54.0E and exploded and sank in 25 fathoms of water at 0432. OTC directed USS Buck to search crash are at 0433. Search concluded. Results negative. Pilot presumed dead at 0900. USS Oriskany deck log, Thursday, 25 August 1966.
August 27, 1966: Ens. B.T. Wood ejected safely his Skyhawk crashed into the sea. 0356 Bureau No. A4E 150079 of VA-163, pilot LTJG Schroeder, crashed into the sea at 18-46N 106-37. 0357 USS Buck (DD-761) commenced search for pilot. 0510 A4E BuNo 152092 of VA-168 (sic s/b VA-164) pilot Ens. B.T. Wood crashed into the sea bearing 350 T 15 miles from Oriskany. 0511 helicopter #47 launched to search for pilot. 0520 USS Buck recovered downed pilot. 0603 helicopter #47 recovered downed pilot and returned to ship. USS Oriskany deck log, Saturday, 27 August 1966.
October 12, 1966: Lieutenant F. C. Elkins in A-4E BuNo. 152075 side number AH 411 was shot down by a SAM, over North Vietnam. Lieutenant Elkins remains were never recovered and he is listed among those missing in Vietnam.
October 26, 1966: A major fire broke out in USS Oriskany on Yankee Station. VA-164 lost four officers in the fire.
June 16, 1967 through January 31, 1968: Flying the A-4E Skyhawk, The Ghost Riders' fifth deployment on USS Oriskany CVA 34. This was the Ghost Rider's third combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
July 14, 1967: Lt(jg). L.J. Cunningham ejected near the Oriskany and was rescued by a HC-1 Seasprite after his Skyhawk was hit by AAA as he attacked barges near Gia La. 1215 A4E BuNo 152049 of VA-164, pilot LTjg Cunningham crashed into the sea off the stbd quarter at Lat. 18-26.5N, Long. 107-31E, into 40 fathoms of water. Pilot was rescued by helo an (sic) was in good condition. USS Oriskany log book, 14 July 1967.
July 18, 1967: LCdr. Richard Danner Hartman ejected and was captured three days later after his Skyhawk (BuNo 151986, AH 404) was hit by AAA about seven km WSW of Phu Ly, NVN after a strike on the Co Trai railway and road bridge. He was evading capture while SH-3A Sea King BuNo 151538 attempted to rescue him. AX2 Chatterton, the forward gunner, was shot and killed and the helo returned to the USS Constellation. On the 19th SH-3A BuNo 151538, TAD from the USS Hornet, was hit by 37mm and went down about fifteen km WSW of Phu Ly while attempting to reach Hartman killing all on board. Lt. Dennis Peterson, Ens. Donald Frye, AX2 William Jackson and AX2 Donald McGrane, were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery May 2, 2013. Cdr. Wayne W. Andrews, USN - XO, HSC-22 Sea Knights. LCdr. was killed when he was captured or died shortly after he was captured.
July 18, 1967: Lt(jg). Larrie J. Duthie ejected and was rescued by a HH-3E piloted by Maj. Glen York after his Skyhawk (BuNo 151175, AH 415) was hit by AAA while on SAR mission for LCdr. Hartman from A-4E 151986.
July 18, 1967: Lt(jg). Barry T. Wood ejected and was rescued by a boat from the SAR destroyer USS Richard B. Anderson after his Skyhawk (BuNo 152034, AH 401) was hit by AAA as he was firing rockets against gun positions while on SAR mission for LCdr. Hartman from A-4E 151986.
August 31, 1967: LCdr. Richard Clark Perry ejected and was killed after his Skyhawk (BuNo.151991, AH 402) was hit by a SA-2 missile as he approached the railway bridge target at Vat Cach Thuong. Although the SAR helicopter was on scene LCdr. Perry failed to surface and the when the Para rescue rreached him he was found to be dead.
October 7, 1967: Lt. David Lawton Hodges was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 152086, AH 413) was hit by a SA-2 at 11,000 feet about 15 miles southwest of Hanoi, burst into flames, rolled to the right and dove into a karst ridge near Hoang Xa. He was part of a flight searching for a Fan Song radar site known to be active south of Hanoi.
October 9, 1967: Lt(jg). L. J. Cunningham ejected from his Skyhawk (BuNo 152085, AH 416) when his engine flamed out a few minutes after he crossed the coast following an attack on a pontoon bridge at Nao Quan. He was rescued by a USN helicopter.
October 18, 1967: LCdr. John Frederick Barr was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 152048, AH 402) was hit by triple A and exploded while engaging a SAM site near Hanoi.
October 27, 1967: Cdr. D. F. Mow, VA-164's commanding officer, was awarded the Silver Star for combat over North Vietnam and Cdr. W.F. Span was also awarded his second Silver Star for combat over North Vietnam.
November 2, 1967: Lt(jg). Frederic Woodrow Knapp was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 151985, AH 414) flew into the ground during a rocket attack on a truck about five miles west of Cho Giat, 30 miles north of Vinh.
January 1, 1968: Lt. George Frank Schindelar ejected safely during an armed recon. mission when his Skyhawk (BuNo
) had a total electrical failure which froze the controls. He ejected over the sea and was rescued 30 miles NE of Danang.
January 11, 1968: LCdr. D.R. Weichman ejected when his Skyhawk (BuNo 151152, AH 404) was hit by small arms fire while attacking a small bridge 10 miles north of Ban Dong Pang in southern Laos. He managed to fly the aircraft out to sea where the engine caught fire and the flight controls failed. He was rescued by a Navy helicopter.
The "Military Channel" has aired a program that covers the actions of the USS Oriskany during the above time frame. It is titled "Hugging the Deck".
July 18, 1968 through February 3, 1969: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4E Skyhawk sixth deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This was the Ghost Rider's fourth combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
October 2, 1968: Cdr. Donald Edward
n was killed when his Skyhawk (BuNo 151126, NP 411) was hit by AAA while on a road recon. mission near the village of Ngoc Long Ha, 20 miles NW of Vinh. His Skyhawk caught fire and as soon as he crossed the coast he ejected and a few seconds later the aircraft exploded. Rescue attempted by USS Turner HC-7 Seadevils Det. 110 SH-3A Sea King 18.5 miles, 354⁰ from Vinh, 200 yards off shore, among a fleet of fishing boats.
February 8, 1969: LCdr. Roger Allen Meyers was killed when his Skyhawks (BuNo 151103) nose gear collapsed during launch and aircraft pitched nose down and crashed into the sea without a chance to eject. It was his last flight of the cruise. His plane was carrying phosphorus flares which created a dome of light off the stern of the Hancock. 0604 A-4 number 414, bureau number 151103, piloted by LCdr Meyers, VA-164, crashed into the water upon take-off. USS Fletcher (DD-445) and USS Brush (DD-745) commenced search and rescue operations. USS Hancock deck log, Sunday, 9 February 1969.
April 6, 1969: The Ghost Riders were assigned the A-4F Douglas Skyhawk.
August 2, 1969 through April 15, 1970: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4F Skyhawk seventh deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This was the Ghost Rider's fifth combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
February 10, 1970: Lt. G.C. Rosenberger ejected and was rescued when his A-4F tanker developed a fuel problem that led to an explosion as it was refueling another aircraft which landed safely. 0441 Report of possible ejection from an A-4 aircraft near the ship. 0450 Helicopter 005 in vicinity of ejection with smoke light marking the area, USS Mansfield (DD-728) assisting in search. 0452 Pilot sighted by helo. Aircraft in water is an A-4 from VA-164 piloted by Lt. G.C. Rosenberger, aircraft side number 404, serial number 155023. Ships position at time of ejection was 18-04.8N, 107-39.9E obtained from a radar fix. Ejection occurred approximately 160 deg. T, 3 miles from Hancock... depth of water 38 fathoms. 0522 helo aboard Hancock with downed pilot. 0542 Preliminary medical report on downed pilot - excellent condition. USS Hancock deck log, 10 February 1970.
October 22, 1970 through April 15, 1971: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4F Skyhawk eighth deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This was the Ghost Rider's sixth combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
January 26, 1971: Lt(jg). Gerald Lynn Carter, 28, was killed when the bridle hook failed on launch leaving him with an end speed of 80 knots. Although Carter had the immediate foresight to pull his emergency jettison handle; there were six olive drab streaks on the flight deck where his MK-82 bomb load slid across the cat-track non-skid paint and over the side. His Skyhawk fell into the water ahead of the ship rolled inverted and sank carrying the pilot with it. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of the Vietnam war by Peter Mersky and USS Hancock Air Groups Casualties and MIA's. 1632 A-4F Bureau No. 154980, side No. 416 of VA-164, pilot LTJG Gerald L. Carter, crashed in the water after being launched off port catapult. Pilot missing. Damage to aircraft strike. Dispatched USS Somers (DDG-34) and airborne helo to scene of crash. Sounded man overboard. plane in water. USS Hancock deck log, 26 January 1971.
CO, Cdr. George Boaz, was on the angle deck elevator 2 firing up his A-4F Skyhawk. After applying external power, attaching the "huffer" hose, and completing all the necessary control surface checks the Skipper's Skyhawk went "down" for a secure communication failure. The Ghost Rider spare was Lt(jg). Carter who taxied A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154980 forward to the port catapult, hooked up and went to tension. With 100% thrust Carter saluted for the catapult shot. Half way down the cat-track, one of the bridle hooks catastrophically failed. Though this crash was technically classified an "operational accident," it still hit home to the plane captains, ordnance men and other flight deck crew as Lt. Carter had be-friended the men in the line division. Although shy and quiet he exemplified many of the positive values described by the Admiral at the end of "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" when describing the character, Lieutenant Brubacker. We will not forget Lieutenant Junior Grade Gerald Carter, United States Navy Reserve. John R. Nelson (former) VA-164 AT-AN
August 8, 1972: The Ghost Riders were assigned two TA-4F Skyhawk. BuNo's 154325 and 153491 were transferred from the Marines, having previously been used for the "Playboy" FAC mission in SEPT 1970. These two "T Birds" were used to "paint" the target with a hand-held laser for A-4Fs that were equipped with the" Laser Spot Tracker" in their noses. This provided the capability to launch and guide laser-guided bombs to a target. The Navy's hand-held laser designator was put in the hands of the person occupying the 2nd seat of the TA-4F.
January 7, 1972 through October 3, 1972: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4F and TA-4F Skyhawk ninth deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This was the Ghost Rider's seventh combat cruise to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
May 8, 1973 through January 8, 1974: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4F and TA-4F Skyhawk tenth deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This Ghost Rider cruise was to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
June 1973: VA-164 flew in Operation End Sweep, the clearing of mines in the territorial waters of North Vietnam.
July 19, 1974: Transferring A-4F BuNo 154208 from NARF to VA-164. Taking off from NAS Alameda when A/C caught fire.
07/31/74 NAS Alameda, 2073 hours - Status HC1 (non-flyable)
11/15/74 VA-164, 2,073 hours - Status IC0 (enroute via surface transportation)
12/24/74 NARF Pensacola, 2,073 hours - Status EH1 (awaiting, non-flyable)
03/03/75 NARF Pensacola, 2,073 hours - Status KCF (unknown status code)
03/01/78 NARF Pensacola, 2,073 hours - Status M80 (in storage - non flyable - damaged)
03/01/78 NARF Pensacola, 2,073 hours - Status 1S0 (SOC Cat 1 damage)
I couldn’t find an explanation for KCF but the other K codes were for service life not completed, non-flyable, economic retention, class B,C,D damage and the other M codes were for service life not completed, non-flyable, reserve, class B,C,D damage. Gary Verver
March 18, 1975 through October 20, 1975: The Ghost Riders flying the A-4F and TA-4F Skyhawk eleventh deployment on USS Hancock CVA 19. This Ghost Rider cruise was to Western Pacific/Vietnam.
December 12, 1975: Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (VA-164) was dis-established at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
Circa 1962: Ghost Rider AH-411, BuNo 142865. From Lt.Col. Mitchell Bell.
Circa 1962: VA-163 BuNo 142827, AH-305; VA-163 AH-304; VA-163 BuNo 142139 and VA-164 BuNo 144904, AH-401. Aboard the USS. Oriskany during a WestPac Cruise. From Lt.Col. Mitchell Bell.
1962-63: BuNo 142123, AH-407, BuNo 142895, AH-404, BuNo 142127, AH-405 and BuNo 142710, AH-40x.
07JUN63: A-4B BuNo 142724, AH-412, with un-retarded Mk-81's. Taken at China Lake and is official U.S. Navy. Gary Verver Collection.
07 JUN 1963: Ghost Riders Skyhawks dropping conventional ordnance during the demonstration for JFK at NOTS China Lake. Looks like 18 Mk-81's per Skyhawk. U.S. Navy photo.
07 JUN 1963: Closer view of Ghost Riders Skyhawks dropping conventional ordnance. U.S. Navy photo.
07 JUN 1963: Following the ordnance demonstration, JFK thanks the Bluejackets & pilots lined up in front of Ghost Riders Skyhawk AH-407 & China Lake DF-1D Fury BuNo 136064. Naval Aviation News Photo.
BuNo 155026, NP-412, parked on the flightline. Jim Brady.
Circa 1964: Right side view of VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151075, AH-407, on the ramp, location unknown. Copyright R.W. Harrison.
Feb 1965: BuNo 151139, AH-410, and AH-486 (above) as they fly over one of the NOTS China Lake ranges. Gary Verver Collection.
01 FEB 1965: Ghost Riders Skyhawk BuNo 151139, AH-410, in formation with Ghost Riders BuNo 151180, AH-466. U.S. Navy Photo.
01 FEB 1965: Ghost Riders Skyhawk AH-409 over one of the China Lake ranges. U.S. Navy Photo.
1965: Catapult crew lines-up Ghost Riders Skyhawk AH-460 for launch from the Oriskany's flight deck. Naval Aviation News Photo.
Circa 1965: VA-164 Skyhawk AH-464 coming aboard what we believe to be CVA-34 during the 1965 WestPac Cruise. Bill Abbitt.
Circa 1965: Believed to be 1965 WestPac Cruise, with VA-163 and VA-164 on board. Weather looks fine, but must be some bigger "rollers" out there! Bill Abbitt.
15 SEP 1965: Ghost Riders Skyhawk AH-464 as she crosses the Vietnam coastline. U.S. Navy Photo.
10 NOV 1965: Ghost Riders Skyhawk BuNo 151180, AH-466, and Skyhawk, AH-462, in formation over the Vietnam countryside. U.S. Navy Photo.
BuNo 151180 LCdr. Dick Perry in the original VA-164, A-4E, "Lady Jessie" AH 406, BuNo. 151180 over the Sierras c. 1966. LCDR Richard C. Perry was Killed In Action on August 31, 1967, while flying VA-164 Ghost Rider A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151191, AH-402, by a SAM over Haiphong, North Vietnam. USN photo courtesy of Harry S. Gann
1966: Ghost Riders Skyhawk BuNo 151180, AH-466, assigned to LT Dave Hodges taxies forward on the Oriskany. VF-111, AH-101, and VF-162, AH-222, F-8E Crusaders in the background. Gary Gottschalk.
1966: A VA-164 A-4E over the ramp of CVA-34. Pictures from Wayne Cypress, also see VA-163.
1966: BuNo 152092, AH-402, and Snakeyes ready for launch from the USS Oriskany port catapult. U.S. Navy via Tom Herold.
VA 164 Skyhawks AH 406, AH 412 & AH 413. USS Oriskany (CVA-34): M-117, 500-pound and 1000-pound bombs line the carrier's flight deck during Vietnam War combat operations in the South China Sea, 21 August 1966. Photographed by PHAA C.B. Vesper. Planes parked nearby include A-4, F-8 and A-1 types. Official U.S. Navy Photograph - Photo #: USN 1118303. From Gary Verver.
26 OCT 1966: Heavily damaged VA-163 Saints and VA-164 Ghostriders A-4E Skyhawks including AH-316, AH-404, AH-405 and AH-415 after a tragic fire on board the Oriskany. Also visible are a VA-52 Aces A-1H Skyraider and VF-162 Hunters F-8E Crusader AH-200. Navy photo from R.L.Lawson.
03FEB67: Photo of four VA-164 Skyhawks in formation. Top to bottom they are AH-406 BuNo.152048, AH-104 BuNo.151986, AH-416 BuNo.152085 and AH-411 BuNo.151186. Caption on reverse is:" Air-to-Air of VA-164, A-4E over Sierra Mountains, 3 Feb 1967. Official U.S. Navy photo by PHC H. Estes, NAS Lemoore. Photo from Don Scott, now in Gary Verver collection.
1967: USS Oriskany (CVA-34) enroute to the western pacific with aircraft from CVW-16 (AH) including VF-111 Sundowners F-8C Crusaders, VF-162 Hunters F-8E Crusaders, VA-163 Saints A-4E Skyhawks, VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4E Skyhawks, VA-152 Fighting Aces A-1H/J Skyraiders, VAH-4 Fourrunners Det. 34 KA-3B Skywarriors, VFP-63 Eyes of the Fleet Det. 34 RF-8G Crusaders, VAW-111 Early Elevens E-1B Trackers and HC-1 Fleet Angels Det. G UH-2A/B Seasprites, 23 June 1967.
BuNo.151194, air-to-air left side view of Ghost Riders Skyhawk, AH-406, en route to a target in North Vietnam. The aircraft is piloted by Cmdr. William F. Span, XO of VA-164. U.S. Navy photo by LTJG Nelson.
21 NOV 1967: An air-to-air left side view of Ghost Riders Skyhawk, BuNo 151194, AH-406, en route to a target in North Vietnam. The aircraft is piloted by Cmdr. William F. Span, XO of VA-164. U.S. Navy photo by LTJG Nelson.
A-4E Skyhawk BuNo. 151180 - before 1968 Ghost Rider AH 466 from the USS Oriskany, rolling in on a target. At this point BuNo. 151180 is no longer in "Lady Jessie" paint. Black and white USN photograph courtesy of Rear Admiral Thomas Brown.
VA-164 battle damage by 37mm. From Clark Wilson (VA-55) by CVW-21 pilot.
DEC67: Dec 1967 USS Oriskany, CV-34, in port with Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard. VA-164 Ghostriders A-4E Skyhawk on deck at left. Photo by Dan Verver.
1967-1968: VA-164 Ghostriders A-4E Skyhawks (AH-412, AH-413) and VA-163 Saints A-4E Skyhawks (AH-317, AH-301, AH-306) spotted ready for action on the flight deck of the USS Oriskany (CVA 34) operating in the South China Sea off Vietnam, 1967-68. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.
1968: "Lady Jessie" A-4E BuNo. 151180 - Early 1968. Ghost Rider AH 407 in flight, all five stations loaded with bombs. This photograph was probably taken as the Ghost Riders were working up for their last USS Oriskany cruise which ended January 31, 1968. Black and white USN photograph courtesy of Harry S. Gann.
May 4, 1968: Lady Jessie Beck ... The VA-164 Ghost Riders and VA-163 Saints were feted by Jessie Beck in Reno. At Lady Jessie's right is Cdr. Doug Mow, CO VA-164, on her left are Cdr's Ed Lighter XO VA-163; Brian Compton, CO VA-163; Bill Span, XO VA-164; and Bob Arnold, Ops Officer, VA-164. Photo courtesy of Cdr. Lance B. Massey, USN (Ret).
1968: VA-164s (red boomerang) birds are on the port and you’ll note that they all have the electronics hump behind the cockpit. Webmasters note: These A-4Echos have been upgraded with electronics hump. The picture of the Hancock shows me with my arms stretched out over my head between the 2nd and 3rd A4 on the starboard bow. Donald Franklin Bedgood VA-163.
1968-69: VA-164 Echo about to trap aboard the "Hanna". Matthew Figual.
JUL 1968: Ghost Riders Skyhawk, BuNo 151194, NP-405 assigned to LCDR L.B. Massey parked on the ramp. Roy Lock.
1969: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155022 - 1969. April 5, 1969, USS Coral Sea CVA 43 stopped at Yokosuka, Japan after completing Southeast Asia operations. The next day Coral Sea off loaded aircraft and VA-153 Blue Tail Flies A-4F BuNo.155022 was transferred to the VA-164 Ghost Riders --- to become the new "LADY JESSIE." The replaced Ghost Rider Skyhawk appears to have been lost October 2, 1968 to triple A, over North Vietnam, killing Commander D. E. Erwin in A-4E BuNo. 151126 side number NP 411. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
1969: "Lady Jessie" A-4F BuNo. 155022 - 1969. Ghost Rider A-4F BuNo. 155022 NP 401, assigned to the USS Hancock CVA 19 pictured on the ramp. Color left rear 1/4 photograph by Harry S. Gann.
SEP69: CVG-21 VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawk NP-415 taxis past a line up of VA-164 A-4F Skyhawks from l-r BuNo 155026, NP-412, BuNo 155029, NP-401, "Lady Jessie" and NP-413 on the USS Hancock (CVA-19) in September 1969. Photo from Tailhook Association.
SEP 1969: NP-415 taxies on the flight deck of CVA-19, with other Skyhawks lined up for launch. Photo from Tailhook Association.
1969 - 1970: Right side view of VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155033, NP-414, on the ramp. Photographer unknown.
1969: "Lady Jessie" A-4F BuNo. 155022- Hawaii. "Lady Jessie" is photographed in 1969 as A-4F Skyhawks BuNo. 155029 NP-401 onboard the USS Hancock CVA19. Probable location is Pearl Harbor. This "Scooter" BuNo. 155029 went on to fly with the "Blue Angels" in 1973. Photograph provided by Rob Lee.
Warhorses and Ghost Riders Skyhawks line the Hanna's deck edge. L-r: VA-55 NP-514, VA-164 NP-412, NP-402, NP-411 and Lady Jessie NP-401 which was either BuNo 155018 or 155022. Photo from Art Tarver, AQF2, Vf-24 via JR Nelson, 164 SDO.
SEP 1969: VA-55 Warhorses, VA-212 Rampant Raiders and VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawks; (l-r: NP-310, NP-308, NP-315, NP-501, NP-512, NP-406 and NP-412), USS Hancock, September 1969. VF-211 Checkmates F-8J Crusader BuNo 148710, NP-103, in the foreground.
1970s: BuNo 155026, NP-400, parked in front of hangar. Gary Verver Collection.
1970: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155022. Ghost Rider NP 402 from the USS Hancock CVA 19, taking off from Naval Air Station Atsugi, December 18, 1970. 155022 is no longer "Lady Jessie." Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
1970: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155022. Ghost Rider NP 402 from the USS Hancock CVA 19, dirty in the landing attitude for recovery at Naval Air Station Atsugi, December 21, 1970. 155022 is no longer in the "Lady Jessie" paint. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1970: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155024. Ghost Rider NP 415 from the USS Hancock CVA 19, dirty in the landing attitude for recovery at Naval Air Station Atsugi, December 18, 1970. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
1970-71 USS Hancock at Hong Kong. VA-164 Ghost Riders Skyhawk NP-414 on deck (left), VA-212 Rampant Raiders Skyhawk (middle) & VA-55 Warhorses 20MAR72: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154210. March 20, 1972 while United States Ship Hancock CVA 19 lay anchored at Yokosuka, Japan A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154210 side number NP 402 was chained to the Hancock flight deck. An elephant painted on 402's nose indicated missions in Laos. The red box identified Skyhawk BuNo. 154210, NP 402 was assigned to VA-164 Executive Officer Cdr. Stan Arthur (later Admiral Stan Arthur) and this plane was known as the "Bingo King" -- as it liked to Bingo to Da Nang or points south (such as Saigon). Photograph by Kazuo Nagata.
1972: A-4F Skyhawk "Lady Jessie" BuNo. 155018. March 20, 1972, VA-164 A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155018 side number NP 401 "Lady Jessie" pictured in the United States Ship Hancock CVA 19 hangar bay. Hancock was making a port call at Yokosuka, Japan. Photograph by Kazuo Nagata.
1972: VA-164 Ghost Riders A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 155018, NP-401, "Lady Jessie" on the ramp with drop tanks and TERs. Official U.S. Navy photo.
20MAR72: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154998. March 20, 1972 while United States Ship Hancock CVA 19 lay anchored at Yokosuka, Japan A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154998 side number NP 403 was chained to the Hancock flight deck. VA-164 A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155018 side number NP 401 "Lady Jessie" was below in the hangar out of camera range. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
20MAR72: A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155027, March 20, 1972 while United States Ship Hancock CVA 19 lay anchored at Yokosuka, Japan A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155027 side number NP 414 was chained to the Hancock flight deck. VA-164 A-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 155027 now resides at the Quonset Air Museum at North Kingston, Rhode Island. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa of the Jet Intake Website.
1972: USS Hancock Hangar Bay 2 looking forward, Ghost Riders Skyhawk NP-405 in foreground and Rampant Raiders Skyhawk in the background. Photo by Jim Polen.
1972: USS Hancock hangar bay 1 looking aft, VA-164 Ghost Riders Skyhawk NP-414 at right. Photo by Jim Polen.
1972: VA-164 Ghost Riders AE3 Kem "Moe" Muller, AE flight deck troubleshooter in front of Rampant Raiders Skyhawk NP-302. Photo by Jim Polen.
1972: Ghost Riders Skyhawk NP-413 & crew catching some rays on the port wing. Photo by Jim Polen.
THE GHOST RIDER SKYHAWK DIAMOND. Black and white USN photograph courtesy of Rear Admiral Thomas Brown.
02 Nov 1972: BuNo 155066, NP-404, on final for an arrested landing. Note the laser designator in the nose. U.S. Navy Photo.
17NOV72: VA-164 A-4F BuNo. 155017
Circa 1973: BuNo 154976, in-flight for VA-164. Photo from "Boom" Powell.
FOUR GHOST RIDER SKYHAWKS BREAKING. Black and white USN photograph courtesy of Rear Admiral Thomas Brown.
Circa 1974: Ghost Riders Skyhawk BuNo 155022, NP-401, "Lady Jessie", parked on the ramp. Name below the canopy rail is LCDR F P Meyers, CO. Gary Verver Collection.
20 July 1974: Ghost Riders Syhawk BuNo 155018, NP-402, parked on the ramp next to a USAF F-104 Starfighter. Photo by D. Spering, Gary Verver Collection.
OCT 1974: BuNo 155022, NP-401, "Lady Jessie" parked on the Lemoore flightline. Dave Steinbacker.
1975: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo. 154622. Ghost Rider NP 416 from the USS Hancock, taxiing at NAS Atsugi, August 19, 1975. Color photograph by and courtesy of Takafumi Hiroe of Yokohama, Japan.
1975: VA-164 A-4F BuNo. 154991 - 1975. Ghost Rider BuNo. 154991, side number NP 414 and flight leader in NP 406 take the Atsugi runway for takeoff. The Ghost Riders were then assigned to United States Ship Hancock. Photograph by Masaaki Hayakawa, Webmaster of the Jet Intake Website.
BuNo 155028, NP-415, and BuNo 155066, NP-404, over the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Arnie Soderman, Gary Verver Collection.
JUN75: BuNo 154991, NP-414, parked on the ramp. Bruce Trombecky.
VA 163/VA-164 Reunion in Pensacola Nov 16/17/18, 2007. At the Naval Air Muesum: (left to right): Jim (JR) O'Malley, Don Rasmusson, Mike Cowett, Jeff Brown, Marty Vanover, John Hall, Doug Wooden and our only Saint shipmate, Earl Groff.
Lunch at the Cubi Bar was just about as good as it gets.
Two images from Pete Cole: A-4E Replica of BuNo 155022, VA-164 AH-406, "Lady Jessie" at the entrance to National Navy Air Museum:
A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit: