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Dirk Derks
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A-4E Lady Jessie onboard USS Hancock – Yankee Station Gulf of Tonkin 1968

June 9, 2017 · in Aviation · · 12 · 3K


Lady Jessie was married to Fred Beck. They ran the Keno game at Harold's Club in Reno. They became acquainted with Dick Perry,(She was like an adopted Mother to Lcdr Dick Perry.) who was shot down and killed over Vietnam.)

Ltcdr USN Dick Perry

Worked part-time at Harold's as a dealer, before becoming a Navy Pilot. She was always sending us care packages of playing cards and stuff from the casino. She continued this long after the death of Lcdr Dick Perry. We named Dick Perry's plane 407 after Lady Jessie for her continued support of Attack Squadron 164.

Later VA-164 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.
Lady Jessie Beck, 83, died in Reno, Nevada in july 1987.

"Lady Jessie in the middle of her hero's from VA-164"

The Model:
A-4E Douglas (Scooter) Attack Squadron 164.
Monogram scale, purchased in 1984 on the island of Curacao, for the price of 8 dollar.
Came of the shelf, dusted and was constructed without any problems.
Decals: Micro Scale.
Mule and Fire truck: Verlinden.
Figurines: Verlinden-.
Baseplate: Verlinden.

2x Bulpup air to ground missile, command guided.
6xMK82 unguided-low drag general purpose bomb on centerline TER.
2x20mm (0.79 in caliber) Colt MK12 cannon.

2x Long Range fuel tank.
(In flight refueling was necessary to complete the mission (sometimes several times)

USS Hancock CVA-19 (CVA= Carrier Vessel Attack)
Air Wing CVW -21.(F8H/F-8H/A-4F/A-4E/RF-8G/EKA-3B)
Departure North Island (San Diego) 18 July 1968 / Return 03 March 1969
Total 107 days on the line in the Gulf of Tonkin.

"In remembrance to Lady Jessie and Lcdr Dick Perry."

Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club. US Carrier Operations off Vietnam.
René J. Francillon (ISBN 0 85177 484 9 (1988)
Hard back 214 pages.

Highest Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

12 responses

  1. Hello Dirk...Thanks for your outstanding presentation of both the fine A-4E Skyhawk model as well as the interesting story of the real Lady Jessie. All very nicely done. Those old Monogram kits hold up well over time even by today's standards.Your work is quite impressive.

  2. Hi Jim,Thanks for your kind words. Indeed a very interesting story.
    From a card-dealer to a A-4 pilot. Smart guy.
    We (I) intent to forget how many lives were lost in the Vietnam war.
    With these kind of articles we keep focused.
    Highest Regards, Dirk/The Netherlands.

  3. So that's the derivation of that name...never knew that. Thanks for the background story. And as Jim said, outstanding work in all other aspects of the build. Great job all around!

  4. Dirk, nice to see what you and the Monogram A-4 can do, always a favorite of mine. Thanks for clearing up who Lady Jessie was, and her connection with Lcdr. Perry and the squadron. I know I've got the decals someplace, and this makes the aircraft even more interesting. I like planes with a story.

  5. A great-looking Scooter Dirk! And great backstory.

  6. Enjoyed your article and the build to boot,its always nice to see figures in a build it gives the model scale.

  7. beautiful build!, and beautiful story.

  8. Outstanding work Dirk! Like the back ground story and the way you poised Lady Jessie with the base and figures. Really nice.

  9. This is a very nice diorama and tribute . You have really done a fine job with it. Great story line as well. Thanks for sharing this one with us. I like it... a lot.

  10. I just think that model represents A-4F version, not A-4E...

  11. Hello Martin,
    Used all the info in the Monogram box and the Micro Scale decals.
    All for A-4E. Explain the difference?
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

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