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The A-4 Skyhawk is one of the most successful attack aircrafts ever built. This smallest jet aircraft ever deployed on a carrier was the product of Douglas's Chief Engineer Ed Heinnemann in the 1952. This was the time when a more lightweight aircraft was in demand to fit into those post-war vintage carriers.
The Skyhawk was extensively used during the Cold War period and the Vietnam War by the Navy and the Marines. Because of its small size and powerful performance, the A-4 was also known as the “Heinnemann's Hot Rod”. A total of 2, 960 of Skyhawk were built and many of them were exported to other countries.
"Lady Jessie" is one of the best known A-4s during the Vietnam War.
During the 1950's Dick Perry, a latter USN A-4 Pilot, worked part-time to pay for university and became a special friend to the husband and wife that employed him. Dick then flied with the VA-164 "Ghost Riders" and the entire squadron became special to the couple during the war. The lady, Mrs. Jessie Beck, sent letters of encouragement to Dick and other Ghost Riders when they were in Vietnam. To honor the lady Dick named his aircraft after her. LCDR Perry was killed by a SAM and the VA-164 continued to honor her so every VA-164 CO aircraft bears the name "Lady Jessie".