Verna & Randy's Rockets

Fire & Smoke!

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FIRE & SMOKE!     Waving USA Flag 2 - Animated

September 2021






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Since our rocket, Space Man Spiff’s Rocket Of Death made its first launch with Jolly Roger markings, I’ve been answering questions as to, why the skull and cross bones? There were many reasons I chose the insignia but here are just a few…

My fascination with Jolly Roger began a long time ago. Many kids of my generation (1956) grew up playing Pirates in the backyard with friends from all over the neighborhood. We fashioned outfits from old ripped pants, went barefoot, made swords from pieces of scrap wood lying around our backyards and occasionally, somebody’s mom would make an eye patch for some lucky kid. And when I say, we played pirates, I mean ALL day! Of course, whenever we took a break from pillaging and searching for treasure… or made land, there was an occasional pause at a friendly tavern where the wench of the house refreshed us all with a PB & J and our favorite ale. (Coke or Pepsi)  AAAARG!

Every Halloween there was at least one kid that dressed as a pirate, usually wearing a three sided hat with a smiley faced skull and cross bones on the front. In fact, I can’t remember a single time as a kid or since having my own kids, that I haven’t had a pirate stop by the house on Halloween.


As I grew older, around 8 or 9 I enjoyed many movies about pirates. I loved to see the “bones” waving in the breeze and it seemed Roger had a very popular face. He was everywhere! Even on iodine bottles! How many of you reading this remember iodine bottles in your medicine cabinets with a skull and cross bones on the label?

By age 10 I began to notice there were various groups in the U.S. military that also used a skull and cross bones as an insignia on uniforms and aircraft. It seemed to me that a lot of other people liked Roger too. Not as much as I did… but a lot. Heck, even Estes uses the skull and cross bones on their model rocket kit, Der Red Max.


US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft assigned to the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VFA-103), prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USN Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier, USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69).

From 1943 to the present three USN Strike Squadrons, VF-17, VF-84, VFA-103, have proudly carried the nickname “Jolly Rogers.” Over that time the squadron’s skull and cross bones insignia has been displayed on the F4U Corsair, F4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcats and currently the F-18 Super Hornet. Many of those platforms carried Phoenix, Sidewinder and Sparrow missiles.


Possibly, the most publicity the Jolly Rogers have received over their life span came from the 1979 movie, The Final Countdown. I saw the movie in it’s first run and I’ve been following them ever since. Currently, USN Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-103 onboard the U.S.S. EISENHOWER have the nick name of “Jolly Rogers” and bear the insignia on their tails.

If you check with our friend, Wikipedia or Google "Jolly Rogers" you can read about their long and brilliant history. The squadron has been involved in some very important engagements over the last 7 decades, so it just seemed fitting to me to name Verna Starr’s fighter squadron in their honor and given their history, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if one day the Jolly Rogers make it into space.

Fear the bones!



Looking for something entertaining and fun to read?

If you'd like something entertaining and fun to read, get your copies of the entire Rocket Babe series, paperback or Kindle. Here's how...

Get The Entire Series On Kindle!

Just click the Amazon links below:


Rocket Babe: Reflection


Prefer Paperback? No Problem!

Signed / personalized paperback copies of Rocket Babe - Dust Storm, Rocket Babe - Fallen Angel, Rocket Babe - Ant Men and Rocket Babe - Reflection are all available directly from the author!

Books are great gifts for any occasion! Holidays, birthdays or just because!

Dust Storm $10.00
Fallen Angel $12.00
Ant Men $13.00
Reflection $13.00

Standard book rate shipping: $4 for 1st book; $1 for each additional book per address in the same order. Please allow 7-10 days for shipping, longer during the holidays.

*Special "Set" pricing! Get all 4 books for $46.00 includes shipping within the continental U.S.! Saves over $10 off the regular price and shipping!

*Shipping outside the USA available. Contact us for a postage quote before placing your order.


Send your email order to Verna at: with BOOK as the subject.

List each dedication separately and clearly. Be sure to include the full shipping address.

Verna will reply with how to send in your money order. Sorry, money orders only.

If you have any questions PLEASE email us:


Above you see a rare photo of Dave Miller, appropriately dressed in black as owner of the clandestine black ops organization known as Sirius Rocketry! What does he do in his spare time? He reads Rocket Babe, what else?

That's a nice looking Cestris Fighter he's holding too! Get yours from


Verna Starr Cestris Fighter!


This is our favorite Sirius kit, the Cestris. The kit is intended to fly on a single engine but it was easily modified to a 3 engine cluster complete with Verna Starr fighter decals, also available from Sirius.



Just click the BLUE link below the banner!




She'll go with you anywhere! Kevin, owner and moderator at the Alien Soup  sci-fi forum, enjoys Rocket Babe - Dust Storm between innings at a recent ballgame!


Visit Kevin at Alien Soup and tell him Verna sent you!


Pimp My Cestris!    


If you look around this website it doesn't take a genius to see we love Sirius and their rocket kit, S.S. Cestris. When I found the one you see here built and finished by Bruce McGreevy, on the Model Rocketry Fanatics, Facebook page, I knew I had to feature it.

Bruce's Cestris is obviously well built and I'm hoping he posts some launch photos soon. 


The stand may say Estes but this one is Sirius all the way. The Cestris kit comes with several sets of decals to allow you to dress it many ways and while I've never seen one with most if not all the decals on it, I like what Bruce has done with his.

If you want to build the Verna Starr version, that's yet another set of decals you can get by special request for a few dollars more. Clustering it is up to you.






Bones says...

"Nolite Timere! Get a copy for all your friends!" 


Verna & Randy's Rockets is proud to have been featured by:


Darrell Mobley's Website Review on Rocketry Planet


Dick Stafford's The Original Rocket Dungeon


Apogee E-Zine Peak Of Flight issue #155


April 2006  Finishing Touches
And Virally In Ezines Like:
Hobby Media Italy


You never know who will show up on Fire & Smoke!


Don Knotts never misses Fire & Smoke!


Who do you fly with? Fly with family!




Graphics by Doc's Patriotic Graphics

Thanks for stopping by! Check back soon for a new feature on FIRE & SMOKE!
Verna & Randy

*Don't miss Verna's Photo of the Month


Go To Bad Girl Saturn V

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