NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA (WAVY) — Some U.S. Navy pilots completed some intense training that a lot of us civilians know of from a popular 80s movie.
On Thursday, Naval Air Station Oceana, the premier East Coast Master Jet Base, highlighted the careers of two TOPGUN graduates and a maintainer from Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic.
In a group interview, the three men highlighted their career experience thus far and discussed their inspiration for joining the ranks of some of the world’s most elite military pilots.
The men included TOPGUN graduate Lt. Matt Hoffman, TOPGUN graduate Lt. Jack Hinderland, Aviation Electronics Technician Chief David Keenan.
They are all at Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic, based at NAS Oceana. NAS Oceana has the largest concentration of TOPGUN graduates on the East Coast.
TOPGUN’s full name is Navy Fighter Weapons School and is based in the high-desert in Fallon, Nevada. It was founded during the Vietnam War and was a response to high levels of naval aviator casualties, even though they had superior aircraft and weapons technology. The school brought experts to train pilots and naval flight officers to use the technology to its highest potential.
Pilots who are the best of the best in the Navy fleet go to TOPGUN. After they graduate, pilots either stay at the school to become instructors or are assigned to weapons schools in the U.S. to instruct the fleet.
“Professionalism and general understanding of in order to be the best at our craft we have to be humble and willing to always learn and take what we’ve learned, take the hard knocks we’ve received in training and subsequently pass those on to the people we are training,” said Hoffman.
At NAS Oceana, Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic gives post-graduate level training for “F/A-18 Strike Fighter tactics, mission planning, strike intelligence and air-launched weapons handling, loading and mission employment to Navy, Marine Corps, and Naval Reserve units,” NAS Oceana said.
NAS Oceana is where the Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific Fleet force of strike-fighter aircraft and joint/inter-agency operations are located.
The airfields of NAS Oceana and NALF Fentress have five carrier air wings and 17 squadrons that conducted 128,675 flight operations.
Also, for movie fans, the sequel to the popular film “Top Gun: Maverick” is in theaters next week.