Is TOPGUN A Real Navy Program? Yes, And It Was Created After Poor Performance During The Vietnam War. 

(Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez/U.S. Air Force via AP)

“Top Gun: Maverick” is well on its way to banking a billion dollars at the box office. The world is buzzing about the fictional version of a TopGun fighter pilot played by Tom Cruise. 

Guess what? Top Gun is an actual navy program, and it started because we needed to improve the performance of our pilots after a poor performance in the Vietnam War. 

TOPGUN is more commonly known as the Navy Fighter Weapons School, and the mission for this particular group is simple; win in combat. 

Our Navy fighters weren’t doing enough of that during Vietnam, and there were very high levels of casualties even though our aircraft and weapons technology were superior. So, special experts were brought in to train pilots and Naval Flight Officers on how to take advantage of new innovations in the cockpit and properly engage enemy targets, according to 

The training was successful; one year after the school opened, the numbers were astounding. According to a story on, for every one U.S. casualty, there were 12 for the enemy. 

The training took place in the high desert of Fallon, Nevada.  The program draws the best of the best, highly-skilled pilots who use three words to describe themselves. Humble, credible, and approachable. 

Graduates earn the famous TOPGUN patch reminding them of their responsibility as the finest aviators in the Navy. 

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