Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by pknguyen44, Mar 6, 2008.
Hi everyone, I was just wondering how one would be selected into "Top Gun?"
First you have to be selected as a Navy pilot out of USNA/ROTC/OCS, which is not guaranteed in of itself. Then, you have to select jets out of flight school, which again is extremely competitive. If you perform well in the jet community, you can get sent to "Top Gun," which is located at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. Obviously, this is an extremely simplified explanation of what you have to go through to get there. In your case, it's so far down the road that I wouldn't worry about it just yet. That being said, if you have more questions about "Top Gun," fire away, and I'll do the best I can to answer.
you definitely should ask this question over on the http://www.airwarriors.com/ forum, which is the forum for Naval Aviators. A number of the participants on that forum have gone through the Fighter Weapons School, including "schnugg" (http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=141213&highlight=watches#6 ) so they can help you over there. when there, you should search for keywords "adversary squadrons" to find more info on the school before you ask your questions, since many questions have already been asked about Top Gun, as you can guess.
do you think you will physically qualify for flight school, peter? i'd have to get a PRK waiver myself. and i might still DQ on anthro.
Good question, nguyen, but cfam is correct, way too far off to worry about it. However, Topgun grads seemed to rule the fighter community and they probably will have a heavy hand in the strike/fighter community, so it is a worthy goal.
Okay, let’s assume you are in your nugget Super Hornet squadron. All your squadron mates will be pursuing their individual goals. There will be those who are good at the back of the boat and hang around on the platform who will want to go to be an instructor at LSO school and back for a follow on as CAG paddles, the ‘God’of carrier aviation. There will be the technogeeks who will want Test Pilot School. There will be those who just like to fly the aircraft and like teaching others who will go back to the FRS, a career enhancing job, to train the new guys. There are those who, either through fitreps, landing grades, or the puddles under their armpits everytime they come aboard, decide to move on and will probably end up in the training command building flight hours for the airlines. And then there are the few that live for ACM. They bomb because they have to. Those will end up at Topgun.
Bottom line, it is a worthy goal and not entirely far fetched. If you want it, you will probably get it. OBTW, in your nugget squadron before each deployment you will spend a couple of weeks at Fallon playing Maverick where you will truly discover the 'end of the world' and will contemplate spending a full tour there.
oh, and before you visit airwarriors.com, you should know, only the top 42% of flight students "get jets". lol..
(it's a standing joke on airwarriors.com since this is the most common question for noobs on airwarriors.com to ask )
they rule the naval aviation community! RADM Gaudagnini who is the current CNATRA is a topgun grad. (his son is at the USNA, i believe.)
I would hardly consider CNATRA as ruling the Naval aviation community.
Airwarriors.com is predominated by a bunch of testosterone laden flight students too full of themselves and I would consider their posturing as just that.
Not everyone wants jets and my observation has been that most of those who want them, work hard, and deserve them, usually gets what they want.
the CNATRA actually hangs out on airwarriors.com and reads it several times each day (take a look at his account there and look at his last login time). he hasn't contributed so much though- he mostly just lurks. maybe it's bad for his career to post too much if he is pushing for ADM? so far, his best post was some cooking recipes! lol...
the highest testosterone ppl on airwarriors.com are not the flight students, they are the winged naval aviators and the aviator retirees (read "airline pilots"- lol). very oppinionated.
I try to stay away. I find the winged aviator and retiree posts somewhat based on fact. Not so for the students.
Go to the CC USNA forum and read the SWO thread. Someone actually tried to influence a candidate SWO decision by posting a bunch of airwarrior threads. This is my only recent foray into airwarriors. The students were totally out of hand and most senior officers at least attempted to interject some rational thought. Had the intention not been to influence a candidate, I would have considered it hilarious. It actually made me embarassed to be a part of the same community.
that was me actually. but i don't think i did anything wrong. of course you have to read these threads with your critical reasoning turned on. a lot of what the students say is garbage. but i meant for this candidate to see the posts by current and former swo's like "Steve Wilkins" and "Road Program". even these swo's were balanced but still CRITICAL of being a swo. it should be obvious to anyone not to listen to someone who hasn't been there and done it already when they criticize something. i think most ppl can sift through stuff and toss the garbage. and that's why i only posted threads and didn't add anything myself. i am in high school and have no experience with any of it, and am only trying to make my own career decisions for myself.
for example, i think this is a pretty strong condemnation from a current/former swo:
Road Program (http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8094#11 ):
The truth hurts.
The truth?? Or a very subjective opinion from both parties?
I apologize for contributing to this off-topic comment.
On ships, especially as a junior officer, there is some competition. This competition is for performance, collateral jobs, and qualifications. The US Navy also has a grading structure for evaluating your performance.
I don't see it as much different from chemistry class with cutthroats. My father told me stories about some undergrad classes, where you could not trust your classmates not to tamper with your experiement if you walked away.
I'm not suggesting you can't trust fellow SWOs and JOs here. My ship has a relatively small wardroom, 12 officers, ( 1 CDR, 1 LCDR, 2 LTs, 1 CWO and a mix of LTJGs and ENSs for the remaining 7 spots), even in this wardroom, there is SOME competition. It's not too great considering there is no overlap of collaterals and the grading system is a little different.
Am I in the Navy? No. Am I a SWO? No. I have talked to quite a few friends in the Navy, both USNA grads and JOs I've met at various Navy schools, some of them have many of the same experiences expressed above, others have a "good ship". It's hit or miss, however, there is competition, and that doesn't always bring out the best in people (although sometimes it does).
While drifting a bit from the subject of Top Gun, this applies to any command...
A lot will depend on who the folks at the top are. On my first ship, the CO had been passed over for Commodore, the XO was an *** who got passed over for CO school, and the Ops Officer was best classified as "a fat sack o' ****". Saddly, the Ops guy and the XO were both USNA grads.
The rest of the department heads, however, were pretty cool, as were the senior JO's. That helped make things easier. Still, there was a palpable sense of "Who cares?" on board.
On my second ship, the CO enjoyed spending his day in his cabin watching the OJ trial. The XO was a wonderful guy (who was later murdered at the Pentagon on 9/11), and did his best to hold the place together. Most of the rest of the wardroom was every-man-for-himself, but not overly hostile for the most part.
I found the wardrooms on the submarines I spent a brief time on to be much more closely-knit.
But hey, if you think it's any different out here in Corporate America, you're fooling yourself.
Thanks for the links VMIN. I posted this on airwarriors, so hopefully I'll get some good responses. I realize it's way down the road but it's a long term goal of mine if I get that fighter slot!!
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