By Tillman, BarrettBy Pedersen, Dan
Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, aka TOPGUN --and the premiere of Jerry Bruckheimer's summer 2019 sequel to his blockbuster movie--the Godfather of TOPGUN shares the never-before-told story of how he and eight ot...her risk-takers, disruptors, and innovators revolutionized the art of aerial combat and created the center for excellence and incubator of leadership that thrives to this day. Top Gun became a household name with the worldwide success of the film of the same title. The 1986 hit starring Tom Cruise as a hotshot U.S. Navy fighter pilot was so popular (drawing $356 million worldwide) that recruiters set up desks in theaters, looking to attract the next generation of combat aviators. The movie did for Navy pilots what The Right Stuff did for astronauts. Now, the school's founder tells the story of the real-life combat aviators who revolutionized the art of aerial warfare and created the center for excellence and incubator of leadership that thrives to this day. Here is the inside story of TOPGUN, written by Dan Pedersen, the man who was picked to lead it at the start, from Miramar to Area 51 to the war in Vietnam. Pedersen established a legacy that was built by he and his Original Eight and carried on for six decades by some of America's greatest leaders. The book is a heartfelt personal testimony to an elite community of risk-takers, innovators, and disruptors who can stand as an inspiration to all.Read more
Dan Pedersen entered the U.S. Navy in 1953. He was the senior officer in the group of nine men who formed the Navy's legendary TOPGUN program at Naval Air Station Miramar in March 1969. He served in combat during the Vietnam War, with a flying cruise on USS Hancock (CVA-19) and three on USS Enterprise (CVN-65). He retired as a captain, having accumulated 6,100 flight hours and 1,005 carrier landings while flying 39 types of aircraft. He lives with his wife outside San Diego.
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