Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years

w704Funny what gets out attention going on subjects sometimes. I fell in love with the American Civil War in elementary school, during the centennial celebration, especially the books by Bruce Catton. As someone said, you could feel the heat, the dust, the boredom, and the horrors of battle in his words. Those legendary armies still, all these years, later, march in my mind. That became an obsession with first military history and later history in general. If I’m troubled about most anything, you’re likely to find me with my nose in a book, and invariably it will be either history, or a historical novel, and some of them are very good.

Seems like I’m not the only one, either. My friend Dale, over at Command Performance Leadership, tells a similar tale about the opening of Top Gun a few days over thirty years ago. Well, OK, I admit it, I loved it then, and I still do today, as well. But like good history, Top Gun has some lessons to teach, and that’s Dale’s business, so listen up, we’re gonna sortie right into The Danger Zone.

One month before I left for boot camp, on May 16, 1986, the iconic movie, Top Gun, opened in theaters.  Starring Tom Cruise, playing the role of Lieutenant Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, Top Gun would become one of the most endearing military movies of all time.  From its opening scene (may I opine: The best opening scene to a movie ever!), to it victorious ending, this movie is jam-packed with great action and music.

If you don’t believe us, hook that video up to a good stereo, and crank it. This was the first movie I bought on videotape (Betamax stereo, in fact), and it’s hard to describe (in polite company) what my reaction was when I played it through my fairly adequate stereo.

In addition to its excellent music and its action-packed scenes, the movie’s dialogue is immortal.  Comical, hard-hitting and full of power and meaning, Top Gun is full of unforgettable lines, like these:

Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” ~ Captain Tom “Stinger” Jordan

“Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team.  They are not flexible, nor am I” ~ CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf (Commander, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School – Top Gun)

“A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what’s happened, so he can apply what he’s learned” ~ Viper

These, and many other lines, certainly capture the strict discipline and protocol that you would expect from the military.  And, then there arelines that you might use at work just to annoy your co-workers, such as the infamous, “I feel the need … the need for speed.”  Or, there are lines like the ones listed below that are suited for everyday use and have particular meaning (click on image to be taken to larger image via its web link ): [It won’t work here, but it will from CPL. Neo]

*Courtesy: The Further Adventures of Doctrine Man (Facebook), akaDoctrine Man (Twitter)*

Out of the movie also comes leadership wisdom.  Top Gun is referenced often when discussing leadership and team dynamics; a sort of leadership ethos.  This was extensively explored by Bob Jennings andJ. Israel Thompson in a series of posts that were written as fictional “interviews” with key characters from the movie.  Links to each of those posts are listed below:

Often in the movie, however, there are those times when a butt-chewingwas necessaryThe fine art of delivering corrective action is sometimes garnished with some colorful language.  As the movie evolves, you notice Viper’s style becomes the textbook example of how to deliver negative feedback.  There is, obviously, a right way and a wrong way.

Like Dale, I too learned a lot about leadership from, “Those Magnificient Men in their Flying Machines”, but I’m nearly a generation older, I learned from Gregory Peck, General Savage in 12 O’Clock High. But you know we learned the same lessons, B-17s going to Germany, or F-14s in the Indian Ocean, the lessons are essential and timeless. And just as true in the civilian world, as in the Navy, or the Air Force.

But Dale also brought some fun.

Which ‘Top Gun’ Character Are You?

Quiz #1          Quiz #2          Quiz #3          Quiz #4


Call Sign Generator

via Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years | Command Performance Leadership

Which character am I? well, if you must know, Maverick twice, Jester, and Iceman, once each. I think that’ll do. 🙂

And remember: “The plaque for alternates is down in the ladies room“!


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

15 Responses to Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years

  1. Btw, not too many know that a stunt pilot and aerial cameraman died making Top Gun. His name was Art Scholl, a California boy (Dec. 24, 1931 – Sept. 16, 1985). He had done some flying also for the A-Team show. But the day he died, his Pitt S-2 airplane failed to recover from a flat spin off the coast of California, in deep water. The exact cause of the crash was never determined, nor was the recovery of the plane or Scholl’s body. RIP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, and that is why the film is dedicated to him. He was a great pilot!


      • Since I am in the OC I got to meet a few pilots who knew him. A one time Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) guy. He was 53 when he died.


  2. the unit says:

    Interesting. Particularly the Art Scholl story.
    As far as the movie, I bought the commercial VHS probably at Walmart, played on VCR thru 19″ Sharp tv and it’s sound. I don’t need to say what I thought of the quality.
    So what I’m reading sounds great, although I still don’t care for the actor. But I got to remember I be judicious, careful, and commenting without malice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Hah! I don’t really either, but he was very good in this one! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Btw one of Cruise’s first cousins is the actor William Mapother, which is the name Tom Cruise was born under. Cruise is now 53 also, and at one time went to a Catholic school and order to become a priest. I would myself share some of Cruise’s criticism of psychiatry. And I give him some credit for marrying Nicole Kidman, as too having some Irish family background! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yeah well. Fidel wanted to become a priest, I read. And Warren Beatty has a sister. And Obama has Irish ancestors. Disney has ‘Small World Isn’t It.’ 🙂


        • Yes, the Irish cover the good and bad spectrum! 😉 Btw too, I really loved Cruise’s, The Last Samurai, (2003), perhaps his best movie?

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Best movie? I didn’t see it or any others at that time (or before or after). So if you say so, ok with me.
          I guess I missed a lot. Drudge had a story a while back one’s consciousness lives on after death. I’ll tune in the Movie Channel and HBO then to catch up on all I missed . 🙂


        • Never saw The Last Samurai? It is a must see for sure!

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Ok then. What God said to Arthur Davidson. (A post here several days ago.) 🙂


        • Ya got me on Arthur Davidson? But truly, The Last Samurai is well worth seeing! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: My Article Read (5-22-2016) – My Daily Musing

  4. Pingback: My Article Read (5-22-2016) – Br Andrew's Muses

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.