Tag Archives: TOPGUN Maverick

TOPGUN Dave Berke on TOPGUN: Maverick as interviewed by Jocko Willink

Watching the above is like watching two of the best of the best talk about my dad. Great!

And a bonus:

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First reaction to TOPGUN Maverick

Great! That’s the USMC Navy pilots I know. Exactly. Well done. They say it’s all fiction. Yep. I get that. But it reflects reality. Especially the bit about no one left behind, ever, against orders, at least that’s the USMC way. There is honesty. There is integrity. Dad didn’t talk much about his experiences, but what he did share about missions such as this – with rescues, the whole thing – had me enter into an understanding of the dynamics of the best of the best in the military. Doing away with protocol to do the right thing with no compromise is what I learned, in which your higher-ups in life have to catch up with you. Smacked down, smacked down, smacked down, and then… even they get it, or you can live with yourself and before God and neighbor. It’s all good.

This movie isn’t the Dem point of view of the military. This is the patriotic actuality of the best of the best in the military. I only wish we had leadership in the country right now that would allow excellence in the military to take care of situations. Instead, the Dem answer to everything is betrayal and running away, not just America last, but humanity last. I fully expect the Dems to do away with the TOPGUN program, perceiving TOPGUN as an insult to the Dem way of doing things. Well, it’s that for sure, but that’s not TOPGUN’s fault.

The movie doesn’t say who the nuclear adversary is, but it seems obvious to me that it’s Iran ever so very close to starting a nuclear conflagration. While this movie is about the TOPGUN pilots of these USA, Israel has done what happens in the film a number of times over against Iran, maybe not with the exact logistics depicted, but this has been going on for many decades with many strikes with many miracles. And there is topography for nuclear facilities just as seen in the film.

While watching the film it occurred to me many times that there’s quite the exact analogy with priests and bishops, with the bishops thinking that their priests are liabilities and the priests are smacked down again and again and again but then, it’s all good (well, at least at the last judgment if one has stood steadfastly in solidarity with the Lord in His trials).

Even military aviators aren’t going to nitpick at this much since whatever was popularized, so to speak, for audiences to be able to understand, is negligible when faced with the incredible feats of aviation actually carried out on screen. The pilots who did this… wow… great… congratulations… In any other administration you would all be getting some kind of presidential commendations for lifting moral in these difficult times.

So, did I like TOPGUN Maverick. That would be a Yes. And, I’d see it again in the future.


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My Dad to Congress pre-JBA USN SFTI: “If you think up there, you’re dead.” Wait, what? TOPGUN Maverick

Before the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (SFTI) came to be in the 1960s, aka, the Navy’s TOPGUN program, what you see in the TOPGUN films, it was my dad who taught the best of the best of the best at Andrews adjacent to D.C. while he was also going through JAG school, degreeing out at Georgetown and being accredited to SCOTUS.

Did I say the best of the best of the best? Besides skill, what that also means is pushing the limits. One of his students did that over D.C. coming into formation with a too-quick barrel roll, clipping off the end of dad’s wing, so that he had to fly with that wing dipped waaaay down. He told me about the emergency vehicles there to clean up the crash. But, no. He landed on that same broken wing, then on that broken wing and and its wheel, until it dropped hard. No worries.

Dad’s one of the most highly decorated pilots (Guam, Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam…), with the story behind some of those medals being worthy of multiple major films. Sure, I think of his saving ambushed troops, alone, his plane ripped with shrapnel, and of his exploits with Minoru Wada, ending Japanese aggression.

But, for me, what especially stands out is his F-You moment to the powers that be after funding was cut for his training of the best of the best of the best. With the new jets coming in, these guys flying faster, maneuvering faster than they ever had, necessitating flying not by thinking but by instinct, but with no program-money for practice flights, they were ramming themselves into the ground. Imagine the heartbreak. Dad made constant appeals to Congress for more money for his program. His line to them was: “If you think up there, you’re dead. You can’t think. It has to be instinct.” Nothing. Since he was the teacher of the best of the best of the best, if he had an F-You statement to Congress, it would mean something, striking a cord. Dad did have some language skills. His F-You was to take a cut in rank and pay and then join the National Guard for another twenty years while taking over a law practice and starting up a family (including yours truly). It would be a few years until they missed such instruction. That’s when the TOPGUN program was born in the Navy. Of course it was the Navy. That was the apology of Congress for cutting the funding from the Navy in the first place.

Meanwhile, as a courtesy to my dad – or as a result of his momentary thefts – there were a number of times he got in a gullwing Corsair once again from an airport an hour away by car, then flew to my hometown, and then “took off the roof” of the house with waaaay tooo low passes. I think that if I were to have been up on the roof I could’ve touched the plane. So loud! :-) I remember running outside to see him fly over and dip his wing in salute to me with me cheering him on.

I’d like to go see TOPGUN Maverick. Busy with priest stuff, I haven’t seen it, yet. Have you?


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