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Top Gun training in Northern Nevada

Top Gun: Maverick follows the 1986 original and the real men and women it highlights live right here in Northern Nevada
An attendee walks past an advertisement for the upcoming film "Top Gun: Maverick" on the...
An attendee walks past an advertisement for the upcoming film "Top Gun: Maverick" on the opening day of CinemaCon 2022, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) at Caesars Palace, Monday, April 25, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)(Chris Pizzello | Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 8:17 PM CDT
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FALLON, Nev. (KOLO) - NAS Fallon is home to the Naval Fighter Weapons School TOPGUN. Many of the instructors there have dreamed about flying fighter jets since they were little kids.

“I think the first time I decided I wanted to fly I was four years old,” said Lt. John Taylor Gregg.

LT Briana Plohocky was eleven when she started chasing her dream of serving her country.

“I joined a junior sea cadets U.S. Navy program, so then I kind of just went with the Navy,” she said.

And now, they’re some of the best fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy.

“It is pretty mentally draining and physically draining. It’s twelve weeks and you fly every single day,” said LT Plohocky.

“You have lectures during the day, you have them on the weekends sometimes.”

The pilots take off into 13 thousand square miles of airspace over Northern Nevada. They train in everything from dogfighting to employing weapons.

Many fly the F-18 Super Hornet. But TOPGUN is unique in that instructors also fly different aircrafts including the F-35, the F-16 and older Hornets.

The F-16′s at NAS Fallon are the only ones owned by the Navy as they are typically used by the Air Force.

“Combat flights you can spend anywhere from six to eight, nine hours would be the longest,” LT Plohocky said.

“And the ejection seats are not very comfortable,” she added with a laugh.

“You come back and you’re ready for a nap, but then the process has just begun at that point,” said TOPGUN CDR Michael Patterson.

CDR Patterson says they debrief for hours analyzing what they can do better the next time they step into the cockpit.

Now, with their everyday lives back on the big screen, many in the squadron got a sneak peek at Top Gun: Maverick before its premiere.

“It shows the skill, the dedication, the courage that our young men and women display every day it’s just not on camera,” said CDR Patterson.

“There’s still some Hollywood to it to make it a movie, but they get it pretty accurate,” said LT Plohocky.

“I am really excited for my family and friends to see that because I think it will give them as close to a point of view of what it’s like to be in an airplane,” said LT Gregg.

All the pilots thought back on the time they’ve given up with family and friends to be where they are today.

“The families, loved ones, the friends are working just as hard when we’re away to support us and we wouldn’t be able to do the mission without them,” said CDR Patterson.

Patterson said he hopes Nevadans are proud of the dedicated men and women training right in their backyard.

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