Waxhaw native Jackson Mingledorff has just been appointed to serve as an air traffic controller at the Navy’s most prestigious aviator program ‘TOPGUN’, located in Nevada’s Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon.
“I joined the Navy because it was a new opportunity for me,” said Mingledorff. “I was also interested in the educational benefits, the opportunity to travel and I was excited to have a job I could do for years in the future.”
The TOPGUN program was first introduced 52 years ago with the mission of reducing casualties of naval aviators sustained during the Vietnam War. Within a year, this goal was reached with the United States having one casualty for every 12 enemy deaths. Since then, TOPGUN continues to train the finest naval aviators and has inspired one blockbuster movie released in May 1986, with a sequel planned for release in May of 2022.
“I am extremely excited about the impact this movie will have,” said Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces. “Much like the trend that followed the original film, I am confident that Top Gun: Maverick will have a tremendous impact on our Navy recruiting efforts which will greatly increase the numbers of brave and talented Sailors among our ranks.”
According to Navy officials, TOPGUN is a prestigious program only open to the top one percent of naval aviators. Aviators who attend the course are trained in a variety of areas including air combat, jet maneuverability, enemy tactics and more.