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5 Ways The 21st Century Military Could Make 'Top Gun 2' Deeply Weird
A new Top Gun movie is happening, whether you want it to or not. For my part, if Tom Cruise says he’s getting back into the cockpit, I’ll drag myself to the theater out of morbid curiosity.
But it’s not the 1980s anymore. The military has changed drastically since the days of the Cold War, and Maverick is going to have to keep up with the way we do things in the service today. Here are a couple of possible speed bumps — or plot points! — on former Lt. Pete Mitchell’s road to advancement.
1. Maverick is now dealing with constant sexual harassment charges, probably
Mav seems like the kind of senior officer who zones out in sexual harassment training. Maybe his top marks in “professional expertise” and “tactical performance” have offset all those 2.0s in “command climate” on his fitreps over the years. But how long before Pete Mitchell’s lost that loving feeling and gained that Article 32 hearing? Then again, maybe the whole plot of “Top Gun 2” revolves around Maverick trying to make it to retirement before an investigation into his boorishness wallops him.
2. Goodbye, Tomcat; hello, F-35C Lightning II
Man, how cool were all those F-14s blazing over the California desert in the original movie, their hot-dogging pilots buddied up with backseat radar-intercept officers for maximum movie banter? Too bad the Navy’s main air-superiority platform was retired in 2006. Now the service has its F-35 “joint strike fighter,” which is basically the Poochie of carrier air ops.
The F-35 has been a constant debacle that still randomly catches fire sometimes. Nevertheless, in "Top Gun 2," Maverick and company will probably end up flying the first combat missions in these single-seat money-suckers (assuming those gold-plated jets can maintain a “safe threshold” of failure rates).
Let’s just imagine that every time Mav’s squadronmates fly, they finish their sorties, punch out of their dying F-35s, and putter around the ocean, waiting for a helo to pluck them out. Let’s say everyone treats this as perfectly normal operations and pays no attention when Maverick and his wingman — Did Goose conceive a son before he died? Just sayin’ — are debriefing that last close air-support run over Raqqa while floating in an emergency raft in the middle of the ocean.
3. Episode II: Attack of The Drones
You know what could have saved Goose? Juking and jiving on a remote-control stick in a conex box in the Nevada desert instead of flaming out thousands of feet above it. Picture “Top Gun 2” as a retelling of John Henry’s legend with UAVs instead of steam hammers. In the name of jointness, the entire movie takes place at Nellis Air Force Base, where Maverick is red-teaming and always talking smack on the lead drone pilot, a paunchy guy in his mid-30s who just wants to get home to the wife and kids. Eventually their commander tells them to settle it in the skies.
Because of a massive shift in funding priorities during the war on terror, the drone pilots have been getting countless hours in the sky, while Maverick’s constantly grounded over safety stand-downs and fuel costs. Maverick, nearly 60 at this point, eventually loses embarrassingly and puts in a package to become a Spirit Airlines pilot.
If you haven’t read up on it, America is currently dealing with a pilot shortage, both in the military and the civilian sector. While it’s not as bad as the troop shortages we were running up against during the surge years in Iraq and Afghanistan, desperate measures may have to be taken.
Maverick, one step away from retirement, is stop-lossed and put in charge of the new pilot recruits. Because of the shortage, recruitment standards have been relaxed to a point where nearly anyone can get wings of gold. Top Gun remains the best of the best, but Maverick is still trying to keep up with a ragtag bunch of millennial pilots, half of whom want company equity and flex time, and another half of whom have drinking problems and a death wish. Original, right?
5. More gratuitous shirtlessness
It’s impossible to think of “Top Gun” and not recall the weirdly placed, shirtless volleyball scene in the middle of the movie.
In 2017, we still have an oiled-up Maverick and Iceman, but now they’re playing shuffleboard and talking about how difficult it is to pee. Eventually they retire together and open a bait shop in Texas.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.