JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. --
An Air National Guardsman was the second ever to graduate from the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), Dec 15, 2017, at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.
Capt. Jason Allenton, a member of the 225th Air Defense Squadron of the Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis McChord, graduated from the course, enabling him to return to his unit and share new techniques and best practices with his fellow Airmen.
Allenton spent nine challenging weeks learning new concepts in joint integration and employment as well learning how to be an advanced execution instructor. He is now charged with integrating his new found knowledge into the Battle Control Center’s (BCC) air defense role.
“As one of very few Air National Guardsmen to attend TOPGUN, we are proud of his accomplishment and look forward to integrating his new skill sets into the WADS mission,” said Col. Brett Bosselmann, commander of the 225th Air Defense Squadron.
“Resilience and determination are key to becoming a better operator,” said Allenton. “I learned that you cannot be afraid to fail. Standards and expectations are very high. The course mentally challenges you to learn to deal with failure and overcome it.”
Having a Guardsman graduate TOPGUN provides the NORAD enterprise, active duty Air Force, and the Navy, a fixed position within the continental U.S. for continuity in Navy tactics. A TOPGUN graduate can talk to aircraft all over the country and integrate with those units in both the Air Force and Navy, speaking the same language. TOPGUN is different from other Air Force schools as it focuses on specific Navy air employment and integration, according to Allenton.
“Integration will be more seamless moving into the future, executing in a joint environment,” said Allenton. “It provides the fleet with an additional resource for air-to-air tactic instruction. There are several Navy installations nearby and their members come to train at WADS using our capability and as a TOPGUN graduate, now these members will receive first class instruction and training, increasing the DoD’s combat effectiveness.”
The TOPGUN school came out of the Cold War and Vietnam era where it was found that the U.S. needed to reduce its unacceptable ratio of combat losses and found the need for an advanced fighter weapons school, designed to train aircrew in all aspects of aerial combat including the capabilities and limitations of Navy aircraft and weapon systems, along with those of the expected threat.
In 1969, TOPGUN was established to develop and implement a course of graduate-level instruction in aerial combat. Today, TOPGUN continues to provide advanced tactics training for FA-18A-F aircrew in the Navy and Marine Corps through the execution of the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course. TOPGUN is the most demanding air combat syllabus found anywhere in the world, according to the U.S. Navy. The SFTI course ultimately produces graduate-level strike fighter tacticians, adversary instructors, and air intercept controllers who go on to fill the critical assignment of training officer in fleet units.