Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, aka “TOPGUN,” the founder of the program shares the untold story of how he and eight other young pilots revolutionized the art of aerial combat and created the center for excellence and incubator of leadership that thrives to this day.
When American fighter jets were being downed at a horrifying and unprecedented rate during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy turned to a young lieutenant commander, Dan Pedersen, to figure out a way to reverse their dark fortune. On a shoestring budget and with little support, Pedersen picked eight of the finest pilots to help train a new generation to bend jets like the Phantom F-4 to their will and learn how to dogfight all over again.
Now, the Fighter Weapons School’s founder, the man who was picked to lead it at the start, from Miramar to Area 51 to the war in Vietnam, tells the inside story. Pedersen established a legacy that was built by him and his “Original Eight” and carried on for six decades by some of America’s greatest leaders. The book is a heartfelt personal testimony to an elite community of innovators and disruptors who stand as an inspiration to all.