In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premiere tactical air warfare training center, home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center and it’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known to the world as TOPGUN.
A 1981 Red Bank High School graduate and Chattanooga native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world. CDR Jason Parmley is the officer in charge of the Naval Munitions Command CONUS West Division Detachment Fallon stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.
As the officer in charge, CDR Parmley is responsible for leading the largest shoreside weapons facility.
“We handle and expend more ammunition and explosives than anywhere else in the world,” said CDR Parmley.
CDR Parmley said that lessons from his hometown have led to a successful Navy career.
“Growing up in Chattanooga taught me the valuable lesson of discipline and respect.
I've carried that with me and it's helped me immensely in my Navy career. Now I do my best I teach those same values to junior sailors and officers as they build their careers,” said CDR Parmley.
TOPGUN began 48 years ago with the determination of nine pilots, the skepticism of the government and almost no budget as history would recall. In the early years it turned the tide of a losing air war in Vietnam, revolutionized military doctrine, inspired a Hollywood blockbuster and attracted and trained the best allied pilots and air crew from all over the world.
CDR Parmley plays a crucial role in the overall mission that flies over 5,000 adversary sorties per year in support of the Navy and Marine Corp Active and Reserve fleet and replacement squadrons, carrier air wings and marine aircraft groups including the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National guard and Canadian Forces.
"Nowhere in the world does the Navy have the ability to train as we do in NAS Fallon. The Navy specifically chose NAS Fallon as the location for Top Gun and the Naval Special Warfare Tactical Ground Mobility Training Center because of the desert climate, mountainous terrain, and sophisticated ranges available in northern Nevada. Every Carrier Air Wing and Navy Seal Team is required to receive the essential training provided here prior to being deployed in theater," said NAS Fallon Commanding Officer, Capt. David Halloran.
According to Navy officials, TOPGUN is highly competitive and exposes Navy and Marine Corp pilots to the most demanding training scenarios in fighter aviation lead by some of the most talented pilots in the world. Each pilot is hand-selected for air-to-air and air-to-ground training and subsequently, as a TOPGUN instructor.
“My son-in-law serves in the Army, my grandfather served in the Navy, and my in-laws were in the Air Force,” said CDR Parmley explaining that military service is a family tradition.
“I've had mentors and I'm honored to serve as a mentor to others. I take pride in knowing that people from my past commands still remain in touch with me to this day,” said CDR Parmley. He also said they are proud to serve at the center of excellence for naval aviation, training and tactics development.
The future of U.S. aviation depends on the Navy’s ability to achieve their vision for defeating tomorrow’s air threats with the support of the ground crews and pilots.
“It’s an honor to serve this nation and I feel it’s something that every able-bodied American should do in some capacity,” added CDR Parmley.