A stretch hummer pulled up to the hotel to take us to our surprise destination…
Security checks, unknown to us, were done weeks before.
And I still got in.
The clandestine event was Top Gun Flight school, Miramar. The place where they filmed the movie, and in real-life, train top navy pilots. Except now, they train Marine fighter pilots.
The squadron who hosted us was called The Death Rattlers.
Don’t let that name fool you; they were charming.
I learned that they use chairs, on the ground, that whip you around every which way, to build up your tolerance for G Forces, and airsickness. Each flight requires a 3-hour prep. There are 10 seat-belts per pilot — parachute is attached.
We ate dinner with the Death Rattlers, and sat in the Officer’s Club bar… the very place where Tom Cruise meets Kelly.
And, for good measure, I picked up an O’Club Golf Shirt for my brother… for serving above and beyond the call of duty.