Comments & Questions

Found your website as I was searching google for VF-24 pictures. I was a Plane Captain in VF-24 in 1983-85 before going to the Ordnance shop as an AO3. If I remember correctly, you were just leaving the squadron, and I probably launched you a few times. Loved working the flight line and flight deck. Very fond memories of my time in the Navy, and your site and stories bring it back in

My son is now a Corpsman stationed at the Washington Navy yard.

Thanks for the memories!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Van Winkle

My name is bill de witt i was staton with vf126 in 69 - 71. i am a rigger [ pr ] i remember when top gun started .i had a lot of back seat rides in the ta4 f's.i had a grate time with vf 126, and the officers and em's were a grate bunch .i was transfer to a vp44 in brunwick maine but did't like it,i would have stayed in but they would not give me a jet jockey outfit, but i do miss the jet's.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill DeWitt

Dave, nice to meet you at the NASM last December. I wrote a book review of your book on my blog.

http://adinexplorata.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/book-review-topgun-days/

Bottom line - an excellent book. Maybe you can do a follow-up on your experiences as a CO.?

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen Katz

Dave: there is a book (viper pilot) (flight of the intruder) but I'm still waiting for a new 1 from ya. :) from the proud son of a Grumman Engineer.

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAl Schneider

Hi Dave
Great book, picked it up at the Smithsonian in DC while on our holiday from Australia in May 2013, very interesting reading. also got to see a number of Tomcats at various locations around the country, also did San Diego, saw some movie sites and Miramar. Was good to visually put places to names in a book.
All the best
Tomcat nut
Paul Hornsby

June 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Hornsby

Bio Thanks very very much for the awesome book! I am from Tuscany (Italy) and just finished to read the amazing work you did ( sometimes was a lil tuff…my English is not perfect…). My dream has always been to become a pilot..but.. my sight is not so good and I’ ve never tried..(let me say today I m a little frustrated banker..). I really can’ t wait to read your next one…in Italy I ll be the first buyer

ps

if one day u could come too cortona ( my town in tuscany …maybe you know because a movie called “under the Tuscan sun” has been made here ) u can be my guest!!! (my mail is fede0406@hotmail.com)
Ciao
Federico

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfederico Poccetti

Thanks BIO for a great read, it was a long time since I had such a good book in my hands, you had me from the first to the last page! I am looking forward to your next one beeing released.., I will be first in line to buy it :-) I was also happy to find some nice lines about Sweden and our old fighters in the book as well.

Regards
Jonas

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonas

Salutations, Mr. Baranek. I have just finished reading your book "Topgun Days," and I was awestruck by the book overall. You had the details of being a fleet pilot and a TOPGUN instructor laid out very well. In relation to naval strike fighter aviation, I did time in the Navy for 4 years as an Aviation Electrician's Mate. I was in 2 strike fighter squadrons from CVW-5 in Japan working on F/A-18C/E Hornet variants and did 2 cruises aboard the USS George Washington. Also, I just got out during October of last year as an Airman. Now, I'm going to college somewhere back home in L.A. and participating in Air Force ROTC with hopes of flying for the Air Force someday. Upon inspiration partly from your book, I have personally decided that I would like to get a slot to fly jets in the Air Force and hopefully be selected to go to TOPGUN and gain my SFTI qualification. If you do not mind, may I get some tips from you on how to get there? I would greatly appreciate it.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
> > > Reggie - Thank you for your service in the Navy and congratulations on Air Force ROTC! My first "tip" is that you have to WANT IT, which you obviously do. I'll send you an email with some more thoughts. Good luck! - Bio

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterReggie

did you know RADM Bad Fred Lewis?
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
> > > Yes, I did. He had a great reputation in the Fleet and continued to do good things after retirement.

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Glad you and the skipper made out of the water safely. So far so good

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterash

Mr. Baranek, I am reading (and thoroughly enjoying) your book Top Gun Days, and just finished Chp 5 where you and Skipper run off the flight deck of the Constitution after the No. 4 wire fails. I'm just curious, why weren't you at MIL power? Maybe it has something to do with the F14, which I 'm not all that familiar with. However, my son is a WSO in the EA-18G (Growler--which I'm sure you know is basically a Super Hornet reconfigured for its electronic warfare mission), and my understanding is that they always go full power at touchdown on carrier landings in case of a bolter and the need to get airborne again. Thank you, and I look forward to finishing your book.

Craig Delk
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Mr. Delk - Glad you're enjoying the book and thank you for your question, it is very perceptive. Of course people asked CDR Switzer that at the time of our mishap. His reply was that when he felt the wire break, he pulled the throttles back to try and stop, as a reflex. I've examined the video and concluded we were going about 50-60 knots as we rolled off the angle: too fast to stop and too slow to fly, even in MIL power...or MAX A/B. So nothing would've saved 159623.
And thanks to your son for his service to this great country. Sincerely - Dave

October 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Delk

I haven't read the book. I'll see if the library has it.

I don't know if I'm glad or sad that the movie "Top Gun" came out after I served in the Navy, including two WestPac cruises aboard USS Ranger, Top Gun of the Pacific Fleet. I did not like any of the actors portrayals of Navy pilots in the movie. I met and talked with lots of pilots - F-4s, A-7s, A-6s, A-4s. Not one of them had an attitude. Maybe they had attitudes when they strapped in and positioned on the cats, but they left it in the plane. Every one of them was a down to earth human being whom I was proud to serve with.

John Slaughter, USS Ranger 1968-'70.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Slaughter

Bio,
Between you and Heater, I'd say you guys have shot some of the nicest airborne photos taken in the last 30 years. Thanks for putting in the time to write the book, which WILL be in my library soonest.

Best,
Mongo
VF-301 Maint.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMongo

BIO,
Nice meeting you at the Air&Space Museum, great Web Site & videos !!!
v/r Eric

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEric

I WAS READING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE SR-71 AND SPEAKING FROM HAVING SEEN THE AIRCRAFT UP CLOSE IS EXCITING. MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE SR-71 TOOK PLACE 10-15 YEARS AGO AT THE BATTLESHIP ALABAMA IN MOBILE ALABAMA AND AFTER WALKING THE UPPERDECK WE WALKED TOWARD THE HANGER AND THERE INSIDE WAS A SR-71 THEY WERE GETTING READY FOR A BANQUET AND WE WERE LEFT THERE BY OURSELVES WITH JUST US AND THE PLANE.
YES THE STAIRS WERE STILL ATTACHED SO I CLIMBED UP THE STAIRS AND TOOK PICTURES OF THE FLIGHT DECK AND PROCEEDED TO TAKE PICTURES FWD,AFT STARBOARD AND PORTSIDE OF THE PLANE. LIKE YOU I WAS AMAZED AT WHAT THE PLANE HAD DONE.
WHILE TAKING PICTURES I WAS WONDERING JUST WHAT THEY WERE COMMING OUT WITH NEXT

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJERRY

Guess I'd best read this. After all, I spent 5 years at Topgun. Just took a long time to get through the IUT program!!!

HAGD and Keep Smiling
Wigs

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick Ludwig "Wigs

Dave
I just ordered your book. I am Dave Demery and in 1978 I was run over by a truck. After seeing Top Gun I wanted despertly to be a fighter pilot. My injuries kept me from doing that but I have flown with Air Combat USA like 12 times. It is incredible wish I could fly in a jet fighter. Here is my video on www.youtube.com Just type in deuce air combat usa to view.

August 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Demery

Bio, how about posting some pictures of book signings?

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterE.T.

Bio,

Great seeing you at the book signing yesterday. Another great accomplishment from the master!

Wishing you every continued success -

Brian

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Jackson

Mr Baranek,
I had the great pleasure working with you while serving onboard The Ranger and being in the same squadron (VF-24), I also had the great pleasure of loading all your AIM-7's.. AIM-9's.. AIM-54's & the 20mm cannon. I wish you all the best for you and your family. Hope to meet up with you again someday. Former AO2 Alan Higgins. My e-mail says it all..

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralan higgins

Dave - best of luck with the Book tour. We hope you will come back to Toastmasters and still talk to us after you are rich and famous!

June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

You Tom's twin brother? He used to tell me stories about you being in the movie. Don't look like him.

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersquared

Congrats on the book BIO, you bet I'll buy it and add it to my Tomcat cruise box. You were a legend at Miramar, I'm sure it'll be a great read!

V/R,

Tom Livesey
Former Enterprise AO & VF-114 AV/ARM

June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Livesey

Dave - how very exciting!!! I'm so proud of you and hope you will still talk to me now that you will be famous...

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNadia

Hi Bio (^^)/

When do you come to Yokosuka!?

We are waiting in the Yakitori-bar !!!

May 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmiko Booska

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