Nashville native helps train Navy’s best pilots at TOPGUN

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Babbs (photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward).

FALLON, Nev. – In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premier 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 2009 Hillsboro High School graduate and Nashville, Tennessee, native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Babbs is an aviation ordnanceman working with the Naval Munitions Command CONUS West Division Detachment Fallon stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.

A Navy aviation ordnanceman is responsible for issuing, receiving, storing and distributing munitions to the fleet.

“I started my first job at 13 and it was early on when I learned the valuable lesson of hard work. That has served me well in my Navy career,” said Babbs.

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.

Babbs 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.

“I am the first in my family to serve in the military,” said Babbs.

“I’m really proud of my time as one of the top FA-18 legacy squadrons during deployment 2013 and 2014,” said Babbs.

Babbs 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.

“Serving in the Navy means doing something meaningful that helps other people while providing for my family,” said Babbs.