Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Williamsburg native helps train the Navy’s best pilots at TOPGUN

(Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward/U.S. Navy)
Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Partain is an aviation electronics technician working with the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Detachment stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. (Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward/U.S. Navy)

FALLON, Nev. – In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premiere tactical air warfare training center, home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center and its Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known to the world as TOPGUN.

A 2012 Lafayette High School graduate and Williamsburg, Virginia, native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Partain is an aviation electronics technician working with the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Detachment stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.

A Navy aviation electronics technician is responsible for working on guidance systems in the aircrafts.

“I knew friends serving in the Navy and their experiences inspired to forge my own career path in the military,” said Partain.

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.

Partain 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,” NAS Fallon Commanding Officer Capt. David Halloran said. “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.”

According to Navy officials, TOPGUN is highly competitive and exposes Navy and Marine Corps 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’m most proud of the work I’ve done while on deployment,” Partain said.

Partain 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 provides me with stability and it’s an honor to serve my country,” added Partain.
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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