Retired TOPGUN Pilot to Present at Museum Speaker Series | Aviation

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Retired Commander Hermon “Munster” Cook, an F-14 Tomcat pilot during the 1980s Libyan incidents, is the next speaker in EAA’s Aviation Adventure Speaker Series. Hermon will share his journey of graduating from the Navy’s TOPGUN fighter pilot program and his subsequent Navy career, as well as his experience engaging with two Libyan-operated MiG-23s in 1989, in his presentation at the EAA Aviation Museum on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

Hermon studied at Texas Tech University and enlisted in the Navy after graduation in 1982. “I’m very much the ‘everyday-kid-can-do-it’ story,” Hermon said. “I went to public high school and public college and got in the Navy. Through a lot of hard work and determination, I ended up in [the fighter pilot program] and had a great career and had command of a fighter squadron. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

During his presentation, Hermon will share what training was like in the TOPGUN program – otherwise known as the Navy Fighter Weapons School, which inspired the Top Gun movies – and demystify what being a fighter pilot is all about. He’ll also discuss life and work on an aircraft carrier and talk about flying the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet.

In 1989, when stationed on the USS John F. Kennedy in the Mediterranean Sea, Hermon was flying one of two patrolling F-14s when a pair of Libyan-operated MiG-23s approached. In a defensive move, the hostile aircraft were shot down. Hermon will share HUD tape from this event as he chronicles his firsthand experience engaging with enemy aircraft.

Hermon eventually transitioned to flying the F/A-18 Hornet before retiring in 2002 as commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron VF-201. He continues to fly as an international long-haul captain for Delta Air Lines.

Thursday’s presentation is free for EAA members and youths, and just $5 for nonmembers…

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