A Mays Landing native and Oakcrest High School graduate is being highlighted by the U.S. Navy for his role helping to train TOPGUN pilots at the Navy's aviation fighter training facility in Nevada.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Luis Martinez is a 2009 graduate of Oakcrest High school who grew up in Mays Landing. He is the focus of one of the Navy's latest media Community Outreach profiles, which spotlights sailors the Navy believes are doing an outstanding job and best exemplify what it means to be a sailor in the U.S. Navy.
"In Nevada’s high desert is the Navy’s premiere 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 Oakcrest High School graduate and Mays Landing, New Jersey, native is part of the Navy’s finest aviation fighter training facility in the world.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Luis Martinez 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 maintaining and trouble-shooting any issues for navigation, communication and weapon systems on aircrafts.
“At the time I joined the Navy, I knew I needed motivation and knew the Navy offered long-term career opportunities and an education,” said Martinez.
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.
Martinez 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," said NAS Fallon Commanding Officer, Capt. David Halloran. "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 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'm the first in my family to serve in the military,” said Martinez. “I'm proud of the work I do on a daily basis.”
Martinez 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.
“It's unique to serve in the Navy and I take pride in the work I do,” added Martinez."