Top Gun and mustaches: a strange custom of naval aeronautics

Top Gun and mustaches: a strange custom of naval aeronautics

The mustache is often worn in naval aviation. Why this tradition, which is verified on screen with certain characters from the “Top Gun” films? We asked a fighter pilot from the French Navy!

Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, his son Bradley aka “Rooster”, Mike “Viper” Metcalf… These characters from the Top Gun movies all have one thing in common: they have mustaches. Coincidence? No way ! Wearing a mustache is a tradition within naval aviation.

Where does this custom come from? What is its meaning ? We asked the question to frigate captain Etienne, Deputy Commander Operations of the Landivisiau naval air base and pilot of Rafale Marine (on-board fighter) within the French Navy.

“Wearing a mustache is a tradition that comes to us a little from the Americans”explains Etienne. “Sometimes what we do is we grow our mustaches when we go on the aircraft carrier for several months. The Americans have been doing this for a long time, we also do it sometimes on large missions.”

“It’s a sign of belonging”continues the pilot. “We’ve been together for several months at sea, we all let our mustaches grow and it makes us look funny. It’s cohesion, humor, a good atmosphere. It allows us to do things in duration, because that’s also what being a sailor is about, being tough, lasting at sea. All the little things, the little nice traditions, we treasure them.”

Top Gun: what is a call sign used for? Can we reach Mach 10? A fighter pilot answers your questions after Maverick!

For the record, Joseph Kosinski, the director of Top Gun: Maverick, immediately thought of “mustache” for the casting of Miles Teller as Bradley Bradshaw. In an interview granted to the Vulture sitehe declares that he showed Tom Cruise a photo of the young actor “photoshoped” by him with the addition of a mustache, thus making it possible to make son Bradshaw look like his late dad “Goose”.

“I had just worked with this boy on the movie Line of Fire, I knew he was really good”concludes Kosinski. “We made him go through the casting and he landed the role on his own.” An audition to the hair, in every sense of the word.

Top Gun Maverick: looking for Tom Cruise on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle

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