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Litchfield native helps train Navy pilots at TOPGUN

By Lt. Bridget Mitchell
Navy Office of Community Outreach

February 28. 2018 9:53PM

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ray Triboulet, a Litchfield native, serves with the Navy at the TOPGUN training facility in Nevada. (Gary Ward)

FALLON, Nev. — In the desert of Nevada is a U.S. Navy 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.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ray Triboulet, a Litchfield native and 2002 Alvirne High School graduate, works with the Fighter Squadron Composite T13 stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon. He serves as a Navy yeoman, responsible for managing a variety of administrative functions and handling legal work for the command.

TOPGUN began 48 years ago with the determination of nine pilots. In its early years, it helped to turn the tide of a losing air war in Vietnam. It later inspired a Hollywood blockbuster.

According to Navy officials, TOPGUN is highly competitive and exposes Navy and Marine Corps pilots to demanding fighter aviation training scenarios.

Triboulet plays a crucial role in the overall mission that flies more than 5,000 adversary sorties per year as part of the pilots’ training.

“Both my grandfather and father were career officers in the Army,” said Triboulet. “I’m proud of the experiences the Navy has provided me. I’ve learned everything I know on the job. I’ve worked hard and that hard work has paid off. ... Serving in the Navy means being loyal to the country beyond political ideology. It’s about selfless service to our country.”


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