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Admiral Pete "Viper" Pettigrew on killing MiGs, filming Top Gun

A chat with Viper about his exploits in the F-4 Phantom.

This episode is also available as a podcast! Link here for Spotify.

Rear Admiral Pete Pettigrew, callsign "Viper," served in the US Navy from 1964 to 1998, completing 325 combat missions and 529 carrier landings along the way. In one of his bios he says “I am the only former Top Gun instructor with a confirmed kill”—a MiG-21 over Vietnam on May 6, 1972. He’s also highly decorated, having received the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three air medals, and 30 strike flight air medals for his service. Pete was technical advisor on the first Top Gun movie and designed a number of the flying scenes, including the whole scenario leading to Goose’s death.

Today, Dad and I chatted with him about his wild career and I sat back while they compared notes about the F-4 and life as fighter pilots.