I just watched a little of ‘Top Gun’ starring Tom Cruise on AMC. Back when Betty and I first saw the movie at the theater, I saw something that I knew wasn’t right.
According to the story, Cruise’s character, Pete Mitchell, flies the way he does to live down the story of his father’s death.
His father, Duke Mitchell, was shot down in 1963 flying an F-4 Phantom off the USS ORISKANY during the early Vietnam War. The official report was it was Mitchell’s fault and his son Pete, now at Top Gun training, is trying to live that down. He learns later, his father actually died heroically.
The problem is that in the movie, Cruise’s character wears his father’s bomber jacket.
When I saw the movie and the jacket, I turned to Betty and said, “That’s a STANDLEY patch.” If you look close, the large, red and gold patch on his left chest with the missile trident is the patch for my ship while I was in the Navy, USS WILLIAM H. STANDLEY (DLG-32).
Normally, the patches on a jacket like this would reflect the assignments the wearer, Duke Michell, would have had during his Naval career.
The problem is his father died in 1963 and the STANDLEY wasn’t commissioned until July 9, 1966. There’s no way he could have had any connection with the STANDLEY prior to his death.
Plus, just above the STANDLEY patch is a SEABEES patch. It’s highly unlikely a trained Naval fighter pilot would have been assigned to the SEABEES which stands for Construction Battalion.
I suspect some producer’s gopher was told to go to a local Army/Navy store and buy some interesting looking patches.
The red and gold colors, plus the missile trident probably jumped out at him or her and that’s why it got the prominent position on the jacket.