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Before Topgun Days
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About the Author

Dave "Bio" Baranek enjoyed a successful and satisfying twenty-year career in the United States Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and the elite Topgun training program, and followed later by assignments to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US 7th Fleet. Baranek retired from the Navy in 1999 and now works as a defense contractor in the Washington, DC area. He lives in Burke, Virginia.

Reviews

"Many may dream of one day wearing Navy Wings of Gold, but few truly appreciate what is required to earn those wings and move from the street to the Fleet. In this book, "Bio" shows how he climbed from college student to experienced naval flight officer. Aircraft have changed, but that process continues on. Here's a great read for any aviation enthusiast, and especially for anyone considering a career in Naval Aviation." Vice Admiral "Streak" Chanik, USN (Ret.), former F-14 pilot and Topgun instructor

"I couldn't put Dave Baranek's book down he put me right in the cockpit of his aircraft and made me feel like I was a Navy RIO running intercepts on bad guys. Dave wanted to be a pilot; so did I, but our eyesight wasn't quite good enough, so we both chose to become backseaters. It doesn't matter where you sit in a fighter or bomber or reconnaissance plane it's all about flying; military flying; taking planes to the edge of the envelope. It's about tough training and besting the bad guys if and when you meet up with them. In Before Topgun Days Dave takes you from the day he reports to NAS Pensacola as an utter novice until he straps on an F-14 Tomcat and flies with a carrier at sea. What I liked best about the book is being part of his demanding training day by day, event by event. I love the book. This is an aviator's book for anyone who loves to reach for the sky." Wolfgang W Samuel, Colonel, USAF (Ret.), author of German Boy and In Defense of Freedom

"Baranek describes a relatively little-known area of Navy flight training, that of the F-14 radar intercept officer or RIO, the guy-in-the-back, as skilled as his pilot up front but not as familiar to the average reader of modern aviation literature. Only someone who has actually experienced the demanding instruction required to earn this unique position in a flight crew, followed by the months of deployments in the fleet in a combat-ready F-14 squadron, could hope to tell this story in such deeply personal detail. As one who tried but failed, I found myself filling in many of the blanks as I read this lively adventure story. Great job, Bio!" Peter Mersky, author of Whitey, F-8 vs. MiG-17, and US Marine Corps Aviation since 1912
"Many may dream of one day wearing Navy Wings of Gold, but few truly appreciate what is required to earn those wings and move from the street to the Fleet. In this book, "Bio" shows how he climbed from college student to experienced naval flight officer. Aircraft have changed, but that process continues on. Here's a great read for any aviation enthusiast, and especially for anyone considering a career in Naval Aviation." Vice Admiral "Streak" Chanik, USN (Ret.), former F-14 pilot and Topgun instructor

"I couldn't put Dave Baranek's book down he put me right in the cockpit of his aircraft and made me feel like I was a Navy RIO running intercepts on bad guys. Dave wanted to be a pilot; so did I, but our eyesight wasn't quite good enough, so we both chose to become backseaters. It doesn't matter where you sit in a fighter or bomber or reconnaissance plane it's all about flying; military flying; taking planes to the edge of the envelope. It's about tough training and besting the bad guys if and when you meet up with them. In Before Topgun Days Dave takes you from the day he reports to NAS Pensacola as an utter novice until he straps on an F-14 Tomcat and flies with a carrier at sea. What I liked best about the book is being part of his demanding training day by day, event by event. I love the book. This is an aviator's book for anyone who loves to reach for the sky." Wolfgang W Samuel, Colonel, USAF (Ret.), author of German Boy and In Defense of Freedom

"Baranek describes a relatively little-known area of Navy flight training, that of the F-14 radar intercept officer or RIO, the guy-in-the-back, as skilled as his pilot up front but not as familiar to the average reader of modern aviation literature. Only someone who has actually experienced the demanding instruction required to earn this unique position in a flight crew, followed by the months of deployments in the fleet in a combat-ready F-14 squadron, could hope to tell this story in such deeply personal detail. As one who tried but failed, I found myself filling in many of the blanks as I read this lively adventure story. Great job, Bio!" Peter Mersky, author of Whitey, F-8 vs. MiG-17, and US Marine Corps Aviation since 1912

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