Wives of fighter pilots on what ‘Top Gun’ gets right — and wrong

·3 min read

Top Gun: Maverick” has made $1 billion at the global box office, getting high marks from critics and delighting audiences of all ages. But how accurate is the movie and its original? Four wives of fighter pilots dish the details you don’t see in the Hollywood films.

About the guests:

Tori Burgess has been a proud Navy Spouse for over 20 years. She married her high school sweetheart, whom she met in middle school band in Seattle, and started their Navy adventures in the F-14 Tomcat community in Virginia Beach, Virginia, transitioning to F-18 Super Hornets along the way. The couple has been through 11 deployments and nine moves, mostly with two kids and multiple pets. Burgess graduated from Washington State University with a degree in advertising and communications and has held several account management positions within agencies across the country. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys mentoring Navy spouses, volunteering as a Girl Scout troop leader and playing the flute.

Sara Houben is a Navy spouse currently living with her husband, an F/A-18E pilot, stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan. She grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is very proud of her midwestern heritage. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in political science and history and a minor in developmental economics. In her free time, she enjoys reading about history — specifically U.S. military history — and politics and spoiling their dog, Sunny, a blue-eyed husky-dachshund mix. She currently works remotely for a commercial real estate company based in the Milwaukee area.

Kicking tires and lighting fires with Coyote from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Laura Matthews is an Air Force spouse, girl mom and social media director and managing partner for Real Housewives of Fighter Pilots, or RHFP LLC. RHFP’s mission is to support military families through humor and relatability, helping to break down barriers and cultivate a community of people who feel seen and understood. Military life presents its own share of challenges unique to those who serve and the families who support them, and RHFP aims to advocate for military families and raise awareness on issues that directly and indirectly affect the community.

Tori Zeberlein is a Navy spouse from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She graduated from James Madison University and shortly after met her now-husband, Jeff, “Tiny D,” while he was in flight school learning the F/A-18. The couple got married while he was in VFA-2 in Lemoore, California. Her husband graduated from TOPGUN in 2018 and became an instructor at Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific. In 2021 they moved to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, where Jeff is currently attached to VFA-195 as the training officer. They are about to welcome their first child in early July.

About the podcast:

The Spouse Angle is a podcast breaking down the news for military spouses and their families. Each episode features subject-matter experts and military guests who dive into current events from a military perspective — everything from new policy changes to research on family lifestyle challenges. The podcast is hosted by Natalie Gross, a freelance journalist and former Military Times reporter who grew up in a military family.

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