Father of TOPGUN Honored

Story Number: NNS090829-04Release Date: 8/29/2009 3:21:00 PM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chris Shimana, Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center Public Affairs

FALLON, Nev. (NNS) -- The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) officially dedicated the Ault auditorium during a ceremony held in the Fleet Training building on board Naval Air Station Fallon.

The auditorium was named in honor the man responsible for the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) program, commonly known as TOPGUN. The dedication was attended by more than 100 guests including members of the Ault family and two of TOPGUN's founding instructors.

The 1,677 square-foot Ault Auditorium bears the name of Capt. Frank "Whip" Ault in honor of his significant contributions in improving military air-to-air combat performance during the early years of the Vietnam War. In 1967, the chief of naval operations selected Ault to conduct an air weapons study. Ault's experience as an aircraft carrier commanding officer on board USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), naval aviator and weapons specialist led the "Ault Report" in 1968.

The Ault Report was a sweeping review of fighter system performance covering logistics, training and operations and is credited with raising the air combat kill ratio from 2.1 to more than 12.1. As a result, the Navy established a graduate level school designed to train fleet fighter pilots in combat tactics and commissioned TOPGUN as a command in 1972.

"The Ault Report took the whole training continuum, the hardware, the training piece and what we needed to do to get better and be successful in combat" said Rear Adm. Emerson "that report is alive and well and is required reading for TOPGUN instructors, his memory will never go away because of that."

"The Ault Auditorium will be used for tactical instruction at TOPGUN, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons and the Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor Weapons schools at NSWAC. Each school teaches the instructors that teach the fleet tactics." said TOPGUN Commander Cmdr. Dan "Undra" Cheever. "The legacy of Capt. Ault is captured by naming a tactical training auditorium after him."

In addition to supporting tactical instruction, the Ault auditorium serves as venue to support communication.

"It will introduce civilians and military alike to TOPGUN and what goes on at NSAWC." said Cheever. "Every year we conduct a re-blue which is a conference of tactical aviators where the truth of the weapons systems and tactics is discussed. There is no more fitting place to have Capt. Ault's name than a place where tactical excellence and the truth prevail. "

Retired Cmdr. Jon "Litnin" Ault was accompanied by his brothers Jon, Jerry and his granddaughter Caroline.

"My dad was involved in many pioneering and groundbreaking aspects of the United States Navy" said Jon. "He was a bomb commander of the Navy's1st nuclear delivery squadron after World War II, he wrote the Navy's 1st space program in 1957, which one of the results you see daily is it gave us GPS, but he was never prouder of anything he did in the Navy than the establishment of TOPGUN and the results that it achieved."

"To this day we study his lessons learned to make sure that we are continuing to ask the hard questions and identify areas that need attention," said Cheever. "Ault's contributions in air-to-air combat will always be relevant."

NSAWC is the consolidation of Naval Strike Warfare Center (Strike "U"), TOPGUN and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (TOPDOME) into a single command. The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center is the center of excellence for naval training and tactics development and provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the United States Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes and direct operational and intelligence support.

For more news from Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsawc/.

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