Why California Should Mourn the Loss of Topgun

The Navy's School for Elite Pilots, Once Based in San Diego, Taught Us to Deal With Technological Failure

Bring back Topgun!

By that, I do not mean Top Gun, the cliché-ridden, late-Cold War, Tom Cruise film about speed-crazy Naval fighter pilots that still defines San Diego in the public imagination. That Top Gun never really left us, and it is already on its way back with a sequel scheduled to crash-land in theaters next year.

No, what California really needs back is Topgun, the U.S. Navy’s graduate school for elite fighter pilots that inspired the movie. For nearly 30 years, Topgun thrived in San Diego—before it was moved to …

How Hawai‘i Inspired the Advance of Aviation

In the 1920s, the Contest to Cross the Ocean and Reach the Islands Was Deadly—and Transformational

Approximately 20 million airline passengers traveled through Hawaiian airports last year. That might seem like a lot of people on a couple of small Pacific islands, but Hawai‘i hardly broke …

Why Using Foreign Contractors Helps Prolong Foreign Wars

Farming Out Work to Non-U.S. Employees Fosters Corruption, Hampers Logistical Oversight, and Keeps the American Public Disengaged 

First it was sacks of rice. Then frozen chicken. Later, even a television. The goods were wrapped tightly in plastic bags and thrown in with the other trash in a …

How Long Can the Military Defend Camp Pendleton?

The Marine Base Sits at a Crossroads of an Urbanizing Southern California Starving for Open Land

The American military may be the finest fighting force in the history of the world. But how long can it defend Camp Pendleton?

Marine Base Camp Pendleton is best known as …

Why Do We Salute Volunteer Soldiers but Scorn Professional Warriors?

Since the Mexican-American War, Army Regulars Haven't Always Been Treated as Heroes

In the United States today, citizens often express their patriotism through the celebration of military service. Politicians, sports leagues, and charities ask Americans to show special reverence and gratitude to …

How a Segregated Regiment of Japanese Americans Became One of WWII’s Most Decorated

The About-Face Permitting Japanese Americans to Enlist Provoked Dissent, Anger—and the Remarkable 442nd Regiment

In January 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his War Department abruptly reversed course by allowing Japanese Americans to enlist in the U.S. Army in the fight against Germany …