The Joint Forces Channel / YouTube
This is real life Top Gun style craziness, minus the beach volleyball, corny high fives and endless romantic scenes. This was pure training kicking in at just the right moment.
On January 4th, 1989, two F-14 Tomcats took off from USS John F. Kennedy on a routine patrol mission over the Gulf of Sidra near Libya. The crews were Commander Joseph B. Connelly and Commander Leo F. Enwright under the call sign Gipsy 207 and Lieutenant Hermon C. Cook III and Lieutenant Commander Steven P. Collins under the callsign Gypsy 202.
At the time, there were heightened tensions between Libya and the United States, but nothing too hostile.
The key to remember here that rules of engagement were iffy. Until the very last seconds both pilots did not know if they should engage. Nobody wants to singlehandedly start a war, especially if they were told to “engage if threatened.”
What exactly does that constitute?
Watch this 2 minute video and pay attention to the tension in these guys’ voices. It went from 0 to 100 really quick as when you have aircraft blasting past the speed of sound toward each other, time to take action becomes shorter and shorter by the second.