by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33°
Top Gun 2 the movie is set to premiere this week in theaters across the country. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched the original movie. When I was in college at Illinois State University, we had a TV and VCR in our fraternity room and always had a hard time getting over the air signals (it was in the dark ages before the internet), so one of the two movies we had in the room was Top Gun, so we watched it over and over to fill time.
The opening scene in the original movie is exciting, as the US Navy is on patrol somewhere in the Pacific with the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise at the center of the action. Soviet MiG-28 fighter jets appear and F-14A Tomcats are dispatched from the Enterprise to intercept them and defend the carrier group. Among the pilots dispatched are: Lt. Pete Mitchell, call sign “Maverick” and his radarman Lt. JG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Through some outstanding air maneuvers and superb flying, the MiGs are sent away or shot down, led by Maverick and Goose.
The Commander of the Enterprise (CDR Tom "Stinger" Jardian) has to send an F-14A crew to Miramar for Topgun School. When his preferred choice is “Cougar” and “Merlin” and unable to attend the school, Jardian is forced to send Maverick and Goose for this elite training program.
The movie is next set at Miramar, where Maverick and Goose are in competition with many other F-14A crews including Iceman, Hollywood, and others. The top flying crew of the course is considered the “Top Gun” and gets their names on a plaque at the base.
Maverick proceeds to fall in love with one of the flight instructors Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood and is doing many things to impress her, especially in the famous Kansas City BBQ, where Goose is playing the piano and he and Maverick are singing Great Balls of Fire. Maverick leaves with Charlie on his motorcycle.
The plot advances to a scene where Maverick and Goose are playing sand volleyball against Iceman and Slider, their fiercest rivals in the Top Gun competition. Maverick and Goose prevail over Iceman and Slider. Maverick, who had continually looked at his watch during the game, is out of time and has to leave. Despite Goose’s plea for one more game, Maverick has to get going. Maverick has ridden his motorcycle to the beach volleyball site and grabs his leather flight jacket which is on a set of bleachers, next to a set of motorcycle boots. He gets his gear and the next scene is Maverick speeding off on his motorcycle.
Despite how many times I have watched Top Gun, I had never noticed until now, the detail of those motorcycle boots. On the back of them is what appears to me to be a Shriner emblem with the word “El Ma” above them. I can’t see the entire word, so it is incomplete. But there is no doubt that these are Shriner boots.
I am sure there is a backstory somewhere out there as to why these boots appeared in this scene. Did they belong to a member of the movie crew who was a Shriner? If you know the story, please let us know! Comment below or leave a message on our Facebook page.
It was always said that the Top Gun movie was the best advertising for recruiting the US Navy ever had and inspired a generation of young people who became fighter pilots and other roles in the Navy.
It’s fun seeing a small Shriner/Freemason connection in this movie. I am looking forward to seeing Top Gun 2 soon. Was Maverick a Freemason and Shriner? Will the Shriner boots reappear in this new version? We will have to watch to find out.
Gregory J. Knott, 33° is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D., and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.