Watch Elite Marine Aviators Compete for Bragging Rights on Fox's 'Top Combat Pilot'

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Actor and pilot Dennis Quaid hosts "Top Combat Pilot" on Fox Nation. (Fox Nation)

You won't see Tom Cruise going head to head with a Russian helicopter or landing Navy SEALs on an embassy -- not in a "Top Gun" movie, anyway. But on Fox Nation's upcoming series "Top Combat Pilot," you can watch some of the Marine Corps' most skilled pilots go behind the sticks of Hueys, Cobras and F/A-18 Hornets at the service's Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course in Yuma, Arizona.

Actor Dennis Quaid ("The Right Stuff," "Midway") hosts this four-part, behind-the-scenes look at one of the U.S. military's most intense pilot training programs. The series follows 25 of the best combat pilots from around the Marine Corps as they are put through an increasingly tough succession of escalating maneuvers designed to produce the Corps' most elite aviation trainers.

The prize for all of them is technically the same, completing what is probably one of the Marine Corps' most difficult and most costly training programs. But Marines are competitive by nature and are always fighting to become the best of the best.

"You spend any time around the students of WTI and you realize quickly, most never speak of competition, directly," Quaid told the Daily Mail. "Marines are a unit and they operate as one and each and every student pilot is gunning to be recognized by their WTI instructors as the very best on the flight line."

"Dennis Quaid not only played a pilot in the iconic movie 'The Right Stuff,' but he is also a licensed pilot," Fox Nation president Jason Klarman said in a statement. "We couldn't think of a better person to host this series."

WTI is an advanced, graduate-level course for selected pilots and enlisted aircrew providing standardized advanced tactical training and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Alejandro Fernandez)

The first episode of "Top Combat Pilot" starts at the beginning of the seven-week training regimen, introducing viewers to the Marine Corps' current crop of elite pilots. In Episode 2, the series delivers on its promise of American Cobras taking down a Russian enemy and landing SEALs on an embassy that might be overrun at any moment. In Episode 3, exercises become increasingly larger and more complicated, and the stakes are ever higher.

The final episode shows us the course's final exercise, or FINEX, that brings the training all together. FINEX is designed to execute a simulated special operating forces raid while simultaneously supporting regimental combat team objectives and focusing on conducting all six functions of Marine aviation, according to the Marine Corps instructors. It also happens to be the student pilots' one last chance to be named the best of the best.

"Top Combat Pilot" begins streaming on Fox Nation Nov. 6, 2023.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Facebook, X or on LinkedIn.

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