Hangman is an elite TOPGUN graduate selected to return and train as a candidate for a secret mission to destroy a Rogue Nation's uranium enrichment facility before it becomes operational.
The day before mission training starts, Hangman gathers with other candidates at a Penny Benjamin's bar. He teases other mission candidates such as LT Natasha "Phoenix" Trace and LT Robert "Bob" Floyd before eventually moving on to CAPT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell when he notices Maverick sitting at the bar. He teases with Maverick, calling him "Pops", before eventually joining in to toss Maverick out of the bar when Maverick's credit card declines and doesn't have enough cash to pay for everyone's drinks. As a parting gesture, Hangman asks Maverick to return to the bar another time to repeat this event as it was fun. During his entire encounter with Maverick at Penny's bar, Hangman is unaware that Maverick is his new instructor. This causes Hangman, and the rest of the mission candidates, a great deal of embarrassment the next day during orientation.
During basic fighter maneuver (BFM) training, Hangman was challenged against Maverick to see who could shoot the other down first. Hangman was shot down by Maverick, and as a result, was forced to do two hundred pushups together with Phoenix and Bob (the agreed upon amount set by LT Reuben "Payback" Fitch); the fulfillment of this lost bet was overseen by WO-1 Bernie "Hondo" Coleman, who stood-in as an impromptu drill instructor.
Hangman becomes interested in the mysterious tense relationship between Maverick and LT Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. Eventually, Hangman by happenstance comes across an old TOPGUN class photo hanging on a wall; of which he noticed that it included Maverick. As he further studies the photo, he smiles as he has now finally figured out that Rooster is the son of Maverick's late best friend and RIO LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.
As the aviators continue to train for the mission, more friction develops between Hangman and Rooster; Rooster resents Hangman's cavalier attitude towards his wingmen, while Hangman criticizes Rooster's caution. This tension comes to a boil during a training debrief. Hangman points out that Maverick knows Rooster better than everyone else here, and how Maverick seems to act protectively towards Rooster rather than honestly criticize Rooster's performance.
At the end of the training period, Hangman was not one of the candidates selected to partake in the operation by Maverick. he was disappointed, but encourages Rooster to complete the mission with Maverick, During the mission, he remained on the carrier at standby alert. He is eventually launched to aid Maverick and Rooster, who are being attacked by an enemy Su-57. He successfully shoots down the hostile aircraft, saving their lives. Maverick admired his doing. Back on the carrier, Hangman and Rooster start to see eye-to-eye and shake hands, acknowledging each others' abilities. They celebrate with other mission group members and deck crew.
In order of precedence:
|Air Medal - One 5⁄16 inch bronze Strike/Flight Numeral device denotes amount of Strike/Flight awards.||Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal - One 5⁄16 inch gold star device and one 1⁄4 inch bronze Combat "V" device denotes two awards, of which at least one was for valor.||Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal - Two 5⁄16 inch gold star devices denote third award.|
|Navy Unit Commendation||National Defense Service Medal||Afghanistan Campaign Medal - One 3⁄16 inch bronze campaign star device denotes one of six phases.|
|Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal||Global War on Terrorism Service Medal||Sea Service Deployment Ribbon - Two 3⁄16 inch bronze star devices denote third award.|
- Prior to the special mission, Hangman was assigned/attached to strike fighter squadron VFA-151 Vigilantes.
- Hangman is to Rooster what LT Tom "Iceman" Kazansky was to Maverick in Top Gun.
- Hangman teases Maverick at the bar like how Maverick flirts with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood in Top Gun.
- Hangman is particularly full of himself and has extreme confidence- sure that he will be picked for the mission. He clashes with Rooster, Phoenix, Bob, and some of the other candidates. When he was not one of the candidates selected, he shows a professional side and how he cares deeply for them to complete the mission.
- Hangman is the only standby alert F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to be activated during the mission.
- At the start of "Top Gun: Maverick", Hangman is the only current generation aviator to have a confirmed air combat kill since Maverick's three kills in Top Gun. At the end of Top Gun: Maverick, he now has a total of two confirmed air combat kills, with Maverick now totaling at five; making Maverick an "Ace".