While clearly able to enjoy himself and have a good time, Goose was clearly more level headed than his partner Maverick, which is shown through his family and slightly more serious personality. He's a skilled RIO and married to Carole, a fiery young woman with whom he has a son, Bradley.
In the opening scenes, Goose and Maverick go face-to-face with the pilot of a MiG-28 that acquires a missile lock on their wingman, LT Bill "Cougar" Cortell. After receiving orders to 'not fire until fired upon', Maverick puts the plane into and inverted dive, placing their F-14 upside down directly above the MiG-28. He even snaps a shot of the pilot with his camera after Maverick gives him the finger. When Cougar loses his edge during the operation, CDR Tom "Stinger" Jardian takes them both into his office and relays the news that they'll be going to TOPGUN, the most prestigious Naval Aviation school in the country, of which only the top 1% of Naval Aviators attend.
On a hop, or operation, 2 weeks from graduation date, Maverick & Goose along with LT Tom "Iceman" Kazansky and LTJG Ron "Slider" Kerner attempt to engage the A-4 MiG aggressors. Iceman and Slider cut the partners off, wanting the 'kill' to score points for themselves. When Iceman realizes there's no possible way to acquire a lock on the targets he pulls up, leaving Maverick and Goose to fly straight through his jet wash, causing one then both engines to stall in their F-14 and the jet goes into a flat spin that is unrecoverable. As their altitude drops rapidly, Maverick and Goose are pinned to the side of the cockpit by the centrifugal forces. Maverick is pinned too far forward to reach his ejection handle, which is located above the seat back, and orders Goose to pull his. Goose struggles to reach it, but finally manages to pull it and both men are ejected from the jet. However, because the F-14 is still in a spin, the canopy is not blown far enough away from the plane and Goose's ejection seat fires him head first into the ejected canopy, breaking his neck and killing him instantly. His parachute managed to activate and he gently landed in the ocean below, where Maverick pulled his body into a life-raft.
Maverick blamed himself for Goose's death even though an investigation found Maverick not at fault, with Goose's death attributed to an unforeseen mechanical error. When Maverick gave Goose's personal belongings to his wife Carole, she revealed that "He loved flying with" him and that even though he would have hated it, "he would have flown anyway, without" Maverick.
Maverick kept Goose's Dog tags with him and when he found himself losing the edge in his first engagement after graduation, he held them and Goose's memory gave him the courage to reengage the enemy. After shooting down four enemy MiGs, Maverick threw the dog tags into the ocean after he realized that Goose will never leave his side in spirit.
In order of precedence:
|Presidential Unit Citation||Meritorious Unit Commendation||Navy "E" Ribbon - One 3⁄16 inch silver letter "E" device denotes first award.|
|Navy Expeditionary Medal||Humanitarian Service Medal||Sea Service Deployment Ribbon|
- His signature saying, 'Great Balls of Fire', originated from the 1950s song by Jerry Lee Lewis, that he plays on the piano in the middle of the movie.
- This character is based very heavily on the real life person, Luis Claudio Jaramillo. He was also a RIO at TOPGUN and flew a decade or so before Top Gun was "set". He died in similar circumstances to how Goose does in Top Gun when he had to eject from his plane after an engine fault. His pilot, Lt. Daniel "Ace" Oxley was investigated for the incident but ultimately found not guilty.