‘Jeopardy!’ Features Navy Vet Who Was Like ‘Goose in Top Gun’

by Leanne Stahulak

One of this week’s “Jeopardy!” contestants is also a retired Navy veteran, whose job was similar to that of Goose in “Top Gun.”

Josette Fedor Curtis earned second place on the game show when reigning champion Amy Schneider secured her 20th consecutive win. Apparently, Curtis watched a lot of “Jeopardy!” with her parents growing up, as well as in college, in the Navy, and with her husband, Jack Curtis.

After the episode aired this week, Curtis sat down with local Northern Pennsylvania news outlet the Times Leader to talk about her history with the Navy and time on the show.

“Jack was a pilot and I was a Naval Flight Officer — a fancy term for co-pilot and weapons system officer,” Josette said. “Think Goose in Top Gun. We both started off flying the EA-6B Prowler, which the Navy retired in 2015.”

She continued, “I was done flying by then, and I was in the Navy Reserve, and back in school to become a registered dietitian. My husband transitioned to the EA-18G Growler in 2011 and that’s what he spent his last nine years flying. He retired in October 2020 and I retired in June 2021.”

It sounds like both the “Jeopardy!” contestant and her husband have an incredible legacy with the U.S. Navy. Not to mention an awesome “Top Gun” reference. But Curtis also opened up about her time in Los Angeles on the “Jeopardy!” stage.

Navy Vet Josette Curtis Talks Time on ‘Jeopardy!’

“Jeopardy!” contestant and Navy veteran Josette Curtis told the Times Leader earlier this week that she took the online test at least 10 times. Then, this past spring, she made it to the “tryouts” round before filming her episode this past October.

“It was wonderful — a lifelong dream,” Curtis said. “I grew up watching with my parents, then when I got married it became a staple for my husband and me and our son.”

Like many other “Jeopardy!” contestants, Curtis immediately praised the cast and crew of the game show.

“The entire crew down there is wonderful — they know how long most of us try to get on the show, so they made it as fun and not nerve-wracking as they could,” she said.

Curtis’s taping was likely even more nerve-wracking considering she was competing against a record-breaking 20-day champion. At the time, though, Curtis didn’t know that Amy Schneider would become a historic champion.

“In fact, the show where I competed against her ended up being her 20th victory,” Curtis said. “So, it’ll be great to look back and say I was able to go up against one of the GOATs of ‘Jeopardy!’”

Schneider is a “Greatest of All Time” and a great person in general, according to Curtis. All the contestants seemed to get along swimmingly, despite the tough competition.

“Even though we were obviously there to compete, we also recognized each others’ intelligence and mutual appreciation for the show,” Curtis revealed. “So by the end of each taping day, many of us were chatting like long-time friends.”

Make sure you tune in to “Jeopardy!” tonight to see if Schneider secures her 22nd consecutive win.