Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Nick "Goose" Bradshaw was a Naval Flight Officer and Maverick's R.I.O., or Radar Intercept Officer. 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 R.I.O. and married to Carole, a fiery young woman with whom he has a son, Bradley.
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.
In the opening scenes of the film, Goose and Maverick go face to face with a Russian pilot of the MiG-28 that acquires a missile lock on their wingman, Cougar. 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, Stinger takes them both into his office and relays the news that they'll be going to TOP GUN, 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 Iceman and Slider 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 both engines to stall in their F-14 and the plane goes into a flat spin that was unrecoverable. As their elevation dropped rapidly, Goose managed to pull the ejection lever and both men were ejected from the plane. However, Goose hit the ejected Canopy upon ejection and it broke his neck instantly. His parachute managed to activate and he gently landed in the ocean below, where Maverick pulled his body into the life-raft. Maverick blamed himself for Gooses' death, and when he gave Goose's personal belongings to his wife Carol, 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, battle Maverick threw the dog tags into the ocean after he realized that Goose will never leave his side in spirit.
This character is based very heavily on the real life person, Luis Claudio Jaramillo. He was also a RIO at Top Gun 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.