WASHINGTON (AP) — When "Top Gun: Maverick" roared into theaters in late May, the Air Force was ready.

The smash hit movie may feature Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a hotshot Navy aviator, but to much of the movie-going public, the distinction between Air Force and Navy fighter jets is lost. So Air Force recruiters struggling to meet their enlistment goals took boxes of free mugs and lanyards, and fanned out to movie theaters for the premiere, determined to capitalize on the jet-fueled excitement surrounding the film.

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