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Naval Officer's Promotion To Admiral Squelched By Senate Committee

As A Young Pilot, Capt. Timothy Dorsey Deliberately Shot Down An Air Force Jet

The promotion of Navy Capt. Timothy Dorsey to Admiral has been rejected by a Senate committee after its members learned that, as a young Naval Aviator, he had deliberately fired a missile at an Air Force F-4. The Air Force pilot and his backseat officer ejected and survived, but the pilot suffered back injuries that led to an early end to his flying career.

The incident occurred in September 1987. Dorsey (pictured) was a Lt. j.g. flying an F-14 Tomcat off the USS Saratoga during an exercise over the Mediterranean Sea. He reportedly deliberately fired a missile at the RF-4C. He was banned from flying for life by the Navy as a result of the action, and a Navy investigation called the decision to fire an "illogical act" that "raises substantial doubt as to his capacity for good, sound judgement."

His career did not end, however, and he went on to become a Navy Reserve intelligence officer with a law degree. He served in the war on terror, and had been selected by the Obama administration for promotion to the rank of Admiral. The Washington Times reports that the Air Force pilot Dorsey shot down, Col. Mike Ross, was "sickened" by the news that he was up for a promotion. Ross had been a lieutenant at the time of the incident, had had been on a track for general officer, the paper reports.

A Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) source told the paper that the Navy was aware of Dorsey's service record when it put his name up for promotion to Admiral, but did not inform Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who forwarded the recommendation on to the White House. Committee staffers said that the recommendation did not contain any information about the incident or its impact on Col. Ross, and that they learned about it from reading it in the paper. The committee chose not to hold a vote on the nomination, rendering it moot for the 112th session of Congress.

Capt. Dorsey reportedly finally apologized to Col. Ross while his nomination was pending before the SASC. The Navy can re-submit the nomination to the White House in the current session of Congress.



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