What they’re making flag officers these days

| February 17, 2012

Navy Reserve Capt. Timothy W. Dorsey has been nominated by the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta for Admiral. If his name sounds familiar, it might because of the incident in 1987 when he shot down fellow Navy aviators during training. The Washington Times reports;

His promotion to admiral has some in the aviation community shaking their heads, especially because minor discretions by flight officers over the past decades have resulted in reprimands and the ends of careers.

Lawyer Charles Gittins, a former Marine Corps aviator, has represented several naval officers whose careers were ended for what he considered minor misconduct.

“It is shocking that the Navy would promote an officer with this background to flag rank, particularly in an environment where the Navy relieves commanding officers of their commands at the drop of a hat for trivial or insubstantial reasons,” Mr. Gittins told The Washington Times.

With 0-6s getting relieved left and right these days, I wonder how this one slipped through the cracks. The report on the incident in which he shot down fellow pilots concluded;

“He failed to utilize the decision-making process taught in replacement training and reacted in a purely mechanical manner. The performance of Lieutenant Timothy W. Dorsey on September 22, 1987, raises substantial doubt as to his capacity for good, sound judgment.”

Sounds like he’ll fit right in with the current leadership at the Pentagon.

Thanks to Country Singer for the link.

Category: Military issues

Comments (24)

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  1. TexasFred says:

    A few years ago, when I was still a civilian *contractor*, I had a run-in with an O-6 that was a total dumb-ass…

    We had words, in front of his staff and I went off all over him…

    I closed by asking him, “You’re a Colonel, right?” He had Eagles on, I knew he was, I wanted him to say YEA I AM, and he DID..

    I looked him square in the eye and I asked him, “How in the hell did anyone as STUPID as you ever make O-6?”

    His whole staff was cracking up, I would have hated to be them later, but I was told by the Martin-Marietta Rep running the exercise that this guy was a total dumb-ass with a massive ego…

  2. Trent says:

    After reading this, words fail me.

  3. PintoNag says:

    It sounds like the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” applies here.

    It is entirely possible that politicians are pushing these type of promotions to fill the upper military slots with empty shirts who will do what they’re told, out of simple indebtedness.

    Heaven help our military, if such is the case.

  4. valerie says:

    I don’t know how well he’ll fit in at the Pentagon, but he’ll feel right at home with the White House nearby.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. just don’t get in his way, he may have a few 20 MM guns pointed in the wrong direction.

  7. NSOM says:

    I’m not even mad or upset. I’m simply confused.

    If you’re a fuck up patronage only gets you so far in the Navy, they’re probably the most meritocratic of the services. Hell, both John McCain’s father AND grandfather were wartime 4-Star admirals but the fact he was neither a good pilot nor a good CO caused even him to top out at O-6.

  8. Nucsnipe says:

    Pinto Nag: I think you meant “Its not what you know, but Who YOU BLOW”

  9. TopGoz says:

    I’m just speculating here, but maybe since the repeal of DADT this captain has revealed himself to be of the proper orientation to be the administration’s first rainbow flag officer.

  10. UpNorth says:

    “Jon Ault, a retired F-14 pilot, said Capt. Dorsey never took responsibility”.
    “I would never have guessed he’d ever make it to commander, much less admiral,” he said. “In fact, I thought his career was over back when the shoot-down happened. He refused to accept any blame for the shoot-down and swore he was just following [rules of engagement] even though he knew it was a friendly. I mean, the guy did it on purpose.”
    I was going to say that Panetta didn’t properly vette this guy, but, in thinking about it, he probably did.

  11. ANCCPT says:

    A coincidence that he’s the kid of a admiral? Methinks not.

  12. Cedo Alteram says:

    #8″Hell, both John McCain’s father AND grandfather were wartime 4-Star admirals but the fact he was neither a good pilot nor a good CO caused even him to top out at O-6.” Didn’t he lose two aircraft before he was shot down? I think part of it is that the USN, like the USAF, are technical services. That at the very least, there is a higher minimum baseline of knowledge, therefore a lot less subjectivism regarding promotion then in our ground forces.

    As a side note NSOM, I’ve made that same point in a few friendly arguments over the years. During the 08′ election there was actually a joke about it, paraphrasing, it went something like “What did the Navy know then, that the American/Arizonan public doesn’t now?”.

  13. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    How was he allowed to ship over after his first tour? If memory serves, there was a Plt Ldr in Alpha co that was kicked out after one of his crews tore the snot out of the track drive of their amtrac! Well not kicked out but he was one-n-done. Sheesh

  14. DaveO says:

    #8 NSOM:

    Patronage/matronage in the Navy will allow you to keep O-6: Capt Holly Graf – quite a read.

    This guy was smart. He switched components, where the paperwork didn’t follow. He minded his Ps and Qs, went to school, passed his fitness tests. Anybody who knew about his incident thought he was a civilian, or wasn’t going to talk.

    What concerns me are the indicators that he’s a sociopath – never claiming credit for nearly murdering 2 Americans.

  15. NHSparky says:

    Hate to admit it but the Navy is an 18th Century organization, slowly being dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th. We all know fuckups who never should have made it past O-1 or E-2, and most of them ended up as flag officers or E-9’s.

  16. NSOM says:


    Yeah, it seems he made some good moves after he left active duty. But, as I know absolutely nothing about how he did in the Intel and IG world and sympathize with the plight of people whose entire, multi-decade career is colored by one incident, I didn’t want to dump on him for being some sort of complete shitbag. I don’t really know anything about the man.

    I’m still left confused though. The Navy has more great Captains than it knows what to do with, especially today. How does someone who let an OS2 on the carrier convince him to shoot a live missile at a AF bird by saying “Red, free on your contact” during an exercise make Admiral over his even mediocre peers? The modern Naval officer corps really is a place where one significant error in judgment will bracket a career. Growing up around the Navy it was every few months some stellar, up and coming O-5/6 skipper was getting shit canned for turning out to be less than amazing. So what’s different here?

  17. Hondo says:

    Well, he still has to be confirmed by the Senate before it’s effective. There’s always the chance they’ll do the right thing here.

    Unfortunately, given it’s current makeup I’m not exactly confident that they’ll do the right thing and reject the nomination.

    Jonn, if you have contacts on any of the appropriate Senate committee’s staff, now’s probably the time to arrange for them to get them a copy of the investigative report.

  18. Hondo says:

    Gotta quit posting before finishing coffee. Last sentence above should read “to arrange for them to get a copy of the investigative report.”

  19. jonp says:

    At least he gets a well rounded meal of rice and bean sprouts courtesy of Michelle Antionette and can marry his boyfriend and shack up with him on post.

  20. bjs says:

    So that’s how to make flag officer. Too late for me now but I guess if I had shot at a few people on our side, I’d have been a three star by now!

  21. warlord says:

    aw, c’mon people…a kill’s a kill.

  22. bjs says:

    RE: With 0-6s getting relieved left and right these days, I wonder how this one slipped through the cracks.

    Having a DADDY who was a carrier commander, aviator and later assistant deputy chief of naval operations at the Pentagon and a three star doesn’t hurt