This story has gotten some publicity elsewhere. But I haven’t seen an update on TAH since Jonn’s original article, so I thought I’d do one.
Apparently a key Senate committee recently refused to recommend approval for one Navy Reserve Captain recommended for promotion to RDML. The guy they’re”blackballing” is a former naval aviator – with a confirmed air-to-air kill! The nomination was returned to the White House without action, effectively killing it unless the POTUS chooses to nominate the individual a second time.
Personally, I’m OK with that. The air-to-air kill occurred in September 1987, during a training exercise. And the jet he downed – a RF-4C – happened to belong to the USAF.
As Jonn noted in his earlier article, the individual concerned is CAPT Timothy Dorsey, USNR. A little background is perhaps in order.
In September 1987, during a training exercise in the Med, Dorsey (then a LTJG and an inexperienced pilot) apparently deliberately shot down a USAF RF-4C. He seems to have “forgotten” there was a USAF aircraft in the area at the time, and interpreted his exercise clearance to fire as the “real thing”.
A contemporary description of the incident can be found here, while a more recent account – including quotations from the official Navy investigation of the incident – can be found here. The quotations from the ROI in the second article are IMO particularly damning.
After being pitched from Naval Aviation, Dorsey went into the Naval Reserve and changed career fields to Intelligence. Dorsey was nominated last year to a RADM Intel billet in the Naval Reserve. Reputedly the Navy knew of the derogatory info in his background at the time, but for some reason didn’t share that derogatory info with the SECDEF – who then recommended Dorsey’s nomination to the POTUS.
Dorsey reportedly never acknowledged his responsibility for the shoot-down. According a retired naval aviator with apparent knowledge of both the incident and Dorsey: “I would never have guessed (referring to Dorsey) he’d ever make it to commander, much less admiral. 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.”
In other words: “I was just following orders.” Just exactly the kind of guy or gal you want serving as a GO/FO, eh?
Why didn’t Dorsey’s career end after the 1987 incident? Well, it seems his dad was a Naval Aviator, a former CO of the USS America and a RADM at the time of the incident; he later made VADM. So I’m guessing a little familial “top cover” may have had something to do with that. Ditto that little matter of “forgetting” to inform the SECDEF of the derogatory info in Dorsey’s background last year. My guess is that also just might have been another favor to Dorsey (or Doresy’s dad) courtesy of an old friend at DON.
But I could be wrong. Maybe that was just a routine, garden-variety screw-up someone made while reviewing his files. Maybe they just missed the incident entirely when they reviewed his records prior to the RADM promotion board.
For once, it looks like Congress did the right thing. We talk bad about Congress all the time when they screw up. Here, I think it’s time to give credit where credit is due.
Thanks, Senators. Thanks.