Long time readers of these pages may recollect that their host’s naval career was nearly cut short, very early on. Which it had something to do with carrying live air-to-air ordnance while practicing spar-bombing with blue death, the name we used to classify inert, or practice air-to-ground ordnance. The thinking at the time being that having shot down your commanding officer during your second or third hop in the fleet might have fatal consequences to one’s career prospects.
It turns out that I needn’t have worried:
When Lt. j.g. Timothy W. Dorsey fired his fighter jet’s missile at an Air Force reconnaissance plane, nearly killing its two aviators and destroying the aircraft during a training exercise, it was hard to imagine then how his Navy career would wind up 25 years later.
The official investigation into the 1987 shoot-down said the F-14 pilot’s decision “raises substantial doubt as to his capacity for good, sound judgment.” The Navy banned him from flying its aircraft.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta this month announced to the Senate several nominations for promotion to admiral.
On the list is Navy Reserve Capt. Timothy W. Dorsey, the same man who, while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, committed what the report said was an “illogical act.”
Capt. Dorsey today is the inspector general for Navy Reserve Detachment 106 in Norfolk, Va.
His promotion to admiral has some in the aviation community shaking their heads, especially because minor discretions (sic) by flight officers over the past decades have resulted in reprimands and the ends of careers.
This is not without precedent, of course. Chester Nimitz grounded his first command on a mud bank in the Philippines and was court martialed for it, but later did quite well for himself. Although that was quite a long time ago, in Navy years. Things have changed.
Perhaps I should have shot old Biter down, and then transitioned to the IG corps. We’ve had a good recent look at their quality of work, and it can’t be all that hard to excel.