Senate Shoots Down Wayward Navy Pilot’s Promotion to Admiral

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Lieutenant Timothy Dorsey was flying an F-14 Tomcat - the plane made famous in "Top Gun" - when he shot down an Air Force warplane in 1987.

It appears the Navy’s nomination of a one-time F-14 pilot who deliberately shot down a U.S. Air Force plane 25 years ago won’t make admiral, as the Navy had recommended. The peacetime downing of an Air Force F-4 over the Mediterranean Sea led to one of the most fascinating stories in Battleland’s career.

The disturbing case of Lieutenant Timothy Dorsey’s promotion came to a close with the end of the 112th Congress last week. Because the Senate Armed Services Committee had not acted on the Navy’s promotion recommendation before the 112th became history, the Navy would have to resubmit the nomination to the 113th Congress.

Fat chance that will happen. According to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times, the Navy neglected to tell Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the infamous blot on Dorsey’s career before Panetta forwarded the Navy’s recommendation that he be promoted to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Navy banned Dorsey from flying after he downed the Air Force warplane. So he became an intelligence officer and moved steadily through the reserve ranks.

Apparently, downing one of your own airplanes makes you well-suited for military intelligence work.