Admiral nominee once deliberately shot down friendly aircraft

An F-14 Tomcat on the deck of the USS Hornet


By Published: February 20, 2012

Capt. Timothy Dorsey is nominated for promotion to admiral despite a 1987 incident in which he intentionally fired a missile at an Air Force reconnaissance plane during a training exercise, nearly killing two aviators and destroying the aircraft, The Washington Times reported.

The official investigation into the shoot-down said the F-14 pilot’s decision “raises substantial doubt as to his capacity for good, sound judgment,” and the Navy banned him from flying its aircraft, the Times said.

Dorsey is one of several officers whose names were recently submitted for Senate confirmation by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Dorsey, who was a rookie pilot at the time, declined the Times' request for comment.

The official report of the incident, obtained by The Associated Press, found that Dorsey knew the training was a no-fire exercise and that he fired the missile deliberately when given the command to simulate a launch.

Today, the Navy routinely fires officers for less serious reasons.

Read more about the incident in The Washington Times