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At the time, his father, James Dorsey, commanded the carrier USS America. He later attained three-star rank as a vice admiral.

Capt. Dorsey reinvented himself as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer, earned a law degree, served in the war on terror and was picked for a unit command as an admiral.

Upon learning of Capt. Dorsey’s nomination to admiral, “I almost got sick,” Col. Ross told The Times last year.

His ejection caused a powerful whiplash that resulted in a degenerating spine and a premature end to a career he believed was on a path to make the rank of general.

“I’m not trying to say I flew when I was unable. I never did that,” Col. Ross said. “But it got to the point where I started getting myself in positions where I was doing more desk work than flying.”

All told, he said, he has had seven back surgeries in which surgeons have installed screws, plates and rods to keep him functional.

Fished out of the water and taken to the Saratoga, Col. Ross waited for an apology from Lt. Dorsey. It did not come until last year, when the former Air Force pilot received a note from Capt. Dorsey as his nomination was pending in the Senate Armed Services Committee.