A SMART CREDIBLE WARRIOR WHO SHOOTS FROM THE HIP. HE HAD ONE SOLID YEAR OF EXPERIENCE OF MAKING SOMETHING GO AS COMMANDING OFFICER OF RESERVE AIR GROUP A TRAINING UNIT
BORN AUGUST 29,1936
Father- John McCain Jr. Naval Officer son of a 4 star admiral and a future 4 star admiral himself
Mother-Roberta Wright Oil heiress called the “Auntie Mame of Navy wives”.
1954-1958 US Naval Academy
McCain’s classmates were impressed by his cramming abilities on mathematics, science, and engineering courses and thought his low grades were by inclination and not ability. His class rank was further lowered by poor grades for conduct and leadership, which reflected his sloppy appearance, rebellious attitude, and poor relations with his company officer.
McCain chose not to conform to the Academy’s rules and some of its traditions. Each year he was given over a hundred demerits – earning him membership in the “Century Club” – for offenses such as shoes not being shined, formation faults, room in disorder, and talking out of place. He hated “plebe year”, the trial by ordeal and hhazing of entering midshipmen that would eventually weed out one quarter of the class. He did not take well to those of higher rank arbitrarily wielding power over him .
1958 GRADUATED FROM U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY 895 IN A CLASS OF 899.
1958-1960 Naval aviator in training, first at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida through September 1959, and then at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas.
He began as a sub-par flier: he had limited patience for studying aviation manuals, and spent study time reading history books instead.
1960 LOST FIRST PLANE
During a practice run in Texas, his engine quit while landing, and his aircraft crashed into Corpus Christi Bay and sank to the bottom. Although momentarily knocked unconscious by the impact, he squeezed out of the cockpit and swam to the surface, escaping without major injuries.
NAVAL AVIATOR 1960-
1962 LOST SECOND PLANE His aviation skills improved, but he had another close call when he and his plane emerged intact from a collision with power lines after flying too low over Spain.
1965 LOST THIRD PLANE
A flameout in his trainer jet over Norfolk led to his ejecting safely before his plane crashed.
McCain’s first five attack missions over North Vietnam went without incident, and while still unconcerned with minor Navy regulations, McCain had garnered the reputation of a serious aviator
July 29, 1967 LOST FOURTH PLANE Explosion and fire 167 sailors killed, 20 planes lost, Forrestal almost sunk.
Possible that McCain acted heroically but some question of McCain doing a “wet start” causing the iincident. McCain quickly was transfered to USS Oriskany.
USS Oriskany September 30, 1967
He volunteered to fly the squadron’s most dangerous missions right away, rather than work his way up to them.
After a grand total of 20 hours in combat and 23 combat missions he was shot down.
On October 26, 1967, McCain was flying his twenty-third mission, part of a twenty-plane attack against the Yen Phu thermal power plant in central Hanoithat previously had almost always been off-limits to U.S. raids due to the possibility of collateral damage. As he neared the target, warning systems in McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk alerted him that he was being tracked by enemy fire-control radar. He held his dive until he released his bombs at about 3,500 feet (1,000 meters) (he was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this day). As he started to pull up, the Skyhawk’s wing was blown off by a Soviet-made SA-2 anti-aircraft missile fired by the North Vietnamese Air Defense Command’s 61st Battalion.
McCain reached Hoa Lo (aka Hanoi Hilton) in as bad a physical condition as any prisoner during the war. His captors refused to give him medical care unless he gave them military information; they beat and interrogated him, but McCain only offered his name, rank, serial number, and date of birth (the only information he was required to provide under the Geneva Conventions). Soon thinking he was near death, McCain said he would give them more information if taken to the hospital, hoping he could then put his interrogators off once he was treated. A prison doctor came and said it was too late, as McCain was about to die anyway. Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral did they give him medical care, calling him “the crown prince”. Two days after McCain’s plane went down, that event and his status as a POW made the front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. Interrogation and beatings resumed in the hospital; McCain gave the North Vietnamese his ship’s name, squadron’s name, and the attack’s intended target.
(APPARENTLY McCAIN HAS BLOCKED ACCESS TO NORTH VIETNAMESE RECORDS SO MUCH OF WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HIS INTERNMENT IS HIS UNCONFIRMED TESTIMONY. THERE IS EQUALLY UNCONFIRMED TESTIMONY THAT McCAIN GAVE INFORMATION THAT RESULTED IN US AVIATORS BEING SHOT DOWN AND THAT McAIN WAS PROVIDED WITH PROSTITUTES.)
March 14, 1973 McCain released from captivity
Psychological tests, given to all the returning POWs, showed that McCain had “adjusted exceptionally well to repatriation” and had “an ambitious, striving, successful pattern of adjustment”.
Unlike many veterans, McCain did not experience flashbacks or nightmares of his Vietnam experience.
August 1974, he was assigned to the Replacement Air Group VA-174 “Hellrazors”.
Executive officer in 1975
July 1, 1976, commanding officer. This last assignment was controversial
some senior officers resented McCain’s presence as favoritism due to his father, junior officers rallied to him and helped him qualify for A-7 carrier landings McCain removed personnel he thought ineffective and sought to improve morale and productivity by establishing an informal rapport with enlisted men. Dealing with limited post-Vietnam defense budgets and parts shortages.
Although some operational metrics declined during the period the pilot safety metrics improved to the point of having zero accidents. The squadron was awarded its first Meritorious Unit Commendation in twenty-three years, while McCain received a Meritorious Service Medal. McCain later stated that being commanding officer of VA-174 was the most rewarding assignment of his naval career.
July 1977 McCain was appointed to the Senate Liaison Office within the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs. his office became a watering hole for Congressmen and Senators who liked to unwind there at the end of the weorking day.
As a Senator he is a salty blustery maverick.