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John Mccain's Military Record


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#1 Mikel2

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 1941 PM

Back in 2008 I remember some ill-intentioned articles about McCain's military record, that everything he got was because of his father and grandfather, that he was a lousy and reckless pilot who rarely bothered training, that his time as  POW wasn't as heroic as we've been told... Etc.  

 

Leaving aside hyper-partisan sources from either side (who likes McCain anyway?), how much of this is true?

 


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#2 R011

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 2019 PM

Claims he was to blame for the Forrestal fire are completely false and defamatory. As for the rest, he seems to me to have been progressing with a fairly normal career with most of his aviation mishaps caused by bad luck, like being on the flight deck when someone else's rocket goes off, or enemy action.
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#3 DKTanker

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 2102 PM

Back in 2008 I remember some ill-intentioned articles about McCain's military record, that everything he got was because of his father and grandfather, that he was a lousy and reckless pilot who rarely bothered training, that his time as  POW wasn't as heroic as we've been told... Etc.  

 

Leaving aside hyper-partisan sources from either side (who likes McCain anyway?), how much of this is true?

 

Two aircraft incidents were not his fault, the Forrestal fire and losing engine power in a T-2 trainer flying between Norfolk and Philadelphia causing him to bail out.  Then there are two which were pilot error.  The first was when he crashed an AD-6 into the water during landing practice at NAS Corpus Christi.  He claimed the engine quit.  The aircraft was recovered from the water, the engine started and found to be serviceable.  It was also noted that a power setting was set too low to maintain enough power for flight. 

The second incident occurred in Spain where McCain admitted to "daredevil clowning."  What he did was fly his A-1 between two pylons and under electrical wires the consequence of which was to cut those wires and cause a blackout in that part of Spain.  He also admitted to not following proper procedures the consequence of which was he and his A-4 being shot down. There is some discrepancy about what exactly shot him down, he says SAM, other pilots said ground fire.  In either case, McCain admits to being at fault for his shoot down.  He says he ignored a SAM warning, his squadron mates said he flew too low.  Again, either way, he admits to having screwed up.


Edited by DKTanker, 14 December 2017 - 2103 PM.

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#4 RETAC21

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0423 AM

And he got an invitation to stay in NV for his troubles, out of which is no picnic.


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#5 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0442 AM

Particularly for the son of the Commander of the US Pacific fleet. I mean special case yes, but thats hardly in a positive sense.


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#6 bojan

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0802 AM

...There is some discrepancy about what exactly shot him down, he says SAM, other pilots said ground fire.  In either case, McCain admits to being at fault for his shoot down.  He says he ignored a SAM warning, his squadron mates said he flew too low.  Again, either way, he admits to having screwed up.

 

 

I have not followed case but in theory it does not have to be discrepancy, standard evasion tactic when facing SA-2 was face toward it and dive (due the fact that it, unlike later Soviet SAMs "chased" target and tried to approach from below, and if it missed correct elevation shutdown chance was drastically reduced*), which would have exposed him to low level AA that brought him down.

 

*Which was also a reason for initial high Israeli loses in 1973, that tactic is basically a suicide vs SA-6 (and SA-3 to a lesser degree), since it is guided to attack target from a front and slightly above).


Edited by bojan, 15 December 2017 - 0805 AM.

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#7 DB

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0841 AM

Having just read a summary of the Forrestal fire, McCain was damned lucky to be able to get out.
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#8 shep854

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0904 AM

 

...There is some discrepancy about what exactly shot him down, he says SAM, other pilots said ground fire.  In either case, McCain admits to being at fault for his shoot down.  He says he ignored a SAM warning, his squadron mates said he flew too low.  Again, either way, he admits to having screwed up.

 

 

I have not followed case but in theory it does not have to be discrepancy, standard evasion tactic when facing SA-2 was face toward it and dive (due the fact that it, unlike later Soviet SAMs "chased" target and tried to approach from below, and if it missed correct elevation shutdown chance was drastically reduced*), which would have exposed him to low level AA that brought him down.

 

*Which was also a reason for initial high Israeli loses in 1973, that tactic is basically a suicide vs SA-6 (and SA-3 to a lesser degree), since it is guided to attack target from a front and slightly above).

 

'Driving' the jet down into range of ground fire...With an integrated AAA environment, it was expensive, but fairly effective.


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#9 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0910 AM

I think they actually interviewed McCain for a programme on the Discovery Channel (I think it must have been Discovery Wings which must be nigh on 20 years ago) and he described being sat in his cockpit in a bombed up A4, surrounded by burning aeroplanes. It was kind of remarkable the  fairly unflappable way he described it. I guess nothing else seemed as bad after the Hanoi Hilton.

 

Has he leaned on his service? Probably yes. But name a US president or Politician that served that didnt.  George Bush was fond of telling war stories, but nobody doubted his considerable bravery as a result. Maybe it was the different wars that were the difference.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 15 December 2017 - 0914 AM.

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#10 DKTanker

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0911 AM

I have not followed case but in theory it does not have to be discrepancy, standard evasion tactic when facing SA-2 was face toward it and dive (due the fact that it, unlike later Soviet SAMs "chased" target and tried to approach from below, and if it missed correct elevation shutdown chance was drastically reduced*), which would have exposed him to low level AA that brought him down.
 
*Which was also a reason for initial high Israeli loses in 1973, that tactic is basically a suicide vs SA-6 (and SA-3 to a lesser degree), since it is guided to attack target from a front and slightly above).

Contemporaries said the procedure upon hearing a SAM warning was to do a Split S, and then regroup for another try at the target.  McCain writes that he heard the SAM warning but since he had the target in sight he continued to fly his attack profile stating he didn't think he would have the nerve to fly a second attack.  He then says that a SAM took off his wing as he passed through 3500 feet.


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#11 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0915 AM

Was it a Sam 3? That sounds awful low for it to be a Sam 2.


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#12 RETAC21

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0918 AM

SAM-2s only in Vietanam, but they were able to take down aircraft below their enevlope as the Vietnamese were very adept at improving the thing.


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#13 DKTanker

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0925 AM

Has he leaned on his service? Probably yes. But name a US president that served that didnt.  George Bush was fond of telling war stories, but nobody doubted his considerable bravery as a result. Maybe it was the different wars that were the difference.

It runs the gamut through the history of US presidential politics.  George Washington of course, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and of course Eisenhower all used their time military service as a springboard to the presidency.  Although, with regards to Washington, he was already on the 10 meter board...but I digress.  Flash forward to the 2nd half of the 20th century and you have George McGovern who, though he piloted a B-24 on 35 missions over Europe, never once mentioned it, nor allowed his campaign to mention it.  Obviously he wasn't elected but one can speculate what might have been had his service been exploited.  On the other hand Admiral Stockdale, vice presidential nominee on the Perot ticket, was a dyed in the wool Vietnam POW hero and received the Medal of Honors for his troubles, which were considerable.  That ticket, along with George H. Bush, lost to a proud draft dodger.  Both Al Gore and John Kerry also failed to parlay their VN war service into a presidential victory.


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#14 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 0935 AM

SAM-2s only in Vietanam, but they were able to take down aircraft below their enevlope as the Vietnamese were very adept at improving the thing.

 

Thanks for that, I do vaguely recall reading something about the Vietnamese tweaking their equipment for low altitude engagements. Or maybe that was the Egyptians.

 

 

 

Has he leaned on his service? Probably yes. But name a US president that served that didnt.  George Bush was fond of telling war stories, but nobody doubted his considerable bravery as a result. Maybe it was the different wars that were the difference.

It runs the gamut through the history of US presidential politics.  George Washington of course, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and of course Eisenhower all used their time military service as a springboard to the presidency.  Although, with regards to Washington, he was already on the 10 meter board...but I digress.  Flash forward to the 2nd half of the 20th century and you have George McGovern who, though he piloted a B-24 on 35 missions over Europe, never once mentioned it, nor allowed his campaign to mention it.  Obviously he wasn't elected but one can speculate what might have been had his service been exploited.  On the other hand Admiral Stockdale, vice presidential nominee on the Perot ticket, was a dyed in the wool Vietnam POW hero and received the Medal of Honors for his troubles, which were considerable.  That ticket, along with George H. Bush, lost to a proud draft dodger.  Both Al Gore and John Kerry also failed to parlay their VN war service into a presidential victory.

 

Its funny, I was about to mention McGovern. In fairness, he did name his campaign plane after his B24 (though the original, Dakota Queen, seemed to be named for his wife so no reason he shouldnt) and had an associated name for the press plane (where if Hunter S Thompson is to be believed, all the journalists were getting royally stoned on). But there was no other mention of his war record through his campaign that ive read of.  And considering Vietnam was a central issue at the time, he could perhaps have been forgiven for bringing it up.

 

Just noticed that on his wiki page, a nice tribute.

https://upload.wikim...akota_Queen.jpg


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#15 toysoldier

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1027 AM

AFAIK that's how the DAAFAR, the air defense, is supposed to work in Cuba. They train the Shilka crews to wait for the enemy planes to drop, and kaaabam!
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#16 NickM

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1632 PM

That's what I recall from early material from the Yom Kippur War: The Egyptian & Syrian SAMs made the strike fighters break for the deck into the teeth of the buzzsaw created by those infamous ZU/ZSU 23mm x 4 AA cannons.


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#17 Jeff

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1730 PM

 

Has he leaned on his service? Probably yes. But name a US president that served that didnt.  George Bush was fond of telling war stories, but nobody doubted his considerable bravery as a result. Maybe it was the different wars that were the difference.

It runs the gamut through the history of US presidential politics.  George Washington of course, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and of course Eisenhower all used their time military service as a springboard to the presidency.  Although, with regards to Washington, he was already on the 10 meter board...but I digress.  Flash forward to the 2nd half of the 20th century and you have George McGovern who, though he piloted a B-24 on 35 missions over Europe, never once mentioned it, nor allowed his campaign to mention it.  Obviously he wasn't elected but one can speculate what might have been had his service been exploited.  On the other hand Admiral Stockdale, vice presidential nominee on the Perot ticket, was a dyed in the wool Vietnam POW hero and received the Medal of Honors for his troubles, which were considerable.  That ticket, along with George H. Bush, lost to a proud draft dodger.  Both Al Gore and John Kerry also failed to parlay their VN war service into a presidential victory.

 

John Kerry served in VN? I'm surprised he never mentioned that.


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#18 Mr King

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1730 PM

Folks like John McCain, John Murtha, Charles Rangel, John Kerry, Al Gore, Duke Cunningham, ect. taught me that prior military service means fuck all when it comes to a politicians integrity. A politician, is a politician. 


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#19 Calvinb1nav

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1736 PM

Folks like John McCain, John Murtha, Charles Rangel, John Kerry, Al Gore, Duke Cunningham, ect. taught me that prior military service means fuck all when it comes to a politicians integrity. A politician, is a politician. 

And that Washington DC is corrosive in the extreme. 


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#20 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 1753 PM

Eh, I don’t think there’s anything about having served in the military per se that makes you superior or anything.  I’m still more inclined to give more credence to political candidates who’ve served in the military because it’s not something you do if you want to make money, it’s something you do if you want to serve your country and/or see some weird sh*t, which I see as a positive. Also this mofo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Inouye


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