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John Sydney McCain III

Essay by   •  November 22, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,739 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,616 Views

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John Sydney McCain III was born August 29, 1936 in a military hospital at Coco Solo NAS in the Panama Canal Zone, Panama. His father, John McCain, Jr. was a naval officer stationed at the Canal, doing duties at a small submarine facility. At the same base and time, his grandfather was the base commander.

"Jack McCain was transferred to New London a few months later, but for that brief period Panama became the epicenter of three generations of a family whose distinguished naval service would eventually span the great national upheavals of the twentieth century, from World War I through Vietnam and its still murky aftermath"(Timberg, 1999, p. 4).

They stayed there for about 10 years, until his father got word he was again going to be stationed, to the west coast. His mother, Roberta, let little Johnny along with his brother and sister finish out their school term at Saint Stephen's, but then piled them in the family car to take a migration trip to the west coast as many military families did. In his childhood, he was known as a rebellious kid (Timberg, 1999).

Little McCain might have gotten his toughness, revolting manner from his father and grandfather. John McCain I was a hard-nosed man, a man born to be in the military. When he was a young boy, he would nonchalantly talk about the Navy, but knowing more about it then anyone else his age. Though he wasn't good in the classroom he was unmatched when it came to knowledge on Navy aviation and tactics for employing attack carriers. He was an honored Vice Admiral, who was on the USS Missouri the day Japan surrendered. He died four days later, and was reported on the New York Times front page. Then came John McCain II. McCain II had an awful high standard to live up to brought by his father. He had thoughts of going to Princeton to study history and literature, but that was a pipe dream. He always knew he would be going to Annapolis, to become what his father was, and to keep a family military tradition. At Annapolis, McCain II viewed rules and regulations stupid and most importantly made to be broken. However, he graduated and worked his way up to rank as an Admiral for the Navy. Then came John McCain the III, which life and experiences will be written about in the remaining of this biography (Timberg, 1999).

John McCain III graduated in 1954 from Episcopal High School, a boys' boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia. He was rebellious by nature, just like his father and grandfather in their early years of schooling. In addition, as the reader might guess, he went on to the Baus Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Flying jets off an aircraft carrier always sounded fun to him. He thought he would hate it, but after a while, he recognized he had no choice. It was a family tradition, Annapolis, and he took it as a commitment. Through many tough times in the academy, McCain finally graduated, and was ranked 894th of 899 in 1958. He didn't care about the ranking, he just wanted to get out and fly in combat (Drew, 2002).

After the academy, McCain was set on becoming aircraft carrier pilot and was trained at Pensacola Flight School in 1958. His easygoing lifestyle didn't change in this time period. He even owned a Corvette; I had to through that in. He later went to an advanced flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was doing what he had always dreamed about, flying A-1 Skyraiders from the USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise. His attitude was changing. He was now being recognized for his admirable achievements, and was looked on as a future officer by his superiors. Going back to Pensacola to serve on the Chief of Air Base Training staff became boring after nine months and asked to get in a combat tour in Vietnam. His wishes were granted. During this time in 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp and deployed on the USS Forestal to Vietnam as a top-flight Navy Officer (Mayo, 2000).

From the moment he stepped on the USS Forestal, McCain was seen as a mature hardworking pilot. He trained very hard to become a good pilot. There was incident involving a missile that hit his plane on board the Forestal, but he survived, though 134 men died. The wounded ship found it's way to the Philippines to be repaired, and yet McCain found another opportunity to fly combat planes into Vietnam. In late 1967, Lt Commander McCain and his fellow pilots were ordered to take down a power plant in the center of Hanoi. Well, unfortunately he was shot down and taken into Vietnam custody as a POW.

The Vietnamese treated him very poorly. After they found out he was a son of a well known admiral, and he suffered a lot more agonizing treatment. They beat him, starved him, and made him stay in a solitary confinement for five plus years. "I had a lot of time to think and I came to the conclusion that one of the most important things in life - along with a man's family - is to make some contribution to his country" (McCain, 1977, p. 5). After he was released in 1973, he had broken both of his arms, his right leg, lost more than fifty pounds, and partially his mental health. He retired from the Navy in 1981 being a Captain. It was surprisingly the same day he watched his father being buried next to his grandfather in Arlington National Cemetery. During his military career, he received a Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross (Wyatt, 1977).

Politics had now entered his life. He ran for Arizona's First Congressional district and won it in 1982. After four years, McCain wanted more, and was elected Senator for Arizona. Senator McCain has been in office for 3 terms since then. He has served as Chairman for Indian Affairs, and has been apart of the Armed Services, Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees. In 1997, Senator McCain was named one of the "25 Most Influential People in America" by Time magazine.

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