There is no doubt John McCain is a war hero, shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. However, the greater question is how did he get there? (Thumbnail Graphic by Ben Garrison)
What was He Doing in an Airplane in the First Place?
The US Navy and Marines reserves pilot slots for the best and brightest graduating from the USNA (US Naval Academy), ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps offered at many US Universities) and OCS (Officer Candidate School). The selection criteria prefer those with perfect health, especially eyesight, high academic standing, offering preference to engineering graduates, and participation in sports and community service, demonstrating teamwork and communication.
Getting that coveted pilot slot is one thing: making it through the training pipeline is quite another. One small medical issues, like catching the flu at an inopportune time, or failing to adhere to the smallest of procedures can result in “washout” or be dropped from the program and sent to the fleet. I knew several valedictorians, state athletes and prom kings, all in one, that did not get accepted and others that washed out. The Navy is always looking for a smart person who is both durable and focused for a good reason. The carrier landing is far more stressful than the combat mission itself, especially at night and at the end of the mission. While exhausted, they have to land something as long as a bus, flying at 150 miles per hour, on a “dollar bill,” pitching up and down and swaying sideways.
The pilots that I knew, while serving in the US Navy, were precise and “locked on” types with conservative family values and unyielding patriotism: nothing like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Flying was something they dreamed about since childhood and worked towards all their lives. They worked towards becoming rounded academically, athletically and socially to win over Academy, ROTC, and OCS boards.
Lineage and Character
So how the hell did John McCain even get to fly in the first place, graduating USNA class of 1958, ranked 894 out of 899 at the US Naval Academy? The next question is: how did he even gain admission in the first place? Quite simple – daddy and granddaddy: both were US Navy “Four Star” Admirals (equivalent to c-suite officers at a Fortune 50 company). His grandfather Admiral John Sidney “Slew” McCain earned his four stars commanding a U.S. carrier force in World War II. His father, Adm. “Junior” McCain, reached the same rank, commanding American forces in the Pacific during Vietnam.
Unlike Donald Trump, who carried his father’s legacy forward, maximizing his time in school and later in life, John McCain was a “brat.” Trump never drank, smoked or did drugs but McCain had a history of drunken shenanigans, once crashing through a doorway, while in uniform when he showed up to meet his girlfriend’s parents. However, John McCain was regarded untouchable at the US Naval Academy, skating through on the coattails of others and his lineage. Later in life, John McCain was called out for his chronic gambling habit and ties to the gambling industry.
Incidents and Crashes
- March 12, 1960, in Corpus Christi, flying an A-1 Skyraider: McCain claimed engine failure, but Naval Investigators found no such evidence. He was not paying attention and stalled the plane, causing it to crash into the Corpus Christi Bay.
- December 1961 in Spain flying an A-1 Skyraider: “Clowning Around” by his own admission, he took down some power lines.
- November 28, 1965, in Virginia, flying a T-2 Trainer: McCain claimed an engine flameout, ejecting from 1000+ feet, losing Christmas gifts that he purchased. Naval Investigators could not corroborate McCain’s claims about an engine explosion. They could no definitively determine the root cause.
From the LA Times: “Three mishaps are unusual,” said Michael L. Barr, a former Air Force pilot with 137 combat missions in Vietnam and an internationally known aviation safety expert who teaches in USC’s Aviation Safety and Security Program. “After the third accident, you would say: At this point, there was an obvious trend, regarding his flying skills and his judgment?” And yet he was allowed to keep flying.
- July 29, 1967USS Forrestal Zuni Missile Incident – No fault of McCain, a missile on another plane misfired and hit an A-4E Skyhawk similar to his, killing 134 sailors. McCain claimed the missile hit his plane, but Rear Admiral Massey’s statement negates his claim. Nonetheless, McCain barely escaped with his life as the fire engulfed most of the carrier deck. Despite claims, McCain was not responsible in any way for this one.
- October 26, 1967 – Shot down over Vietnam, flying an A-4E Skyhawk.
It is more than obvious he had both character and integrity issues, perhaps covered up by his lineage. When he received a pilot slot, someone who was qualified lost it. If McCain were held to the same standards as everyone else, he never would have been shot down. Flying is not his only problem.
Nevertheless, after retiring from the Navy, he became a career politician: elected to Congress 1982, serving two terms, and the Senate in 1986, hanging out there ever since.
Aversion to Math and Economics
Not only did John McCain struggle with math in school, but he also did so later in life as well. In 2008, running against Barack Obama (whom I voted for back then, seeing no choice), he admitted that economics was not his thing and then later tried to deny it.
- December 2007 in New Hampshire, McCain said, “The issue of economics is not something I have understood as well as I should.”
- January 2008 in New Hampshire, he said, “I am not an expert on Wall Street. I am not an expert on some of this stuff.”
That furthers the case that John McCain is incredibly out of touch with the American people. Moreover, he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate. In retrospect, he may have been made the GOP front-runner, ensuring Barack Obama won.
The story behind the incidents and the man clearly indicates that John McCain lacks the character, integrity, and intellect for American leadership. That is not the type of “experience” that we need in Washington. He is a classic “Neo-Con” war monger, looking out for his donors and himself: not his constituents.
When President Trump discussed “Draining the Swamp” and setting term limits, he most likely had John McCain in mind. In the same way, he deprived a qualified Naval Officer a flight slot years back; he is doing the same today with his Senate seat, depriving a patriot the chance to represent Arizona.
Americans, the pen is mightier than the sword. Please write your congressman, voicing your support for term limits so that we can continously refresh Congress with new blood!
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