John MacCain Biography


Do you know the life story of John MacCain? See his biography here:

Image:John McCain official photo portrait-cropped.JPG

John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Arizona and presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the upcoming 2008 election.

McCain’s grandfather and father were the first pair of father/son Four-Star admirals in the United States Navy. McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying attack aircraft from carriers. During the Vietnam War in 1967, he narrowly escaped death in the Forrestal fire. On his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam later in 1967, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. He spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war, including periods of torture, before he was released in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords in 1973.

McCain retired from the Navy in 1981 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona’s 1st congressional district in 1982. After serving two terms, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning reelection in 1992, 1998, and 2004. While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain has established a reputation as a political maverick for his willingness to disagree with his party on several key issues. Surviving the Keating Five scandal of the 1980s, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, eventually co-sponsoring the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002.

McCain lost the Republican nomination in the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush after closely contested battles in several early primary states. In the 2008 presidential election cycle, McCain staged a comeback after his campaign stumbled in mid-2007, and by the end of January 2008, he was the Republican front-runner once again. Following victories in early February and the withdrawal of his closest competitors, McCain gained enough delegates to solidify his status as the presumptive nominee on March 4, 2008.

John McCain’s early life began in the tropics. He was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station[2] in Panama within the then-American-controlled Panama Canal Zone to Navy officer John S. McCain, Jr. (1911–1981) and Roberta (Wright) McCain (b. 1912).

His father and paternal grandfather both eventually became United States Navy admirals.[3] McCain has Scots-Irish[4] and English[5] ancestry.McCain’s family (including his older sister Sandy and younger brother Joe)[2] followed his father to various naval postings in the United States and the Pacific. Altogether, he attended about 20 schools.[6]

As a child, he was a quiet, dependable, and courteous member of his family.[2] He also had a quick temper, and an aggressive drive to compete and prevail.[7][8]

In 1951, the family settled in Northern Virginia and McCain attended Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria.[9] There he excelled at wrestling[10] and graduated in 1954.[8]

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. There, he was a friend and leader for many of his classmates, and stood up for people who were being bullied; he also became a lightweight boxer.[11][12] McCain had run-ins with higher-ups and he was disinclined to obey every rule, which contributed to a low class rank (894/899) that he did not aim to improve.[13][14][15][16] McCain did well in academic subjects that interested him,[17] and he graduated in 1958.[14]

John McCain’s pre-combat duty began when he was commissioned an ensign, and started two and a half years of training as a naval aviator at Pensacola.[18] There he also earned a reputation as a party man.[6] Graduating from flight school in 1960,[19] he became a naval pilot of attack aircraft. McCain was then stationed in A-1 Skyraider squadrons[20] on the aircraft carriers USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise,[21] in the Caribbean Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea.[22] He survived two airplane crashes and a collision with power lines.[22]

On July 3, 1965 McCain married Carol Shepp, a model originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[13] McCain adopted her two young children Douglas and Andrew;[23][21] he and Carol then had a daughter named Sidney.[24][25]

McCain requested a combat assignment,[26] and in December 1966 was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, flying A-4 Skyhawks.[27][28] McCain’s combat duty began when he was 30 years old. In summer 1967, Forrestal was assigned to a bombing campaign during the Vietnam War.[13][29] McCain and his fellow pilots were frustrated by micromanagement from Washington;[30] he would later write that “In all candor, we thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots who didn’t have the least notion of what it took to win the war.”[29]

By then a lieutenant commander, McCain was almost killed on July 29, 1967, when he was at the epicenter of the Forrestal fire. McCain escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded;[31] McCain was struck in the legs and chest by fragments.[32] The ensuing fire killed 134 sailors and took 24 hours to control.[33][34] As Forrestal headed for repairs, McCain volunteered for the USS Oriskany.[35]

John McCain’s capture and imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.[37][38][39][40] McCain fractured both arms and a leg,[41] and then nearly drowned when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi.[37] After he regained consciousness, a mob attacked him,[42] crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt, and bayoneted him; he was then transported to Hanoi’s main Hoa Loa Prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton”.[42][43]

Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, instead beating and interrogating him to get information.[42] Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral did they give him medical care[42] and announce his capture. His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of The New York Times[44] and The Washington Post.[45]

See more about his biography in the Wikipedia Article.

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