‘The True Military Record of John McCain’
A viral, anonymous blog post about the former Arizona senator’s past argues that he was not a true war hero.
Claims about John McCain first surfaced during the 2008 presidential election then were resurrected July 2015 when Republican contender Donald Trump said McCain was only considered a war hero because he had been captured during the Vietnam War.
McCain died of brain cancer in August 2018, but that did not stop Trump, now United States president, from attacking him and his legacy.
The idea that McCain was inflating or lying about his military record first appeared in a blog post (which has since been removed, but can still be viewed here) titled, “The True Military Record of John McCain, Written By an Active Marine” in 2008. But the so-called “active Marine” that penned the blog is unnamed, so we can’t verify its authorship, nor does it offer citations. However, we were able to fact-check some of its claims.
McCain Became Squadron Commander Because of Family Connections
Fiction. It’s not true that John McCain was “promoted to squadron commander of the airfield named after his own grandfather immediately after crashing his third airplane.”
McCain was promoted to squadron commander at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1976 — after he spent five years in captivity at the “Hanoi Hilton” in North Vietnam. Also, the crash in North Vietnam was his fifth as an airman, not his third.
The claim that Cecil Airfield was named after his grandfather is also false. McCain’s paternal grandfather’s name was John McCain Sr., and his maternal grandfather was named Archie Wright. However, McCain’s father and grandfather were both decorated airmen.
McCain Was Awarded 28 Medals After Spending 20 Hours in Combat
Fiction. There’s no record of exactly how many hours McCain spent flying combat missions in the Vietnam War. He was, however, shot down and captured while flying his 23rd combat mission on October 26, 1967.
Also, the Navy unsealed John McCain’s military record in 2008, and it revealed that he had received 17 awards and decorations during his career — not 28:
McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1954 to 1958, and was commissioned as an ensign in June of that year. He retired in April 1981 with the rank of captain. In that time he received 17 awards and decorations. Besides the Silver Star Medal, McCain also received the Legion of Merit with a combat “V” and one gold star, a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star Medal with a combat “V” and two gold stars.
Several citations mention his achievements either as a prisoner or as a lieutenant commander flying bombing runs off the deck of the USS Oriskany. Some are signed by then-Secretary of the Navy John Warner, who would become a colleague of McCain’s in the Senate.
The citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross sums up McCain’s misfortune the following day:
Although his aircraft was severely damaged, he continued his bomb delivery pass and released his bombs on the target. When the aircraft would not recover from the dive, Commander McCain was forced to eject over the target.
Years later, as his Navy career approached its end, McCain received the Legion of Merit Medal. By then, his missions were in the halls of Congress as a liaison to the Senate from the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs.
He was praised for providing Navy leaders “with sage advice and sound judgment for enacting critical legislation during a period of severe fiscal constraint.”
McCain Finished Near the Bottom of His Class at the U.S. Naval Academy
Truth. It’s true that John McCain graduated near the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. Some reports say that he graduated 790th out of 795 students.
But rather than attempting to cover it up or inflate his legacy, McCain alluded to his academic record there during a commencement speech in 1997:
This is quite an unexpected honor for a Naval Academy midshipman who graduated fifth from the bottom in the Class of ’58. All those years ago, when I was a midshipman, I indulged in the normal daydreams of a young man about what kind of honors awaited me later in life.
Everyone’s definition of a “war hero” varies, but the now-defunct blog post makes a number of direct accusations about McCain’s war record that can be easily fact-checked, which makes it all that much more puzzling that it is still being passed around as of 2019.
Collected on: 07/23/2015
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
THE TRUE MILITARY RECORD OF JOHN MCCAIN WRITTEN BY AN ACTIVE MARINE.
McCain has never really earned anything. He is from a wealth pampered background and not fit to lead this nation.
A “war hero” doesn’t finished 894th out of 899 and still get stationed at a Navy champagne unit and promoted ahead of all but two of his 898 other classmates.
A “war hero” doesn’t crash three U.S. Navy jets out of sheer incompetence and ineptitude, including two during non-combat training sessions.
A “war hero” doesn’t get written up on drunk-and-disorderly, fraternization, disobeying orders, and insubordination charges more than two dozen times in less than three years.
A “war hero” doesn’t get promoted to squadron commander of the air field named after his own grandfather immediately after crashing his third airplane. A “war hero” doesn’t have all the military records that cover his time in Vietnam and all disciplinary actions against him censored and sealed “as a matte r of national security.” A “war hero” doesn’t get 28 medals awarded all after-the-fact “for bravery” for no other reason than being shot down and captured and then go on a celebrity public relations tour because he’s the son of two acclaimed Navy admirals. A “war hero” doesn’t repeatedly cheat on the wife who’s back in the states waiting for him, and then cheat on her more when he returns to the states, and then divorce and abandon her.
A “war hero” doesn’t systematically vote against every single pay and benefit increase for military and veterans throughout his entire political career, all the while claiming to be “the soldier’s Congressman,” and then take credit for the passage of a G.I. benefits bill he that voted AGAINST. A “war hero” McCain III lost jet number one in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while practicing landings. He was knocked unconscious by the impact coming to as the plane settled to the bottom. McCain’s second crash occurred while he was deployed in the Mediterranean. “Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula,” Timberg wrote, “he took out some power lines [reminiscent of the 1998 incident in which a Marine Corps jet sliced through the cables of a gondola at an Italian ski resort, killing 20] which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral.”
McCain’s third crash three occurred when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game. Timberg reported that McCain radioed, “I’ve got a flameout” and went through standard relight procedures three times before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain landed on a deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees. McCain’s fifth loss happened during his 23rd mission over North Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967, when McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. McCain ejected from the plane breaking both arms an d a leg in the process and subsequently parachuted into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi. For 23 combat missions (an estimated 20 hours over enemy territory), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals. “McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat,” explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs — the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. “Since McCain got 28 medals,” Bell continues, “that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat. There were infantry guys — grunts on the ground — who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I’m sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison
The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down.” For years, McCain has been an unchecked master at manipulating an overly friendly and biased news media. The former POW turned Congressman, turned U.S. Senator, has managed to gloss over his failures as a pilot by exaggerating his military service and lying about his feats of heroism. McCain has sprouted a halo and wings to become America’s POW-hero presidential candidate.
This article was written by an active, unnamed Marine. It was published by Gale Toensing founder of the Corner Report.com and she sent it to me. It is a true account of McCain’s real war record and evidence of his lack of fitness for the office of President.