The Conservative Wife | Feb 21, 2017
More and more it is becoming evident that John McCain is not the “hero” he likes to portray himself to be. He has been riding the coattails of his heroism for years. It has worked too as is evidenced by his being re-elected as an Arizona Senator for the past 31 years. That’s a long time for someone to serve. But what exactly has McCain done during his tenure? We will get in to that and a lot more but first, Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and delve a little deeper into ol’ Johhny boy.
John McCain was born on August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1951, the McCains moved to Northern Virginia and he attended Episcopal High School, which was a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria. He graduated in 1954. From there, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. While there, he came into conflict with higher ranking personnel and did not always obey the rules which contributed to a low class rank. He was ranked 894 of 899. Seems John McCain has always been a “maverick,” which is a so called attribute that he gave himself during his 2008 failed Presidency run against Barack Obama. Maverick is just another word for someone who isn’t a team player. Someone who serves their own interests above those of others. But I digress.
McCain became a commissioned ensign and started two and a half years of training at Pensacola to become a naval aviator. While he was there, McCain earned a reputation as a partying man. He completed flight school in 1960 and became a naval pilot of ground-attack aircraft. He was assigned to A-1 Skyraider squadrons aboard the aircraft carriers USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise. McCain began as a sub-par pilot who was more than a few times careless and reckless. During the early to mid-1960’s, the planes he was flying crashed twice and once collided with power lines. Even though his flying skills improved over time, he was still known as a pilot who tended to push the envelope in his flying.
On July 3, 1965, John McCain married Carol Shepp. She was a model who was originally from Philadephia. MCCain adopted her two young children and then later had a daughter of their own. McCain requested a combat mission and assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal flying A-4 Skyhawks. This was mid-1967 when the Forrestal was assigned to a bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder, during the Vietnam War. On July 29, 1967, McCain, who was now a Lieutenant Commander, was at the epicenter of the USS Forrestal fire. He escaped his burning jet and was attempting to help another pilot to escape whan a bomb exploded, striking him in the legs and chest with fragments. The fire killed 134 sailors and took 24 hours to control. An electrical anomaly caused a Zuni rocket to discharge on the flight deck which then triggered a chain reaction of explosions.
With the Forrestal out of commission, McCain volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany, another aircraft carrier engaged in Operation Rolling Thunder. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star for missions flown over North Vietnam.
On October 26, 1967, McCain was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down over Hanoi. He fractured both arms and a leg ejecting from the aircraft and then nearly drowned when he parachuted into Trúc Bach Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore and then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him. He was then transported to Hanoi’s main Hỏa Lò Prison which was nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton.
Although his wounds were bad, his captors refused to treat his injuries. He was beaten and interrogated for information. Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a high ranking Admiral did he receive medical care. His status as a POW made the front pages of major newspapers, again, only because of his fathers status. McCain spent six weeks in the hospital receiving marginal care, after which he was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi in December of 1967. He was placed in a cell with two other Americans. In March of 1968, he was placed in solitary confinement where he remained for the next two years.
In the middle of 1968, John McCain’s father, John S. McCain Jr., was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater. The North Vietnamese wanted to appear merciful as part of their propaganda and so they offered McCain an early release. They also wanted to show other POW’s that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially. McCain turned down the offer stating that he refused to leave unless every man taken in before him was released. In truth, such early releases were prohibited by the POW’s interpretation of the military code of conduct. In order to prevent the enemy from using prisoners as propaganda, officers were to agree to be released in the order in which they were captured.
In August of 1968, a regiment of severe torture began on McCain. During this time, McCain attempted suicide but was stopped by guards. Eventually, McCain made the first of several anti-American propaganda confession video. He was released as a POW on March 14, 1973, having been a prisoner for five and a half years.
John McCain returned to the United States and was reunited with his family. His wife Carol had suffered an automobile accident on Christmas Eve of 1969 that left her crippled and terribly disfigured. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered from massive internal injuries. In order to save her legs, surgeons had to cut away very large sections of shattered bone, which took away her tall, willowy frame. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter. She eventually learned to walk again but had gained a lot of weight by the time McCain came home.
As a returned POW, McCain became a celebrity of sorts. There was much fanfare at his return and even a handshake from President Richard Nixon. McCain enjoyed the limelight. During 1973-1974, McCain attended the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. By late 1974, he had his flight status reinstated and in 1976 he became the commanding officer of a training squadron in Florida.During his time in Florida, McCain had extramarital affairs which led to the breakdown of his marriage. He no longer was attracted to Carol because of her injuries. In 1980, the McCain’s divorced and one month later, John married Cindy Hensley, whom he had met in April of 1979, who was 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune.
All of the above was taken from McCain’s life as is listed on Wikipedia and other sites that outline his life. Now let’s take a look at what really happened.
According to writings by McCain, himself, after about 3-4 days of torture by the Vietnamese, he called for an officer and stated that he would give them information. He told the officer, “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.” -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain. So these are his own words. After this McCain was taken to Gai Lam military hospital which was normally unavailable to American POW’s. This from U.S. government documents.
On November 9, 1967, according to U.S. government documents, the Hanoi press began quoting McCain who was giving specific military information. One report read, “To a question of the correspondent, McCain answered: “My assignment to the Oriskany, I told myself, was due to serious losses in pilots, which were sustained by this aircraft carrier (due to its raids on the North Vietnam territory – VNA) and which necessitated replacements. From 10 to 12 pilots were transferred like me from the Forrestal to the Oriskany. Before I was shot down, we had made several sorties. Altogether, I made about 23 flights over North Vietnam.”
In that report, McCain was quoted describing the number of aircraft in his flight, information about rescue ships, and the order of which his attack was supposed to take place. All of these things place American soldier lives at risk and subsequently, American planes were shot down at a 64% increase after he told the Vietnamese these things. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Veteran Dispatch acquired a declassified Department of Defense (DOD) transcript of an interview that prominent French television reporter, Francois Chalais, had with McCain. Following is said transcript:
“My meeting with John Sidney McCain was certainly one of those meetings which will affect me most profoundly for the rest of my life. I had asked the North Vietnamese authorities to allow me to personally interrogate an American prisoner. They authorized me to do so. When night fell, they took me—without any precautions or mystery–to a hospital near the Gia Lam airport reserved for the [North Vietnamese] military. (passage omitted) The officer who receives me begins: I ask you not to ask any questions of political nature. If this man replies in a way unfavorable to us, they will not hesitate to speak of ‘brainwashing’ and conclude that we threatened him.
“‘This John Sidney McCain is not an ordinary prisoner. His father is none other than Admiral Edmond John McCain, commander in chief of U.S. naval forces in Europe. (passage omitted)'”
“. . . Many visitors came to talk to me [John McCain]. Not all of it was for interrogation. Once a famous North Vietnamese writer-an old man with a Ho Chi Minh beard-came to my room, wanting to know all about Ernest Hemingway . . . Others came to find out about life in the United States. They figured because my father had such high military rank that I was of the royalty or governing circle . . . One of the men who came to see me, whose picture I recognized later, was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dienbienphu.”
–U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain.
The two Americans that McCain was held prisoner with were Air Force Majors George “Bud” Day and Norris Overly. Overly was offered release and he accepted. Day was “relocated” to another cell and about a month later, McCain was moved into another building, the largest in the camp called “the warehouse”. This is where McCain spent his two years of solitary confinement as he was considered a “special prisoner”. He became the target of intense indoctrination and psychological programs the communists had perfected during the Korean War.
The communists were very much aware that McCain would be under tremendous psychological pressure not to do or say anything that would tarnish his famous military family and they considered that to be the key to eventually breaking and then “turning” him. McCain’s handlers kept meticulous records of his behavior, including his personal strengths, weaknesses and any special favors he had accepted while under isolation.
McCain’s interrogators believed that because he came from a “royal family”, he would, when he was finally released, return to the United States to some important military or government job. Because he was isolated during those two years, no one except for McCain himself and his captors know exactly what he was subjected to or how he responded. Most of the information in the public record detailing his ordeal during this time comes from McCain and McCain only.
“In May of 1968, I [McCain] was interviewed by two North Vietnamese generals at separate times.”
–U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
McCain claimed (page 133 of The Nightingale’s Song, by Robert Timberg) that he was first offered early release in late June of 1968. He said that after months of interrogation he was “summoned” to a room that had soft chairs, a glass table, cookies with a pot of tea, and cigarettes. He said “Major Bai, known to the prisoners as the Cat,” was waiting for him. He said a second Vietnamese known as the Rabbit, stood by to serve as translator.”
McCain said that he helped himself to the cookies, tea and cigarettes as the Cat began speaking through the translator. He said they talked about “his father, other members of his family, the war.” McCain said that after about two hours of talking, the Cat asked him if he wanted to be released. The Cat, according to McCain, told him to go back to his cell and think about it. –The Nightingale’s Song.
According to McCain, the Cat sent for him three nights later and again asked him if he wanted to go home. McCain said he answered no. A week later, he was taken to a room in which the camp commander, who the prisoners had nicknamed Slopehead, was waiting. McCain said ten guards and interrogator, nicknamed The Prick, was also in the room. He said the guards charged into him, beating and kicking him until he “lay on the floor, bloody, arms and legs throbiing, ribs cracked, several teeth broken off at the gumline.” According to McCain, the Vietnamese wanted him to admit to being a “black criminal.” — The Nightingale’s Song.
I will insert here that pictures of McCain’s arrival back in the U.S. after his release as a POW do not conclusively show that he was missing any teeth. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, just that pictures do not conclusively show any missing teeth. And his arm and leg were broken as a result of his ejecting from his aircraft.
June 1969 – “Reds Say PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral. . . Hanoi has aired a broadcast in which the pilot son of United States Commander in the Pacific, Adm. John McCain, purportedly admits to having bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam and praises medical treatment he has received since being taken prisoner.”
–New York Daily News, June 5, 1969
A declassified DOD document reports an interview between POW McCain and Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist who was living in Cuba at the time. The interview was published in the Havana Granma in January of 1970. According to the report, the meeting between McCain and Barral, which was photographed by the Vietnamese, took place away from the prison at the office of the Committee for Cultural Relations in Hanoi. During this meeting, McCain sipped coffee and ate oranges and cakes with his interrogator. While talking with Barral, McCain seriously violated the military Code of Conduct by failing to evade answering questions “to the utmost” of his ability when he, according to the DOD report, helped Barral by answering questions in Spanish. He didn’t have to let them know he understood and spoke another language.
McCain was released from Hanoi Hilton on March 15, 1973. Two former POW’s say they doubt that McCain was ever physically abused.
Ted Guy and Gordon “Swede” Larson, two former POWs, who were McCain’s senior ranking officers (SRO’s), at the time McCain says he was tortured in solitary confinement, told the New Times that while they could not guarantee that McCain was not physically harmed, they doubted it.
“Between the two of us, it’s our belief, and to the best of our knowledge, that no prisoner was beaten or harmed physically in that camp [known as “The Plantation”],” Larson says. “. . . My only contention with the McCain deal is that while he was at The Plantation, to the best of my knowledge and Ted’s knowledge, he was not physically abused in any way. No one was in that camp. It was the camp that people were released from.”
–March 25, 1999, The Phoenix New Times
In 1993, during one of his many trips back to Hanoi, McCain asked the Vietnamese not to make public the records they hold pertaining to returned U.S. POW’s.
But what about all his medals? He has a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross. three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals, and two Purple Hearts and a dozen service gongs. He has more medals than Audie Murphy, who performed extraordinary deeds while in service to his country. McCain’s valor awards are based solely on what happened in 1967, when he was shot down and taken prisoner. David M. Hackworth, who was a highly decorated and very unconventional former career Army Officer, asked McCain’s Senate office three times to provide copies of the narratives for each of his medals. They never responded. Next, he went to the Pentagon and within a week, he received a recap of McCain’s medals and many of the narratives that give the details of what he did to “earn” each one.
None of the awards, except for the Distinguished Flying Cross, were for heroism over the battlefield where he spent no more than 20 hours. Two Naval Officers described the awards as “boilerplate” and “part of an SOP medal package given to repatriated Vietnam era POW’s.”
McCain’s Silver Star narrative for the October 27, 1967, the day after he was shot down to December 8, 1968 reads:
“His captors subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly towards the eventual abandonment” of such harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese.
But in McCain’s own words he admitted that just four days after being captured, he violated the U.S. Code of Conduct by telling his captors “O.K., I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital.”
The rest of his valor awards, which were issued automatically every year while he was a POW, read much like the Silver Star. More boilerplate that often repeat the same words. But McCain’s conduct while a POW negates those glowing comments. The fact is, McCain signed a confession and declared himself a “black criminal who performed deeds of an air pirate.” This statement and other interviews he gave to the Communist press were used as propaganda to fan the flames of the anti-war movement.
McCain’s accounts of torture and beatings were never witnessed by a single other POW. The U.S. Navy says that two eyewitnesses are required for any award of heroism, but for McCain’s valor awards, there are no witnesses except for McCain himself and his captors.
As for McCain refusing an early release, three different POW’s have said that he was ordered to turn it down by his U.S. POW commander. And I have yet to find accounts of other POW’s that were given cakes, fruit, tea and cigarettes. That doesn’t sound like torture to me but more like a man who has become comfortable with the enemy.
Upon McCain’s return from Vietnam, his records as a POW were immediately marked classified. His commanding officer while he was a POW, Colonel Ted Guy, submitted a series of charges to military prosecutors that cited McCain with treason among other things. McCain, along with 33 other POW’s, faced court martial with McCain by far being the one accused of the most serious of crimes. But it was also McCain, who was the son and grandson of distinguished Navy Admirals, that had to be protected at all costs for the sake of his family’s distinguished reputation. Because of this, the worst traitor in American history became known as a war hero and was elected to the Senate. President Richard Nixon issued a blanket pardon for McCain and the other 33 POW’s.
Sgt. Major John Holland, Army Colonel Earl Hopper and the CIA’s Ted Sampley, who are all dead now, had cited McCain for crimes as serious as planning air defenses for the Hanoi government to aid them in downing American pilots. Hopper credits McCain with helping to shoot down 60 American aircraft. Many others who actually served with McCain claim it was he who nearly sunk the nuclear super-carrier USS Forrestal. Nearly 300 servicemen were killed and wounded from that incident. I have no definitive proof of these claims.
When it was known that American POW’s were still being held in Southeast Asia, this after McCain became a Senator, he worked to block repatriation through evidence of surviving POW’s. It was then that McCain began to be referred to by those in the military, intelligence and veteran’s community, as the “Manchurian Candidate.” Many wonder why Russia has not opened their files on McCain. Files that include recordings of the 32 propaganda broadcasts he made while he was a POW.
All in all, I will say with full confidence that McCain is no war hero. I believe he was doing what was expected of him by his family when he joined the navy. He has never been a team player and he never will be. His life has not been one of distinguished service but rather one of putting himself and his selfish needs first. Everything about his story is questionable. Perhaps one day, it will all come to light.
Here is a documentary that outlines more of McCain’s treasonous acts:
The documentary alleges McCain manipulated the legislative process, mandating his POW records be sealed forever to conceal his actual behavior in captivity from the legend that has evolved. It also suggests that this same motivation explains McCain’s history of opposing and shutting down all Congressional POW inquiries.