The Day John McCain Got Shot Down

Posted: July 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Day John McCain Got Shot Down

Pythia Press ^ | 2010 | Zalin Grant

Posted on 7/21/2015, 8:33:49 AM by KeyLargo

The Day John McCain Got Shot Down

Did He Show the Right Stuff? By Zalin Grant


John McCain received mixed reviews from fellow pilots when he arrived on the USS Oriskany in 1967, a month before he was shot down and captured. Cal Swanson, commander of fighter squadron VF-162, was enthusiastic. Swanson thought McCain proved he had the right stuff by getting himself assigned to the Oriskany, an aircraft carrier sailing off the coast of North Vietnam in the South China Sea. The Oriskany had seen more combat and suffered heavier casualties than any ship in the Vietnam War. McCain’s own aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, had been put out of action by a horrific fire two months earlier.

After the Forrestal fire, McCain was assigned to Saigon as a navy PR aide. He was perfect for the job—handsome, charming, witty. He had met R.W. (Johnny) Apple, a well-known reporter for the New York Times, and Apple had smoothed his way in Saigon by introducing him to journalists and to the U.S. military and civilian command.

John McCain could have served out his tour flacking for the navy and having a lot of fun doing it—dining at Saigon’s French restaurants and hitting the bars full of pretty Vietnamese girls. But McCain wanted to get back into combat. He had completed only five missions before the Forrestal fire. Cal Swanson thought McCain’s attitude reflected well on his courage and patriotism.

McCain would not be joining VF-162, Swanson’s fighter squadron, however. McCain was not a fighter pilot, although in later years the media would perpetuate the mistaken belief that he was. Trained as an A-4 bomber pilot, he was assigned to attack squadron VA-163, which had an illustrious history.

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via The Day John McCain Got Shot Down.

via The Day John McCain Got Shot Down.

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