The then-LCDR John Sidney McCain, III USS Forrestal deadly flight deck fire story --- is not just a story. It really did happen as a matter of spite by McCain. A good friend of mine was in the Air Wing at the time and stated the sorry-ass story exactly as it did happen.
When McCain was my flight student in formation and gunnery, NAS Whiting Field, FL; I recommended him for a "Drop from the Program" for poor attitude, poor air work and dangerous demonstrated flights. I grounded the Ensign and took away his base sticker, confined him to the BOQ except on flight days and required him to call me twice a day at home when we were not flying. I also sent him back to Ground School since he had a difficult time remembering basic flight rules and procedures. He graduated third from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. His Pre-Flight Ground School record was a big mess.
At NAS Whiting Field, he got completely drunk one rainy Sunday afternoon and ended up on the Santa Rosa Highway on his way back to Whiting. A USMC Captain Flight Instructor saw this clown weaving all over the road and managed to get McCain to stop, McCain rolled down his window and punched the Marine Officer in the face and tried to back over him in the rain. McCain got caught by the local County Sheriff and landed in the local jail. That is when I first got into the scene with McCain since I was the Duty Officer. We got McCain out of jail and the next day he was assigned to me as a student. Since I was also a UCMJ Courts Martial Trial Officer, I was to be assigned to prosecute the McCain case. My Big Boss ordered me to drop all charges and stick with McCain for the many weeks to come. I attempted to argue the case. No way. This was the first of many four star ADM Daddy saves for McCain that I was then aware of at the time. Hang in there, More to come.
McCain's flying ability was way below average. I went to my Boss topside, again, and attempted to get McCain out of the Flight Program. No deal. My Boss instructed me get this student pilot through the program and gone! Just get it done! Other flight students did not want to fly with McCain so we had to carefully "select" certain students to be in the same flight as McCain.
McCain went on to Advanced Training and manged to crash an A1H Spad due to suspected flying-while-drunk. His Daddy saved him again. In the WestPac RAG, a friend of mine attempted to get McCain out of the program. Another Daddy save.
A friend in Durango, Co was DepCAG shortly before McCain got bagged. His job was to accompany McCain ashore in WestPac and keep McCain's name out of the papers due to McCain's heavy drinking and smashing O'Club furniture and fighting anyone in view. The ADM instructed my friend to keep McCain "under control" and should he fail to do so, my friend would be relieved as DepCAG and sent packing.
Then after the USS Forrestal fire, another friend of mine transferred McCain to another Squadron. Then, McCain violated attack doctrine and got himself shot down.
Another good buddy was DepCAG when McCain got bagged. He went down to McCain's Squadron's Ready Room to deliver the news and quote: "The JOs in the back of the Ready Room stood up and cheered!"
When McCain was a POW, he recovered from his wounds and helped the propaganda war of words by announcing over the PA system, that he regretted his role in the war. This is stated in his book. At least he admitted to doing this. The other returning former POW's. 12 were good friends, were ordered not to repeat this story under any circumstances. During McCain's POW status, his Father did not attempt to get his son freed under a propaganda trade off with the North Viets.
When McCain's brother, Joe McCain, was arrested in San Francisco (SFO) for fiercely demonstrating against the Vietnam War; the Desk Sergeant on duty called me at home. Joe, somehow, got my home number. We made a deal. Cut Joe loose, take him to the airport and get him out of SFO. Done deal. Next, in DCA, I had Joe meet with then-Senator Teddy Kennedy. Privately. Kennedy was cruel. He told Joe McCain quote: "This is your war. Not mine. Your brother is just like any other POW. Goodbye." I thought Joe was going to slug Kennedy then and there!
And that is my personal background on McCain. One more thing. When a very great Navy pilot friend of mine was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his dangerous and life saving attack flights in Vietnam, McCain refused to sponsor the award.
When McCain was running for President in his first primary against Bush, a reporter from the NY Times called me and asked about McCain et al. Short call and a hang up. Then, when McCain was running with Sarah Palen, another call from a LA Times political reporter. Same result. Short call and a hang up.
So, when folks ask me if I knew McCain when I was on ACDUTRA, I never get into a conversation about McCain. After all, personal histories are sometimes not quite as accurate as we all might want. But then again, sometimes the memories remain very intact in spite of the years ago. It was what it was. And so it goes.
Best regards, Go Big! or Go Home! Go Navy!
CDR Jerry K. Loeb, USN (Ret.)
Who knew a wet start could cause so much trouble?....I guess when the excess fuel ignites flames shoot out the back of the Aircraft.
Subject:Fw: Navy Releases McCain's Records (Arizona Wake-up !!)
Navy Releases McCain’s Records
USS Forrestal, July 29, 1967 - The worst accident aboard a US Navy surface vessel since WWII
The Navy released John McCain’s military record after a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press. The record is packed with information on McCain’s medals and commendations but little else.
The one thing that the McCain campaign does not want to see released is the record of McCain’s antics on board the USS Forestal in 1967.
McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy.
That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded trumps McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
WMR has learned additional details regarding the deadly fire aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, on July 19, 1967 in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The additional details point to then-Lt. Commander John McCain playing more of a role in triggering the fire and explosions than previously reported.
On January 16, 2006, WMR reported that according to a US Navy sailor who was aboard the Forrestal on the fateful day of the fire, “McCain and the Forrestal’s skipper, Capt. John K. Beling, were warned about the danger of using M-65 1000-lb. bombs manufactured in 1935, which were deemed too dangerous to use during World War II and, later, on B-52 bombers.
The fire from the Zuni missile misfire resulted in the heavy 1000 pound bombs being knocked loose from the pylons of McCain’s A-4 aircraft, which were only designed to hold 500-pound bombs.”
WMR further reported, “The unstable bombs had a 60-second cook-off threshold in a fire situation and this warning was known to both Beling and McCain prior to the disaster.”
WMR also cited the potential that McCain’s Navy records were used against him by the neo-cons in control of the Pentagon, “The neo-cons, who have had five years to examine every file within the Department of Defense, have likely accessed documents that could prove embarrassing to McCain, who was on board the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967, and whose A-4 Skyhawk was struck by an air-to-ground Zuni missile that had misfired from an F-4 Phantom.”
WMR has been informed that crewmen aboard the Forrestal have provided additional information about the Forrestal incident. It is believed by many crewmen and those who have investigated the case that McCain deliberately “wet-started” his A-4E to shake up the guy in the plane behind his A-4.
“Wet-starts”, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.
In McCain’s case, the “wet-start” apparently “cooked off” and launched the Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration.
“Wet starting” was apparently a common practice among young “hot-dog” pilots.
McCain was quickly transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred).
Three months later, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967.
As WMR previously reported, at the time of the Forrestal disaster, McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was Commander-in-Chief of US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and was busy covering up the details of the deadly and pre-meditated June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the NSA spy ship, the USS Liberty.
The fact that both McCains were involved in two incidents just weeks apart that resulted in a total death count of 168 on the Forrestal and the Liberty, with an additional injury count of 234 on both ships (with a number of them later dying from their wounds) with an accompanying classified paper trail inside the Pentagon, may be all that was needed to hold a Sword of Damocles over the head of the “family honor”-oriented McCain by the neo-cons.
WMR has also been informed by knowledgeable sources, including an ex-Navy A-4 pilot, the “wet-start game” was a common occurrence.
However, it is between “very unlikely” and “impossible” for the Forrestal “wet start” to have been accidental.
“Wet starts” were later rendered impossible by automated engine controls.