John Mccain I

Yet more political Blogs...


What follows is a list of facts about Republican presidential candidate John McCain, you may not give two shits but it's intresting. He's a fascinating man, and the details of his life provide depth to the trite media phrases that reduce his experiences to simply, "war hero," or "American patriot."

  1. He's 72 years old. If elected, he would be the oldest US President (at inaugaration). Ronald Reagan, currently the oldest president at inauguration, was sixty nine years old at the time.
  2. McCain is 5'7" tall.
  3. Both his father and grandfather were admirals of the United States Navy. The senior McCains were the first father-son pair to achieve four star admiral rank.
  4. McCain has Scots-Irish heritage.
  5. McCain was born in the then American-controlled Panama Canal zone.
  6. McCain often moved during his childhood, attending over 20 different schools.
  7. McCain was a varsity wrestler, earning the nicknames "Punk" and "McNasty" due to his truculent disposition.
  8. After High School, McCain enrolled in the US Naval Academy, where he earned over 100 demerits (unpolished shoes, etc.) every year, joining the 'Century Club'
  9. He graduated with bottom rank: 894 out of 899 people in his class.
  10. After naval graduation, he began training as a naval aviator in Florida and Texas, where he became known as a partier, driving a Corvette and dating an exotic dancer named, "Marie the Flame of Florida." He would later say, "I generally misused my good health and youth."
  11. After becoming a naval pilot, he was assigned to the Cuban blockade aboard the USS Enterprise during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  12. In his early days, he was known as a subpar pilot, crash landing once during aviation training after his engine quit during landing, again in Spain after flying too low and getting entangled in power lines, and again after his engine stalled over Virginia. He was not seriously hurt in these incidents.
  13. His first marriage was in 1965, to Carol Shepp, a former model and divorcee with two children. He adopted the two kids and had one of his own with Ms. Shepp in 1966.
  14. In 1967, he was called to action in Vietnam, on the aircraft carrier USS "Forrestal." By this time, he had become an excellent aviator and led his first five attacks without incident.
  15. While taking off from the carrier for another mission, McCain's jet was struck by a rocket accidentally fired across the deck. The impact caused McCain's jet to catch fire, and knocked two bombs loose. McCain escaped by crawling to the nose of the jet and jumping off onto the burning deck. A minute and a half later, one of the dropped bombs exploded, striking McCain with shrapnel in his legs and chest. The Forrestal fire ultimately killed 132 sailors, injured over 60 more, destroyed 20 aircraft, and took an entire day to get under control.
  16. Two days after the Forrestal fire, McCain told a reporter, "now that I've seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I'm not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam."
  17. After flying 22 more bombing missions without incident, McCain's plane was hit over central Hanoi. He broke both arms and one leg after being hit and ejecting from his plane.
  18. He fell into Truc Bach Lake unconscious, and nearly drowned.
  19. After regaining consciousness, he was surrounded by an angry mob. They spat on him, kicked him, and had his clothes torn off. His shoulder was broken with the butt of a rifle and his left foot and abdominal area were bayoneted before he was taken to Hoa Loa Prison, sarcastically nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by American POWs and notorious for its cruel treatment of prisoners.
  20. Although near death, the North Vietnamese refused him treatment unless he gave them military information, and in fact beat him further. McCain only offered his name, rank, serial number and date of birth. A prison doctor visited McCain and pronounced him untreatable and close to death.
  21. On learning of his father's rank, McCain was taken to a hospital, and his capture announced. The news made front page headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post.
  22. His captors continued beating McCain in the hospital, coercing his ship and squadron name, and their intended bombing target. When pushed to give the names of his squadron members, he gave the names of the National Football League's Green Bay Packer's offensive line.
  23. After six weeks in the prison hospital, his hair turned its now-famous white.
  24. He was discharged to another prison, where his cellmates included future Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day. The cellmates did not expect him to live more than a week, but were able to nurse him out of critical condition.
  25. McCain spent the next two years in solitary confinement.
  26. In 1968, McCain's father was named Commander in Chief of the Pacific Command, including all US forces in Vietnam. Sensing a publicity coup, and a way to break the morale of the rest of the GIs by showing the elite were willing to be treated preferentially, McCain was immediately offered a chance to return home. MCcain turned it down, deferring to the Code of Conduct principle of 'first in, first out.' He wanted everyone taken before him released as well.
  27. McCain was rewarded with increasingly savage torture methods that involved being bound by rope into agonizing positions, and being beaten every two hours, while simultaneously suffering from dysentery.
  28. After this treatment became a daily ritual, McCain attempted suicide but was stopped by prison guards.
  29. Four days into the torture, McCain signed and taped a false propaganda statement that confessed to being a 'black criminal' and an 'air pirate.' McCain purposely used stilted language and identifiable Communist jargon to indicate to Americans his statement was forced. McCain regretted the statement, but later noted that he had simply 'reached his breaking point.'
  30. To this day, McCain cannot lift his arms over his head from the injuries sustained during this period.
  31. Two weeks later, the North Vietnamese tried to extract another confession from McCain. This time he refused, and received multiple beatings per weeks because of this.
  32. On one of these occasions, a sympathetic prison guard secretly loosened McCain's rope bindings for the night. Months later, on Christmas Day, this same guard secretly drew a cross in the dirt next to McCain. McCain often relates this story as a testimony to his faith and humanity.
  33. On Christmas Eve 1968, the North Vietnamese staged a false church service as a media event for photographers and film cameras. McCain famously defined his captors instructions to be quiet and loudly yelled 'Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you, you son of a biiitch!' and flipped off the camera whenever it was pointed at him.
  34. McCain refused to meet with any anti-war peace activists that came through Hanoi, including those led by David Dellinger, Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis.
  35. In October of 1969, the treatment of POWs improved after mass media awareness of the conditions the soldiers were being subjected to.
  36. McCain continued to refuse to see anti-war activists and North Vietnamese sympathizers, stating to one 'I told him I had no remorse about what I did, and that I would do it over again if the same opportunity presented itself.'
  37. All told, McCain was held as a PoW for five and a half years, and he was released on March 15th, 1973. Had he taken the offer for early release, he would have avoided five of those years.
  38. When McCain returned, he found that his wife Carol had almost died in a car accident, and was four inches shorter, on crutches, and obese after months of operations and physical therapy.
  39. McCain became a minor celebrity on his return (e.g., his photo was on the front page of the New York Times).
  40. The McCain's were personal favorites of Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, who repeatedly invited them for dinner. McCain viewed Reagan as a role model.
  41. McCain began treatment for his injuries, with the goal of getting back into active military service. Most people doubted this was feasible.
  42. In 1974, he had recuperated to the point where he could fly again, and became Commanding Officer of the largest attack squadron in the Navy.
  43. Also in 1974, he flew back to Saigon (in South Vietnam, just months before the fall) to lecture at the South Vietnamese war college.
  44. McCain's marriage began falling apart, and he had several extramarital affairs, which he blamed on selfishness and immaturity.
  45. In 1979, McCain met and fell in love with Cindy Lou Hensley. McCain was still married to Carol.
  46. Cindy Lou Hensley's father was James Hensley, a wealthy Anheuser Busch distributor.
  47. Cindy Hensley is 17 years younger than John McCain
  48. In 1980, McCain divorced Carol to marry Cindy, leaving Carol multiple houses and financial resources to continue her treatments resulting from the accident.
  49. McCain's children refused to attend the wedding in protest of the split, though they reconciled years later.
  50. McCain retired from the Navy in 1981, with recognitions including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Uploaded 08/27/2008
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