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Reply #19: He was a true hero before Hanoi, and did not have to be there! [View All]

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Rebellious Republican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-05-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
19. He was a true hero before Hanoi, and did not have to be there!
Edited on Thu Aug-05-04 05:44 PM by Rebellious Republica
this is an account of one of the worst Aircraft Carrier disasters in US Naval history. He survived and chose to stay, which eventually put him the position to "intercept a surface to air missile with his airplane". He then was captured after surviving that! its an amazing story of survival......

The Forrestal Disaster

Lt. Commander McCain was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal off the coast of Vietnam. On July 29, 1967, McCain, an A-4 Skyhawk pilot, was preparing to take off on a bombing mission over North Vietnam, when a horrifying disaster struck. A missile accidentally fired from a nearby plane, striking the fuel tanks on McCain's plane.

In the ensuing explosions and fire, McCain escaped from his plane by crawling onto its nose and diving into the fire on the ship's deck. He turned to help a fellow pilot whose flight suit had burst into flames. But before McCain could reach him, more bombs exploded, blowing him back 10 feet,

It took 24 hours to contain the inferno on the Forrestal. By the time it was all over, 134 men lost their lives, hundreds more were injured, and more than 20 planes were destroyed. It was the worst non-combat-related accident in American Naval history.

After the Forrestal disaster, McCain could have returned home. But he would have none of that. Instead he volunteered for more combat duty aboard the carrier USS Oriskany, It was a fateful decision that would stop the clock on John McCain's life and separate him from his family, and from America, for five and a half years. /

Here is the full account of the incident from an independent source if you do not believe the McCain website.

From: Naval Aviation News, October 1967
compiled and edited by Senior Chief Journalist John D. Burlage

Lt. Cmdr. Robert "Bo" Browning one of the pilots due for launch with many others, he was seated in the cockpit of his fueled and armed Skyhawk; the plane was spotted way aft, to port. Lt. Cmdr. John S. McCain III said later he heard a "whooshy" sound then a "low-order explosion" in front of him. Suddenly, two A-4s ahead of his plane were engulfed in flaming jet fuel JP-5 spewed from them. A bomb dropped to the deck and rolled about six feet and came to rest in a pool of burning fuel.

The awful conflagration, which was to leave 132 Forrestal crewmen dead, 62 more injured and two missing and presumed dead, had begun.

As the searing flames, fed by the spreading JP-5, spread aft and began to eat at the aircraft spotted around the deck, Lt. Cmdr. Browning escaped from his plane. He ducked under the tails of two Skyhawks spotted alongside his and ran up the flight deck toward the island area. Twice, explosions knocked him off balance. But he made it.

The fire soon enveloped all the aircraft in its wake. It spread to the fantail, to decks below. Bombs and ammunition were touched off in the midst of early fire-fighting efforts. Black, acrid smoke boiled into the sky. Other ships on Yankee Station sped to the aid of the stricken carrier.

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