About John

Unwavering service to America and proudly
representing the people of Arizona in the US Senate

The John McCain Story


Senator John McCain has spent his lifetime in unwavering service to America, both in the U.S. Navy and representing the people of Arizona in the U.S. Congress. He has led the fight to strengthen America's national security and our armed forces, eliminate wasteful government spending, and reform government to make it more responsive to the American people.

As the son and grandson of Navy admirals, the values of duty, honor and service to county were instilled in John from a very young age. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, John launched a 22-year career as a Naval aviator.

On July 29, 1967, John narrowly survived the first of several near-death experiences in the Navy. While in the Gulf of Tonkin preparing to take off on a bombing mission over North Vietnam from his ship, the USS Forrestal, a missile accidentally fired from a nearby plane and struck the fuel tanks on his plane, triggering a massive fire that detonated additional missiles and ultimately cost the lives of 134 sailors—the worst Naval disaster since World War II.

Despite injuries from the Forrestal disaster, John declined to take the option of returning home and volunteered for additional combat duty.

About four months later, on October 26, 1967, during John’s 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile struck his plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking

both his arms and his leg. After parachute landing in Truc Bach Lakein Hanoi, John was taken as a Prisoner of War (POW) into the now-infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” where he was denied needed medical treatment and subjected to years of torture by the North Vietnamese. Aided by his faith and the strength of his fellow POWs, John regained his health, and was finally released after five and a half years, on March 14, 1973.

After Vietnam, John continued his service, attending the National War College before being assigned as commanding officer of the Navy’s largest aviation squadron at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida. John’s last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the Navy Liaison to the U.S. Senate. He retired from the Navy in 1981. His military honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The John McCain Story

John was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District of Arizona on an agenda of limited government and strong foreign policy. After two terms in the House, John was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, succeeding legendary Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

John was the Republican Party’s nominee for President in the 2008 election.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and serves on the Senate’s committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Indian Affairs.

John has seven children and four grandchildren, and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, Cindy.

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