REPORT: Senator John McCain Accused of Causing 1967 USS Forrestal Inferno


John McCain never refers to his very famous run-in with a mishap on the USS Forrestal, for which he (according to his official camp bio):

“…escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded. McCain was struck in the legs and chest by fragments. The ensuing fire killed 134 sailors and took 24 hours to control. With the Forrestal out of commission, McCain volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany.”

What is most compelling about this version of events here is that McCain is reported to have set-up a prank called a wet-start in his own aircraft in order to shake up the guy in the jet behind him.  “Wet-starts”, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.  This prank was a very frequently played trick on newer pilots back in the day when it was still possible.  New automatic ignition systems rendered this trick impossible.  The wet-start ignited and launched a Zuni rocket from the rear A-4 jet that touched off explosions and a massive fire.  The young pilot that McCain was trying to “shake-up” ended up losing his life to this prank, as did another 133 sailors and airmen!

With the Forrestal out of commission, the write-up states, McCain “volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany.”

Except that he didn't volunteer for this assignment.  According to accounts, he was forced to leave the Forrestal because of the prank that caused 134 sailors to die unnecessarily.  Because his father and grandfather were noted Admirals in the Navy, the ordeal was hushed up and he was quickly spirited away to another ship.  Four months later, he would be shot down.  And another whole mythology was created thereafter.

The mythology didn't just extend to the end of his days in captivity.  In fact, some would argue that the McCain “Maverick” mythology was created specifically through the efforts of Hollywood screenwriters!

Read on the following page about how movie magic, loosely based on McCain's heroic fairytale, became a multimillion-dollar box office smash called “Top Gun!”

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