John McCain III
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John Sidney McCain III (1936 - 2018)

Sen. John Sidney McCain III
Born in Coco Solo Naval Air Station, Panama Canal Zone, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of and [private brother (1940s - unknown)]
Husband of [private wife (1930s - unknown)]
Husband of [private wife (1950s - unknown)]
Father of [private daughter (1960s - unknown)], , [private son (1980s - unknown)], [private son (1980s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1990s - unknown)]
Died at age 81 in Cornville, Yavapai, Arizona, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Mar 2009
This page has been accessed 13,153 times.
John McCain III is notable.
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Preceded by
Barry Goldwater
John McCain
US Senator (Class 3)
from Arizona
Seal of the US Senate
Succeeded by
John Kyl



Senator John McCain was a respected Vietnam War Veteran and Prisoner of War, as well as United States Senator and Presidential Candidate.[1] [2]


John Sidney McCain III was born August 29th, 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone of Panama to Admiral John Sidney McCain Jr. and Roberta Wright. [3] His father was stationed there at the time.

John attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia where he was a member of the wrestling and football teams. He graduated from there in 1954. [2] He then attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.[2]

John first married on July 3, 1965 to Carol Shepp, a model from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [2] He adopted her two young sons from a previous relationship, Douglas and Andrew. [2] Together they had one daughter, Sidney McCain. [2] John and Carol were separated for a long time, mainly due to his military service and imprisonment as a POW in Vietnam, although they did attempt a reconciliation after his return to the USA in 1973. Carol had in the meantime been seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1969 in the USA.[4]

In 1979, John McCain began dating Cindy Lou Hensley, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona, and heiress to a fortune founded on a major brewing company. As that relationship became serious, he asked Carol for a divorce. Remaining on good terms, they eventually agreed to an uncontested divorce that became effective in April 1980. [2] [4]

John married second Cindy on May 17, 1980, in Phoenix, Arizona, with US Senators William Cohen and Gary Hart attending as groomsmen. [2] Together they had two sons, John McCain, IV and James McCain, and a daughter, Meghan McCain. [2] They also adopted a daughter, Bridget, from a Bangladesh orphanage. [2]

Military Service

John McCain was commissioned on the same date he graduated from the United States Naval Academy, on June 4th, 1958. Upon receiving his commission in the United States Navy, John completed flight training and was a designated Naval Aviator in May 1960. He first trained in the A-1 Skyraider and joined Attack Squadron 65, where he served until October 1963. The Cuban Missile Crisis took place during this time and McCain was assigned alert duty. [4]

From November 1963 until October 1966, John was a Flight Instructor. As a Lieutenant Commander in October 1966, he transitioned into the A-4 Skyhawk with Attack Squadron 44 out of Cecil Field in Florida until April 1967. [4]

John was a prisoner of War from 26 October 1967 to 14 March 1973.[5] [2] On 26 October 1967, during the Vietnam War, while serving with Attack Squadron 163 on board the USS Oriskany (CVA-34), John launched in his Skyhawk attack aircraft as part of a three aircraft strike group whose mission was against the Hanoi Thermal Power Plant. [citation needed] He took a direct hit from the considerable resistance they were receiving from the ground in the form of surface-to-air missiles. He ejected as his aircraft burst into flames and landed in a lake very near the center of Hanoi.
Captain John McCain III served in the United States Navy in the Vietnam War
Service started: 1958
Unit(s): VA-163, USS Oriskany (CVA-34)
Service ended: April 1981
Roll of Honor
Captain John McCain III was A Prisoner of War for 1966 days during the Vietnam War.

John was immediately captured and suffered multiple injuries, including three breaks in one of his arms, a break in the other arm, and a broken leg. [2] One of his captors bayoneted him and slammed a rifle butt into his shoulder. John was in very bad physical condition when he taken to the notorious Hanoi Hilton (Hỏa Lò Prison), according to Medal of Honor recipient and cell mate Bud Day and many of the other prisoners who fought to keep him alive. The North Vietnamese didn't really expect him to live, but when they found out about his father's position (John Jr was serving as the Admiral of the fleet in the Pacific Ocean) they gave him some minimal medical treatment and then let other POWs take care of him in hopes he would make propaganda statements for them. Those POWs who cared for him say that they really didn't expect him to live either. He worked diligently to regain his strength and succeeded. Later in the war, fellow POW Michael Scott Kerr would circumnavigate their shared room everyday in an exercise regimen to try to gain strength and endurance in order to return to active duty. John returned during Operation Homecoming on 14 March 1973. [2]

He was flown from Gia Lam Airport, Hanoi, North Vietnam at 1455 hours and arrived at Clark Air Base, Philippines at 1715 hours. His C-141 was tail number 40641.

John retired from the United States Navy on April 1st, 1981 as a Captain. [4]


John went from serving his country in the military to serving his country as a public servant, and was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Arizona's 1st District, serving from January 1983 until January 1987.[2] In January 1987 he ran for and was elected to hold a seat as one of Arizona's Senators. [2] He served as a Senator from Arizona until his death in 2018. [2]

John also ran for president on the Republican ticket twice, but did not succeed in those endeavors. [2]


Silver Star Citation ... For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 27 October to 8 December 1967. His captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.

  1. Silver Star Medal.
  2. Legion of Merit with 1 Bronze Star and V Device.
  3. Bronze Star Medal.
  4. Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Bronze Stars and V Device.
  5. Purple Heart with 1 Bronze Star.
  6. Meritorious Service Medal.
  7. Air Medal with Bronze Star and a 2.
  8. Navy Commendation Medal with Bronze Star and V Device.
  9. Navy Combat Action Ribbon.

The full ribbon set is available here.

Death and Burial

After a long battle with brain cancer (glioblastoma), Senator John McCain died on 25 Aug 2018 at his family ranch in Cornville, close to Sedona, Arizona, USA. [1] [2] He was surrounded by his family, including his wife Cindy.[1] He was a few days short of 82 years old and had served his country in one way or another for over sixty years. [1] He was buried on 3 September with full honors including a Missing Man Flyover and a 21 Gun Salute at his alma mater, the Naval Academy, Annapolis, in the Category: United States Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland according to his wishes. At least 20 of his fellow Prisoners of War attended the ceremony.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 John McCain official senatorial page, accessed 27 Aug 2018. This page includes John's farewell letter to his constituents and the nation.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 McFadden, Robert D, "John McCain, War Hero, Senator, Presidential Contender, Dies at 81", New York Times online,, 25 Aug 2018
  3. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Aug 2018), John Mccain in household of John Mccain, res: Ward#3, Annapolis, Election District #6, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA; citing ed#2-38, sheet#17A, line#6, family#395, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA#T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census 1790-2007, RG#29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll#1502.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Wikipedia: John McCain
  5. Nam-POW List

See also:

  • Wikidata: Item Q10390, en:Wikipedia help.gif
  • "War Stories," Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (season#3, episode#6). PBS 09 Feb 2016.
  • Man of the People: The Life of John McCain, by Paul Alexander
  • Roberts, Gary. "On the Ancestry, Royal Descent, and English and American Notable Kin of Senator John Sidney McCain IV", New England Historic Genealogical Society (01 Apr 2008). Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  • Wyatt, Barbara Powers. We Came Home. Toluca Lake, CA: P.O.W. Publications, 1977.
  • Feinberg, Barbara. John McCain: Serving His Country, 18 (Millbrook Press 2000) ISBN 0-7613-1974-3.
  • Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons v1 Naval Historical Center. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
  • Tributes
  • Ruston Daily Leader, Ruston, Louisiana on 23 Dec 1970, page 8 entitled: List of U.S. Prisoners in North Vietnam. They are broken down by state of record (not birth). John is in the Florida section in Orange Park.
  • Iorfida, Chris, "John McCain, war hero and former U.S. presidential candidate, dead at 81" CBC News, 25 Aug 2018.
  • Musil, Steven, "John McCain, senator and war hero, dies at 81." C|Net News, August 25, 2018.
  • NAM POW Network, received only by 4th Allied POWs
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #192563826

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Memories: 3
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
God bless Senator McCain, a Great American Statesman of uncommon courage, candor, and valor.

I was fortunate to bump into him in Westwood (Los Angeles) one day in the Summer of 2007. He was in the midst of his Presidential campaign so I wondered "where's his entourage?!" when I saw him standing there in the lobby of my building quietly talking with a couple of people -- and no Secret Service in sight! As he and his associate began to leave I piped up "Senator McCain?" (he turned around) "I've voted Democrat for more than 20 years" (a look of concern flickered across his features) "but I'm an Air Force Veteran and I'd be glad to vote for you for President if you get the nomination!" and he gave a great big smile and said "Thanks, I appreciate that!" and went on his way.

It turned out he'd just had to fire some of his campaign staff because he was having trouble running the traditional front-runner campaign his handlers had wanted him to...but even though he was having his worst day at the office in many years he was calm and collected. So I was glad to be able to keep my word to him on Election Day (even though nearly all of my friends with here in LA were Dems who wanted me to vote for his telegenic young opponent).

One of the things I most admired about McCain was how well he worked with people who weren't in his party -- he was a Patriot first and a partisan second. He was friendly to everyone. As we all should be.

posted 29 Nov 2021 by Travis Fields   [thank Travis]
We disagreed on almost Everything. But, I never doubted your loyalty to our Country, or your desire to Serve her the Best you could...with Honor and Civility.

You will be missed.

posted 3 Sep 2018 by Merriam Langdon   [thank Merriam]
His poignant final message to his fellow Americans was Believe always in the promise and greatness in America because nothing is inevitable here.
posted 31 Aug 2018 by Darlene (Scott) Kerr   [thank Darlene]
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Comments: 23

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A Great man! He endured so much more than most of us can even imagine. He would have made a great President! I am honored to say he was my 14 cousin once removed on my mothers side.
posted by Gary Bybee
Found an article showing that John McCain's older sister Jean Alexandra "Sandy" (McCain) Morgan had passed away back in November 2019.


posted by Robert Ward
Pretty distant 19th cousin 1x removed
posted by [Living Davison]
I am from northeast Scotland and am proud to say that Senator McCain and me share a 21st great grandfather.
posted by William Lindsay
Under “Family” , first line: 2nd paragraph, please change the word “we” to “he”. Thank you for this profile for a man that truly loved his country.
I am VERY pleased to say that John McCain and I are 15th cousins. We share a 14th great grandfather.
John and Teresa are 17th cousins once removed. We are both descendants of James Butler.
I hardly ever agreed with him politically, but I GREATLY honor him as a patriot and an honorable man!
posted by Theodore Palmer
Thank you, for your love & service to our country. And for trying your best to think of We the People, not just one Party. You will be sorely missed. A Fellow American, Democrat, Carole Taylor
posted by Carole Taylor
John and Dave are 15th cousins

John McCain III and Dave Martin are both descendants of John Houston.

posted by David Martin
His father used Jr, making the III correct.
posted by Aaron Gullison
John McCain went by John McCain III per sources attached that is all that matters.
posted by Robin Lee