Skip to comments.My promised article concerning McCain and the USS Forrestal(CV-59) Fire
Posted on 07/23/2015 12:28:26 PM PDT by US Navy Vet
click here to read article
Bumping the thread.
There are rumors and accounts that the zuni rocket came from his plane due to a pilot error. There are also accounts that he did a wet start which cause the rocket to fire.
Neither is correct.
Here’s the other side of the story:
The USS Forrestal CV-59
McCain was acknowledged by many of his peers at the time as being an unsafe pilot and irresponsible hot dog by the time of the Forrestal incident McCain had crashed four aircraft that he was piloting, a record that in any other naval aviator would have ended a career and one of the unsafe practices that McCain was notorious for was a thing known as a wet start of his aircraft.
A wet start is when the pilot of a jet allows kerosene or jet fuel to pool in the engine and then, once enough fuel has accumulated, the pilot ignites his engine which results in a huge flame being shot to the rear. The purpose of this is to scare the shit out of the pilot in the plane immediately behind you who is waiting to take off.
Wet starts are illegal in the Navy but were common during the Vietnam era among hot young fighter jocks like McCain and by all accounts he enjoyed performing them whenever he thought he could get away with it.
On July 29th 1967, John McCain was in his A-4 Skyhawk aboard the USS Forrestal waiting to be taxied onto the steam catapult in order to launch from the deck of the ship.
Behind his aircraft was an F-4 Phantom jet fully loaded with ordinance including M-34 air to ground Zuni rockets.
At 10:52 AM as McCain waited for take off instructions reports from sailors on the scene indicate that he apparently decided to shake up the pilot of the F-4 to his rear and he performed a wet start on his jet.
Hot shot pilot McCain is standing on the right.
The flame from his aircrafts engine shot back reaching the Phantom and ignited the solid fuel motor on one of the Zuni missiles under the wing of that aircraft. The missile shot across the flight deck of the crowded carrier and slammed into the belly tank of a parked A-4D Skyhawk next to McCains craft and ignited the 400 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel in the tank.
When the fuel tank exploded it knocked two 1,000 pound bombs off their mounts and the burning fuel that spread across the deck ignited one of the bombs. The resulting explosion started a chain reaction, cooking off ordinance that was being loaded onto waiting aircraft all across the rear of the huge ship.
Fire fighting efforts on July 29th, 1967.
One young sailor ran into the flames and found the strength to pick up a red hot 250 pound bomb that was on the verge of exploding and carried it to the side of the ship and threw it overboard.
The flight deck fire was brought under control in about an hour but the burning fuel that leaked into the hanger deck below caused even more ordinance to explode and that fire took more than 12 hours to extinguish.
At the end of the ordeal 131 sailors were dead either blown to pieces or burned to death and 168 were badly injured and before the smoke had even cleared or all the dead and wounded counted the navy had rushed John McCain off the aircraft carrier to the USS Oriskany, the only uninjured person on board the Foresstal to be evacuated in this way.
Sailors who were on board that day contend that the Navy removed McCain from the stricken carrier because they feared for his life at the hands of his fellow shipmates.
Needless to say, many of the sailors who lived through that horror have claimed that the Navy apparently hushed up much of the investigation and scrubbed the official findings so that McCain would never be able to be held to account and as of this date McCain has refused to release the complete set of his Navy records for examination something that John Kerry did in 2004 during his presidential run.
I'll take your word for it...but that won't change my opinion of that crazy old coot one bit.
I remember watching them right before my firefighter training in Navy boot camp in the 70's.
Just curious, if one is in the navy, do they have to volunteer for sub duty or are they automatically assigned?
If they're assigned, do they have to undergo any kind of psychological testing? Because as for me, I could never serve on a sub, I'd go crazy in those confined quarters.......
As a side note, a close friend served on subs back around 1957 - 1960 and was on the Ray #271 and the Trumpet Fish #425 which he said was sold to some south American country, I think Columbia.
LCDR White made it out of his aircraft but died in the blast from the bomb that was released, as did McCains deck crew. McCain has consistently claimed it was his aircraft that was it by the Zuni and that this triggered the bomb release ( actually McCain claims his aircraft released 2 bombs but it was one bomb) .... The accident investigation said that the bomb ( which killed many and blew 11 aircraft overboard) was released from White’s aircraft .... So why is this so important? The differences in McCain’s account vs the accident report details as have been released?
Well it seems A-4 pilots and ordnance personnel believe(d) that if McCain plane was not hit by the Zuni, the only way a bomb would release would be if the pilot, in his panic to scramble out of the cockpit, hit the 2 switches necessary to trigger the release. So it is important to McCain’s narrative that his aircraft was hit by the missile and resulted in dropped ordnance ( which he always claimed) but it was important in the Navy accident report to state that the bomb was released by White’s aircraft ..... to dispel the beliefs ( right or wrong) that McCain screwed up while exitng his aircraft - which assuredly would have ended his career
What is indisputable is that McCain visited the medical bay where he saw ( but claimd to not recognize) his deck chief dying and left without treatment ( eyewitness) and McCain never claimed any injury. However he did get in a helicopter the day after he accident and headed to Saigon with. NYT reporter who had come to the Forrestal to interview the Admiral’s son. The carrier was stll burning and the dead still missing when McCain skipped the memorial servuce to head to Saigon for some “ much welcome R&r” ( his words) ... Is it possible he was the only officer to to leave the ship within 24 hours except the medivac’d?
My other question would be, what Navy Officer who is lucky enough to walk out of a conflagration partially triggered albeit accidentally by his own aircraft, leaves a burning ship and skips the memorial service for his squadron mates, his deck crew and the rest of the ship’s company?
Ignorant bull crap.
Your opinion. Many others hold a different view including sailors on deck at the time.
A very sobering version ....
More telling - in my opinion - is the “reputation” he earned for wet starting - multiple times! - in the first place,
for mid-air “playing games” and “pilot-caused-incidents that lost TWO planes (plus another for “engine problems” that cannot be traced now,
and for getting the reputation for “plying his family” without remorse ....
Please explain how "wet starting" his plane could have started a fire when the engine was pointed out over the deck towards the sea.
After flying low and fast over Spain, McCain returned to the USS Intrepid with ten feet of Spanish power line dangling from his airplane, which also had a severed oil line. The Spanish were not pleased.
I am reminded of the Cavalese cable car disaster of 1998, in which an EA-6B Prowler doing 540 mph at an altitude of between 260 and 330 feet severed a cable car cable, killing 20 people.
You’re welcome. As you must know first hand the Forrestal fire changed the protocols for Naval firefighter training forever. Prior to that only the fire crews had training in fire fighting.
McCain was not rushed off the Forrestal to the Oriskany by the Navy
He asked a NYT reporter who had come out to the Forrrestal to interview him, for a ride to Saigon in his helo and was interviewed there drinking scotch 2 days later during some “ much welcome R&R”
He rejoined the crippled Forrestal about a week later in Subic for some accident debriefings in which he claimed the Zuni hit his aircraft ( false) and caused his aircraft to release 2 bombs ( it was one bomb and the circumstances of the release are not open information)
Then John joined his Dad in Europe and screwed around for 3 months waiting for the accident report because damsure the Orisknay was not going to accept him pending the findings
Once the accident report pinned the released bomb on the aircraft of the dead LCDR Fred White, John was absolved ( despite his continuing claims it was his bombs) to go and fly again and he reported to the Oriskany in about October and was shot down weeks later- and then finally became a war hero
I am agreeing that THIS TIME, in THIS CONFIGURATION, McCain apparently could not have caused the fire in the other aircraft that lit off the Zuni.
It was his reputation for multiple incidents like that that WAS EARNED for starting such fires that caused the men on his ship to apparently have such disdain/hatred for him.
Probably not since the Zuni rocket came from an aircraft across the deck in his direction and was the initial cause of the fire.
I despise McLame; but a pilot wielding an extinguisher in that already hugh fire would of not been helpful to the DC crews
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Agreed....he would have just been in the way.
On a similar vein, when it comes to the Clintons, Obamas,etal we are probably just as well off they WEREN’T ‘leading’ young, USEFUL men into battle.
To repeat, I am agreeing with you. McCain did not start THIS fire ....
The other five airplanes he lost?
I would love to see just what it was that Kerry "released" in 2004. I know for one thing it wasn't the circumstances surrounding the awarding of 3 (count 'em!) 3 purple hearts. So I suspect that this was written by someone on the "other" side of the political spectrum. But I could be wrong.
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