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  1. John Sidney "Slew" McCain was a U.S. Navy admiral and the patriarch of the McCain military family. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II. McCain was a pioneer of aircraft carrier operations. Serving in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, in 1942 he commanded all land-based air operations in support of the Guadalcanal campaign, and in 1944–45 he aggressively led the Fast Carrier Task Force. His operations off the Philippines and Okinawa and ...

    • 1906–1945
    • Admiral
    • Early Life, Education and Family
    • Early Career and World War I
    • Interwar Period
    • World War II
    • Death
    • Family Heritage
    • Namesakes
    • References

    McCain was born in Carroll County, Mississippi, the son of plantation ownerJohn Sidney McCain (b. Mississippi, 1851 – d. 1934) and wife Elizabeth-Ann Young (b. Mississippi, 1855 – d. 1922), who married in 1877. His grandparents were William Alexander McCain (b. 1812, North Carolina - 1863) and Mary Louisa McAllister, who were married in 1840. He attended the University of Mississippi for two years, where he joined the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and then decided to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, where his brother William Alexander McCain was enrolled. To practice for its entrance exams, he decided to take the ones for the United States Naval Academy; when he passed those and earned an appointment, he decided to attend there instead.In doing so, he would leave behind his Mississippi plantation and adopt the Navy's itinerant life. At the Naval Academy, his performance was lackluster. He failed his annual physical on account of defective hearing, but the condi...

    Soon after earning his commission, McCain sailed aboard the Great White Fleet's world cruise from 1907 to 1909, joining the battleship USS Connecticut for the last stretch home. His next assignment was to the Asiatic Squadron, after which the Navy ordered him to the naval base at San Diego, California.During 1914 and 1915 he was executive officer and engineering officer aboard the armored cruiser USS Colorado, patrolling off the Pacific coast of then-troubled Mexico. In September 1915, he joined the armored cruiser USS San Diego , flagship for the Pacific Fleet. With U.S. entry into World War I, McCain and San Diego served on convoy duty in the Atlantic, escorting shipping through the first dangerous leg of their passages to Europe. Based out of Tompkinsville, New York, and Halifax, the San Diego operated in the weather-torn, submarine-infested North Atlantic. McCain left the San Diego in May 1918, two months before she was sunk, when he was assigned to the Bureau of Navigation.

    In the 1920s and early 1930s, McCain served aboard the USS Maryland, the USS New Mexico, and the USS Nitro. His first command was the USS Sirius. In 1935, McCain enrolled in flight training. Graduating at 52 in 1936, he became one of the oldest men to become a naval aviator and from 1937 to 1939 he commanded the aircraft carrier the USS Ranger. In January 1941, after promotion to rear admiral, he commanded the Aircraft Scouting Force of the Atlantic Fleet. Physically short in stature and of rather thin frame, McCain was known for being gruff and very profane; he liked to drink and gamble. He also showed courage and was regarded as a natural, inspirational leader of men.In the words of one biographical profile, McCain "preferred contentious conflict to cozy compromise."

    After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Navy appointed McCain as Commander, Aircraft, South Pacific in May 1942. As COMAIRSOPAC, he commanded all land-based Allied air operations supporting the Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands and south Pacific area. Aircraft under McCain's command, including the Cactus Air Force, located at Henderson Fieldon Guadalcanal, were key in supporting the successful effort to defend Guadalcanal from Japanese efforts to retake the island during this time. In October 1942, the Navy ordered him to Washington, D.C. to head the Bureau of Aeronautics. In August 1943, he became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air with the rank of vice admiral. McCain returned to combat in the Pacific in August 1944 with his appointment as commander of a carrier group in Marc Mitscher's Task Force 58 (TF 58), part of Raymond Spruance's Fifth Fleet. In this role, McCain participated in the Marianas campaign, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea...

    By war's end in August 1945, the stress of combat operations had worn McCain down to a weight of only 100 pounds. He requested home leave to recuperate but Halsey insisted that he be present at the Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Departing immediately after the ceremony, McCain died just 4 days later of a heart attack at his home in Coronado, California on September 6, 1945. His death was front page news. McCain Sr. was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. McCain was posthumously promoted to full admiral in 1949, based upon a resolution of the U.S. Congress. This followed a recommendation of Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews, who said that McCain's combat commendations would have earned him the promotion had he not died so soon after the war. During his career McCain was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and two Gold Starsin lieu of subsequent awards.

    His grandfather, William Alexander McCain (b. North Carolina, 1812 – d. 1864), died while serving as a private in Company I, 5th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, Confederate States Army. Archive files indicate he deserted on February 15, 1864, and was later held as prisoner in Memphis. He died in a hospital on April 26, 1864. During his life, he owned a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) plantation in Carroll County, Mississippi known alternately as "Teoc" (the Choctaw name for the creek it was located upon) and "Waverly", as well as 52 slaves (some of whose descendants share the surname and call themselves the "black McCains"). He was married in 1840 to Mary Louisa McAllister (b. Alabama, 1812 – d. 1882). William's son, the first John Sidney McCain, known as J.S. McCain (which may explain the apparent discrepancy in Senator John S. McCain being the III, rather than the IV), served as Sheriff and, later, President of the Board of Supervisors of Carroll County.McCain's older brother, another William...

    McCain Field, the operations center at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi was named in his honor. The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DL-3) (in service 1953–1978) was named for him, and the destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)(in service 1994–present) was named for both of the Admirals John S. McCain. McCain was a would-be author who wrote fiction that was never published, including some adventure stories under the name Casper Clubfoot.


    1. Alexander, Paul (2002). Man of the People: The Life of John McCain. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-22829-X. 2. Boatner, Mark M. (1996). The Biographical Dictionary of World War II. Novato, California: Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-548-3. 3. Robert Drury, Tom Clavin (2006). Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-948-0.

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  3. John S. McCain Sr. Biography John Sidney "Slew" McCain (August 9, 1884 – September 6, 1945) was a U.S. Navy admiral and the patriarch of the McCain military family. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II.

  4. Grandfather: Admiral John S. “Slew” McCain Sr. was born in 1884 and graduated from USNA in 1906. He served as the engineering officer on San Diego (ACR-6) during World War I until May 1918....

  5. John Sidney McCain, Sr. (August 9, 1884–September 6, 1945) was an Admiral in the United States Navy, notable as a commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force in World War II. His son John S. McCain, Jr. was also an admiral (the only father-son pair of full admirals in US history), and his grandson John McCain III, also a naval officer, (retired ...

  6. John S. McCain Sr. John Sidney "Slew" McCain Sr. (August 9, 1884 – September 6, 1945) was a United States Navy admiral. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II. His son was John S. McCain, Jr. and his grandson is John McCain . McCain, Sr. was born on August 9, 1884 in Carroll County, Mississippi.

  7. This is the wiki of "John S. McCain Sr.". John Sidney "Slew" McCain (August 9, 1884 – September 6, 1945) was a U.S. Navy admiral and the patriarch of the McCain military family.

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