A Group of Heroes

Veteran: Captain John McCain
ArtistMike Koulermos
WriterBob Schulman

Name, Rank and Serial Number. 

October 26, 1967: 

The 23rd and last bombing mission over North Vietnam for a 4E Skyhawk, ended with a surface-to-air missile, destroying the aircraft’s right wing.  

Not a good day for John McCain, since it was the plane he had been flying. 

The sheer force of his ejection broke his right leg and both arms, and he was saved from drowning by a Vietnamese civilian.

Such acts of kindness became a distant memory, as Captain John McCain became a P.O.W. at Hỏa Lò Prison.

Ordered to identify future targets for bombing, McCain replied with his name, rank and serial number. 

Discovering his father was Admiral John S. McCain Jr., he got the offer of an early release to tell the world how humane his captors were. 

“My answer is no, he said.” 

“What is your final answer, they later asked after a little more “persuasion.” 

“My final answer is no,” he said.

“It will be very bad for you now,” they said. 

They weren’t kidding. 

A different guard beat him every day for up to three hours, battering his face, re-breaking his arm and cracking his ribs. 

He somehow gutted it out and for over five years refused to answer questions that would have endangered his fellow aviators. 

He was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Fly Cross, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for the 23 missions he flew. 

He came home and has given over 40 years to the service of our country. 

He’s put up with the criticism of people who couldn’t have walked a minute in his shoes. 

He never considered himself a hero, because he was with, “a group of heroes.” 

John Sidney McCain III fits our description.