41 years ago tomorrow, on July 29. 1967 a missile accidentally fired from an aircraft on the deck of the USS Forrestal. It flew across the flight deck, slammed into another plane, detonated that aircraft, its fuel, and its weapons. Shrapnel from that explosion punctured a dozen other aircraft that were waiting at the aft end of the ship-fully fueled and loaded with bombs for a massive airstrike. In the cockpit of the one of those planes-sitting right next to the plane that had accidentally launched the first missile, was John McCain. Less that 2 seconds after that first missile launched, the entire flight deck was an inferno. Pilots who had been strapped into their planes waiting for their turn to launch were trapped and surrounded by burning jet fuel, launching missiles, a hailstorm of shrapnel, and thousands of pounds of bombs.
John McCain unstrapped himself, climbed out on the nose of his A4 Skyhawk plane, jumped, and rolled through burning jet fuel. On his way to safety, some of the bombs on the burning planes began to explode, and he was knocked down by the shockwaves and by shrapnel piercing his body.
The crew and airwing of the USS Forrestal who were there that day deserve to have this day remembered and honored. That includes Senator John McCain.
Is this a matter for the Presidential campaign? Well, it is an item on Senator McCain’s resume, and it says a lot about the man’s service to this nation, his heroism, professionalism, committment, and more. It’s worth mentioning in the campaign in the same way that one might point out that Senator Obama was a community organizer.
Think about it, and more importantly, remember the crew and aircrew of the Forrestal who fought and died that day.