From Rick Davis, Campaign Manager for John McCain:
Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the day John McCain was shot down and became a guest of the North Vietnamese, spending much of his captivity in a prison camp which would come to be known as the Hanoi Hilton.
Earlier that year, he narrowly escaped death aboard the USS Forrestal. A missile misfired on the deck of the carrier and it hit the fuel tank on John McCain's plane. He jumped from the cockpit of his fighter jet into the inferno below, rolling to escape. After the fire on the Forrestal, he would have been eligible to safely return home, but John McCain volunteered to continue fighting and transferred to the USS Oriskany.
On October 26th, 1967, while on his 23rd bombing mission, a surface to air missile hit McCain's plane, forcing him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg. He fell into a lake where he used his teeth to inflate his life vest. A North Vietnamese mob dragged him out of the water, where someone in the crowd bayoneted him and turned over to the local authorities.
By the time John reached the infamous prison, he had received precious little medical treatment and was tossed into the care of Colonel Bud Day. His captors preferred that he die in American hands. But John McCain didn't die. Colonel Day nursed him back to health.
The Vietnamese soon realized that they were holding the son of the US Commander of the Pacific Fleet - they called him "The Prince". They offered him an early release, but McCain knew accepting an offer would violate the military code of conduct through which he pledged, "I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy." He repeatedly refused early release.
The story of McCain's five and a half years of torture, beatings and solitary confinement is well known. Less known is the powerful faith he developed in his God, his country and his fellow prisoners of war. He says his closest relationships and friendships today are with the men who served with him as a POW.
John McCain came home more committed than ever to the notion of honor and service to his country. He has spent a lifetime in the service of the American people. We are lucky that a leader of his caliber, intellect and bravery is running for president.”
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