I hate to defend McLame because he’s been a traitor since the day he first took office as a Congressman and worked with Kerry to shut down investigations into POWs. But he actually was a hero that day on the Forrestal. After he escaped his plane he helped another pilot escape the flames IIRC. No easy thing with Jet A fuel blazing up everywhere.
JOHN MCCAIN’S ROLE IN THE USS FORRESTAL FIRE THAT LEFT 168 DEAD
Date: Wednesday, 27-Feb-2008 23:01:46
“Now You Will Know The Rest Of The Story”
McCain crashed 5 jets, plus he was responsible for the horrible USS Forrestal fire In 1967.
Surviving crewmen and those who investigated the Forrestal fire case reported that McCain deliberately ‘wet-started’ his A-4E Skyhawk to shake up the guy in the F-4 Phantom behind his A-4.
‘Wet-starts’, done either deliberately (the starter motor switch allowed kerosene to pool in the engine and give a wet start) or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft. In McCain’s case, the ‘wet-start’ ‘cooked off’ and launched the M34 Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that punctured the Skyhawk’s fuel tank, knocked the M-65 1000 lb. bomb off it’s 500 lb. rated mount, and touched off the explosions and massive fire.
The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration, along with 167 of his fellow Forrestal shipmates (including those who died later from wounds suffered).
‘Wet starting’ was a common practice among young ‘hot-dog’ pilots. McCain was quickly (they were still counting the Forrestal dead) transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred).
Description: XA4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 137812 experiencing a wet start (note the pool of JP4 on the ground and the tongue of flame from the tailpipe).
John McCain And The USS Forrestal Fire