down: October 24, 1949
as DD 928
reclassified to DL
3: February 9, 1951
Launched: July 12, 1952 (as DL 3)
Commissioned: as DL 3: October 12, 1953
as DL 3:
to DDG 36
Commissioned: as DDG 36: September 6, 1969
Decommissioned: as DDG 36: April 29, 1978
April 30, 1978; sold for scrap:
Marc Andrew Mitscher 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 a senator from Arizona.
McCain was born in Teoc, Mississippi , and graduated from the Naval Academy
in 1906 after attending a few years at the University of Mississippi. His
first assignments were ships of the Asiatic Squadron. During the American
occupation of Veracruz in the Mexican revolution he served in San Diego, and
remained on the ship during 1918 while she performed Atlantic escort duty.
In the years between the world wars, McCain served in many ships, including
Maryland, New Mexico, and Nitro . His first command was the Sirius . In 1936,
at the age of 51, he was designated a Naval Aviator, and from 1937 to 1939 he
commanded the aircraft carrier Ranger, contributing much to the development
of carrier tactics for the war to come. For the first year of World War II he
served as Commander of Air Forces for Western Sea Frontier and the South
Pacific Force. In October 1942 McCain became Chief of the Bureau of
Aeronautics and in August 1943 rose to the rank of Vice Admiral as Deputy
Chief of Naval Operations (Air).
In 1944 he returned to the Pacific Theater, succeeding Marc Mitscher as
commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force, which for over a year operated
almost continuously in support of the great amphibious operations. McCain's
exceedingly skillful tactics protecting Canberra (CA-70) and Houston (CA-81)
in October 1944 earned him the Navy Cross, and the daring forays of his
mobile force had much to do with the eventual victory.
Vice Admiral McCain died in September 1945, just after arriving back in the
United States, and was posthumously appointed Admiral effective that date.
For his outstanding performance as an air planner and carrier task force commander
he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars; Secretary
James Forrestal commented: "He was a fighting man all the way
USS John S. McCain, originally designated DD 928
but reclassified DL 3 in 1951, was launched by Bath Iron Works Corporation,
Bath, Maine, 12 July 1952; sponsored by Mrs. John S. McCain, Jr.,
daughter-in-law of Admiral John McCain, Sr.; and commissioned 12 October 1953
at Boston Naval Shipyard, Commander E. R. King in command.
John S. McCain spent the first year of her commissioned service undergoing
sea trials and shakedown training in the Atlantic and Caribbean. One of the
new Mitscher class of large and fast destroyer leaders, she carried the latest
in armament and embodied new ideas in hull design and construction. The ship
arrived Norfolk 19 May 1955 to begin service with the Operational Development
Force in testing new equipment and tactics. She operated out of Norfolk until
5 November 1956, when she steamed from Hampton Roads bound for the Panama
Canal and San Diego. After her arrival 4 December 1956 she spent 5 months on
maneuvers in California waters.
The frigate sailed for her first Far East cruise 11 April 1957, and after a
visit to Australia joined the Formosa Patrol, helping to prevent a military
clash between Nationalist and Communist Chinese forces. She returned from
this important duty to San Diego 29 September 1957.
John S. McCain steamed to a new homeport, Pearl Harbor, in early 1958, and
took part in fleet maneuvers and antisubmarine training for the next 8
months. In early September the ship deployed to the Formosa-South China Sea
area to help the 7th Fleet deter a possible Communist invasion of Quemoy and
Matsu Islands. She remained in this critical region until returning to Pearl
Harbor 1 March 1959.
The veteran ship made her third deployment to the Far East in the fall of
1959, departing 8 September and moving directly to the coast of troubled
Laos. During October she was off Calcutta, India, carrying antibiotics and
donating food and money to flood victims. In January 1960 the versatile ship
rescued the entire 41-man crew of Japanese freighter Shinwa Maru during a
storm in the South China Sea. Returning to Pearl Harbor 25 February, she
began a well-earned period of overhaul and shipboard training.
John S. McCain departed 7 March 1961 for another deployment with 7th Fleet,
spending 6 months off Laos and Vietnam. She resumed operations in Hawaiian
waters after her return to Pearl Harbor 25 September With the resumption of
atmospheric nuclear testing by Russia some months later, the United States
went ahead with plans for her own series of Pacific tests, and John S. McCain
steamed to Johnston Island 27 April 1962 to take part in the experiments. For
the next 6 months she operated between Hawaii and Johnston Island, departing
for her next cruise to the Far East 28 November 1962. There she returned to
patrol duties in the South China Sea and Gulf of Tonkin, buttressing the
South Vietnamese government in its fight against the Viet Cong. She also took
part in Formosa Patrol in the Straits before returning to Pearl Harbor 16
June 1963. Antisubmarine warfare exercises followed, and the ship got
underway again 23 March 1964 for operations with a hunter-killer group in
Japanese and Philippine waters. During this cruise she took part in exercises
with ships from other SEATO nations as well as units of the 7th Fleet. John
S. McCain returned to Pearl Harbor 11 August. She operated in Hawaiian waters
until the spring of 1965. She was reclassified DDG-36, 15 April and returned
to the West Coast. In August the frigate returned to Pearl Harbor, and then
sailed on a 6-month deployment in the western Pacific. In the fall, John S.
McCain steamed off South Vietnam. On 24 November she shelled Viet Cong
positions. Two days later she sailed to Hong Kong and ended the year in
After further operations in the Orient early in 1966, John S. McCain returned
to the East Coast.
She was converted to a guided missile destroyer by the Philadelphia Naval
Shipyard and designated DDG 36 on 15 March 1967. USS John S. McCain was
decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 29 April 1978,
and sold for scrap in January 1980.
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