Sen. John McCain: War hero, American icon and political power broker

Sen. John McCain: War hero, American icon and political power broker

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now/AP) - Arizona Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer on Wednesday, July 19, is a war hero, American icon and one of the most powerful politicians in our country.

McCain was born on a Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone on Aug. 29, 1936.

He attended schools in Alexandria, VA, and later graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958.

He entered the Naval Academy in June 1954 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1981.

McCain rose to the rank of captain during his 22 years of service. In 1967, his plane was shot down over Hanoi, North Vietnam, in October 1967 while on his 23rd bombing mission in a Skyhawk dive bomber. He ejected from the plane, knocking him unconscious, and breaking both his arms and a leg.

He landed in a lake the capital city, he said in recalling the incident.

McCain was taken prisoner and stayed in the infamous Hanoi Hilton while in captivity for more than five years.

He was given bad medical treatment by the North Vietnamese which left McCain with lifelong injuries. He spent two years in solitary confinement, and later gave a riveting account of his time in North Vietnam.

He was released in March 1974 along with others from a POW camp. After Vietnam, he served in the nation's capital as a naval liaison to the U.S. Senate, a body in which he would later become a fixture.

McCain's naval honors include the Sliver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, and Distinguished Flying Cross.

He was elected to Congress in 1982 and 1984 and served until Jan. 3, 1987.

In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was reelected in 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2016.

He lost the GOP presidential nomination to George W. Bush in 2000 and ran against Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

He was the first GOP nominee to select a woman to be a vice-presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The ticket failed to gain lasting traction in the face of an inspiring Obama campaign, especially following a financial crash in the fall of 2008 while George W. Bush was president

McCain, known for sometimes disagreeing with the Republican party line and making deals with Democrats, became the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015. The SAS is one of the most powerful committees in the country.

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