McCain betrays POW/MIAs

Conservative Republicans explain why Sen. McCain
obstructs POW/MIA investigations

Havana Granma article



Havana GRANMA 24 Jan 70 p 7

[Text] Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist residing in Cuba, returned last week
from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam where he was invited; and in his notebook he
brought back some journalistic news: an interview with a North American pilot captured
in the DRV after bombing Hanoi on 26 October 1967. The meeting between him and the
pilot took place in an office of the Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations in Hanoi.

The pilot interviewed is Lt Cmdr John Sidney McCain, son and grandson of American
Navy admirals. His father, as the Yankee prisoner declared, is higher ranking than
General Abrams, who commands the Yankee aggressor troops in South Vietnam; despite
this, Johnson gave orders directly to Abrams, passing over McCain's father, who has
a long history of services of aggression in Korea, among other imperialist merits. As
is seen, Lt Commander John Sidney has a very good name...

Following are the notes from Dr. Barral's interview with the Yankee pilot:

Could you tell me your name serial number, and rank?

"My name is John Sidney McCain and I am a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy--
serial No. 624787."

He added: "I understand and speak some Spanish. I studied it in school and I have
been in Spain several times. On one of those occasions I visited the Naval Academy
and met Prince Carlos…"

In the course of the interview, on various occasions he showed that knowledge of the
language, saying some words, dates, and so forth in Spanish, or [using it] when he
thought the interpreter was seeking the corresponding French word.

Naturally, from the very beginning this established a more direct communication between
us, and more than one question or my response was made directly in Spanish.

[End page 1]

Immediately afterward I asked him about the date and circumstances of his capture.

"On 26 October 1967 I was overflying Hanoi in an A4E plane based on the carrier
Oriskany when my plane was hit by a ground-to-air-missile.

"I bailed out, colliding in the air with the remains of the plane, and I landed in one
of the lakes in the center of Hanoi, in the middle of the water. On landing I tried
to get free of my parachute, but I could not move, and I did not realize why I could
not move my arms or legs, but it was because of the injuries."


"Yes, as a result of colliding with the remains of the plane, I fractured my right leg
at the knee, and both arms, the right one in three places. Moreover, I dislocated
both shoulders."

When he told me this I superficially examined his ability to move his arms, which is
almost unrestricted (only he has some difficulty bending his arm all the way). Also
his grip is normal. Aside from this, he uses a crutch on the right side only, which
shows normal functional ability of the extremity most affected by the traumatism.

What happened next? That is, what was the capture itself like?

"Well, many people gathered around since it was the center of Hanoi at midday."

Soldiers, militiamen, or civilians?

"I could not determine exactly, because they had removed their clothing in order to take
me out of the water."

Well, go on.

"From there, they took me to a military hospital in Hanoi, a large hospital where they
operated on me and attended to the multiple fractures. I understand I received more
than a liter of blood..."

Were you the object of any physical or moral violence?

"No, although at the time of capture I could sense the peoples' hate or indignation,
there were no insults of violence of any type. On the contrary, you have seen how I
am recovering from my injuries."

But were you not afraid of being the object of violent treatment if you were captured…?

"Actually, I never thought I would become a prisoner; therefore those fears never came

Did you never think of the possibility of being captured?

"No, I was traveling at a high altitude. I felt completely safe in the plane…I am
considered one of the best pilots..."

We had closed one subject, between sips of coffee enjoyed equally by the pilot
and me, but the cakes and oranges have not been touched. I motioned to the pilot, and
I began to peel an orange. Soon afterward, we reopened the conversation.

[End page 2]

What led you to join the U.S. Navy?

"Mainly for a family reason, since I have many relatives in that branch of service. In
particular, my grandfather was outstanding in World War II; he was one of those who
made the Japanese sign the act of surrender, and a Naval destroyer bears his name.
And my father is also an admiral; he is chief of the Pacific Command of the U.S. Armed
Forces. Actually, it is a matter of military tradition. One of my forebears was a
colonel in Washington's independence forces. Another was a general in the war of
secession. Thus it was natural for me to follow a military career. Of course my father
was not always an admiral; during World War II he was commander of a submarine. He
has been in the navy since 1927 and has been an admiral since 1965. He holds the
highest rank in the navy. If I had not been downed, I would have become an admiral at
an earlier age than my father. Theoretically, General Abrams is his subordinate...."


"Yes, although in practice, because of the importance of this war, Gen Creighton Abrams
receives his orders directly from Washington."

I do not understand this about "in theory and practice." I thought that in military
life everything is standardized in an inflexible manner....

"Well, look, in fact Abrams is his subordinate but since the Tet offensive of 1968, in
view of the gravity of the situation, Abrams, instead of asking for instructions from
my father, who is in Honolulu, so that he in turn would ask for them from Washington,
went directly to Washington for them because the war is here in Vietnam and my father
also has Okinawa, Korea, and so forth under his command. That is why, since the war
is so important, he receives his instructions directly from Washington. It is a political
problem also, not only military."

Well, let us leave these things about political and military aside. They are too complex.
At any rate I do not believe that your father likes the situation very much; that his
subordinates receive orders directly from above.

He make an expressive gesture but does not go further into the subject; rather he
takes a tangent.

"Look, my father is a very intelligent person, but... when the bombings of the
north began, Johnson asked Abrams' [as published] opinion; not my father's because Abrams
was in Saigon, in the war..."

"Now I am going to speak about my wife," he says spontaneously. "She is not in the
armed forces," he added with a certain humor. "I saw her the last time in August 1967.
At that time I was on the aircraft carrier Forrestal. When a fire broke out which
damaged it heavily and it had to be sent for repairs to the United States. At that
time I miraculously escaped with my life because I was in my airplane and the two
pilots on my left and two on my right were killed."

How did that happen?

"A plane caught fire and one of its rockets went off. This in turn caused other
explosions. There were 135 deaths, almost all the airplanes were destroyed, and the
ship was seriously damaged. As a result of the fire I became famous on TV."

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