XO ' 1970-71

Tail Code "John McCain"
Recollections of a retired Naval Aviator, Tom Wimberly, Capt., USN

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During the Presidential Election of 2008, in August, nearing September, there was some brouhaha floating around about John McCain and his choice for a VP. No selection was yet made or known by the general public, so there was a lot of things circulating both pro and con regarding the man he would choose. This own narrative was added during the DNC (Democratic National Convention) being held in Denver Colorado. The Democratic nominee and his choice for VP, Senator Joe Bidden had not as yet spoken before the Convention.

Received an Email from one of our shipmates and current Second Vice President of the Hancock Association, Larry Jones..

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Jones
To: Jake Jaccard
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:00 PM
Subject: Question


Have you ever heard a story involving John McCain (the anti-Obama) making an emergency landing on the Hancock? I heard that tale second hand today and wondered if it was true.



Note from Jake the Yeoman: This is a follow-up Page, and if anyone who reads this Story does have some positive and factual info to add to this Thread, please don't hesitate to let me know. You can do that by writing to me here. Thanks - Jake

Tom Wimberly comments on the 'Rumor' that John McCain had at one time made a "Rest Stop" on the Hancock during the Vietnam War period

McCain landing aboard Hancock? I have never heard mention of it. That's not to say it didn't happen. I kind of think I would know if it had happened.

By my reckoning, there was not much window of opportunity for him to land aboard Hannah. His first sea tour was East Coast. He was with VA-65. I cruised with him to the Med 1961-62 aboard INTREPID. I don't think he did any flying in the Pacific during his first sea duty as a pilot, but it's not impossible. Maybe his second cruise was to WestPac.

I got to know him aboard Intrepid. I was a LCDR and he was a LTJG. We both happened to be going ashore
rather late one night so we teamed up and went barhopping and ended up at Mario's, a popular place with the military.

I saw him a few years later at the Army-Navy football game in 1965. My wife and I had the good fortune to be invited to accompany the admiral I worked for, to the game. Naturally we had good seats. There close to us was John McCain and his father who was a four-star or very close to being made a four-star at that time. John and I spoke briefly. Monday morning back in the office in DC, I read a dispatch that said John had ejected from a T-2 Buckeye on Saturday. I knew that wasn't so. The date on the message was wrong. The ejection was on Sunday when John headed back to Meridian where he was a flight instructor in the T-2. I think John stayed on the east coast, because he was in the East Coast air wing (17) that sailed with FORRESTAL to Westpac in 1967. FORRESTAL arrived at Cubi Point in July, and went on Yankee Station about 7/25. Our HANCOCK history book says Hancock's cruise ended in July 67, presumably back in Alameda, so I don't think there was an overlap of Forrestal and Hancock being in proximity. Forrestal's fire was on 7/29. I was on the flight deck in a Phantom about 200 feet forward of McCain when the fire started. I got unchained and was taxiing forward when the first bomb exploded. McCain was eager to get into the action and requested and received an immediate transfer to another air wing (aboard Oriskany I think) and got shot down shortly afterwards.

This Story is a Mirror Site from the "Stories" section shown on the front page of the
Hancock Association's web site. Look for that story called, "The Fuel Stop." - Tom Wimberly (Jake Here: Tom's story I've dubbed, "Tail Code: 'Hancock Pit Stop'" is now featured here in Oral History Here.)

Almost forgot to mention -- our deceased member Ben Mather bought an Association membership for John McCain in 2000. When Ben died a few years ago, I kept sending the newsletter to McCain, carrying him in "Special Membership Status." I have not been counting him as a member, but have continued mailing the Hannah News to him.

All the best,

In a message dated 8/26/2008 4:26:56 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Jake, Yeoman of this Website ( wrote:

Larry, I have never heard that rumor, but I'm sure Tom Wimberly or some of the 70's crowd would know. It wouldn't surprise me though. Let's pass this one around and see if we can come up with an answer.

Note: Whoever receives this mail please copy back to those on this list.


You are invited to add a follow-up to this Story and it will be posted below this line... I'm sure we'd all be interested in the answer. If you surfed in from the Net, and wish to comment on this Thread, please do by writing the Yeoman Here. Your comments will be posted below...


* Note on John S. McCain by the Yeoman: John McCain was a pilot flying phantoms over Vietnam and was shot down and spent 7 years in captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. He later became Arizona's Senatory. HIs father was also a Navy man, as indicated in this story of the Army/Navy Football Game above; and was serving during the same time that his son, John S. McCain was serving as a Naval Aviator when he was shot down. John's grand-father Vice Adm. John S. McCain headed up Task Force 38.1 in October of 1944 and was Flag Officer, serving for a time aboard HANCOCK as Flag Officer of Second Carrier Task Force and was part of the Great Hancock Tradition and why we have such a connection with all the "John McCains" - This History is found here. - Jake

Note: If you are interested in the Story about Rear Admiral John S. McCain, Task Force 38.1, you can find my dear and late friend Captain Herschel A. Pahl's story about his admired Admiral on his Website by visiting Be sure to go to Dedications in the Side Bar, and go down his list of people he desired to dedicate his website and book, "Point Option*" to... in that list about mid-way down, you'll find his friend, Admiral John S. McCain's Link.

* Note: Capt. Tom Wimberly (Ret), former XO on Hancock ('70-'71) is currently the Membership Chairman of the Hancock Association. If you cruised on HANCOCK and wish to join the Association, he's the one you should contact. Write me in Admin for further information or visit the Association Website located here:

* "Point Option" is available in our Ship's Store.

Submitted 08/27/2008
To write this Shipmate, send your message to Jake the
Yeoman in
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See also...

Tom Wimberly's Tail Code: "Hancock Pit Stop"