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John McCain Biography

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• Part 2: Service at Home

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Part 1: Formative Years

John McCain was born on August 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone. At that time, Panama was under the control of the U.S., so McCain was born a U.S. citizen.

The McCain family, like other military families, moved around quite a bit while John was growing up. They finally settled in Virginia in 1951, and John graduated in 1954. His father and paternal grandfather were four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy, so not many people were surprised when John McCain entered the U.S. Naval Academy.

He graduated four years later and started training as a pilot. He was stationed on a few aircraft carriers during the years following his graduation.

In 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp. She already had two young children, whom the couple adopted. Sidney McCain was born a few years later.

McCain got his wish to go into combat in 1967 and served with the Navy during the Vietnam War. Later that year, he was captured after his plane was shot down over Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam. He endured several years of imprisonment and torture at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (known as the "Hanoi Hilton"), including two years in solitary confinement. Because his father was a top admiral, McCain was offered early release. He refused, saying that he would go only if every other captive taken before him was also released. The result was more imprisonment. He was finally released in 1973.

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