ADM John Sidney “Slew” McCain Sr.

ADM John Sidney “Slew” McCain Sr.

Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi, USA
Death 6 Sep 1945 (aged 61)
Coronado, San Diego County, California, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 3, Grave 4356
Memorial ID 8314 · View Source
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United States Navy Admiral. A four-star Admiral, his son would also rise to four-star Admiral rank. He served in World War I and World War II. Born in Carroll County, Mississippi, he was the son of a plantation owner. He attended the University of Mississippi for a year before going to the US Naval Academy, graduating in 1906. For the next two years, he took part in the Great White Fleet's around the world cruise, after which he served a tour in the Navy's Asiatic Squadron. During the First World War, he was on convoy duty in the Atlantic. During the 1920s, he served on the battleships, USS Maryland and USS New Mexico, and took command of the USS Sirius. In 1936, he became convinced that aircraft would dominate the future Navy, and became a Naval Aviator. From 1937 to 1939, he commanded the aircraft carrier, USS Ranger, and during the build up before the US entry into World War II, he was promoted to Rear Admiral, commanding the aerial scouting forces of the Atlantic Fleet. In May 1942, he was appointed to command of Naval Aircraft, South Pacific, commanding all Allied air operations in support of the Guadalcanal campaign in the South Pacific area. His performance in this campaign was so superior that in October 1942, he was returned to Washington DC to take command of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, to support the efforts to develop new aircraft for the war effort and to keep aircraft supplied to the fighting forces. In August 1943, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and named as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. Missing the action of the war, he requested return to the Pacific in August 1944. Appointed as Commander, Carrier Group, Task Force 58, he participated in the Battle of the Marianas and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese decoyed Admiral Haley's carriers away from protecting the landing sites on Leyte, and then sent in a task force to destroy the American ships then landing troops. When strong Japanese naval forces attacked the Leyte ships, the US forces were virtually undefended, and called for immediate help to Halsey's fleet. McCain realized that the Leyte landings were in grave jeopardy of being destroyed and without waiting for orders, personally directed his carriers to turn around from pursuing the Japanese decoys to return immediately to Leyte which was under attack. McCain then launched his aircraft at extreme range (over 300 miles away) to become the only US aircraft to arrive at Leyte in time to attack the Japanese task force sent to destroy the Leyte landings. McCain's timely intervention convinced the Japanese to break off the attack and return to Japan, saving the American ships in Leyte Gulf from almost certain destruction. For his swift action, McCain was promoted to Commander of Task Force 38, to lead it through the Battle of Okinawa, and later to become Chief of Staff of the Third Fleet. When the war ended in August 1945, the stress of command had reduced McCain to less than 100 pounds, and he requested home leave, however, his boss, Admiral Halsey, insisted that he attend the formal surrender of the Japanese on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay. McCain suffered a fatal heart attack four days later, and was posthumously promoted to full Admiral for his services during the war. His awards include the Navy Cross and three awards of the Distinguished Service Medal.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


Admiral, U.S. Navy



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 24 Jan 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8314
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for ADM John Sidney “Slew” McCain Sr. (9 Aug 1884–6 Sep 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8314, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .