It's quite true that McCain lost five jets in military service. However, that doesn't prove he did anything wrong. However, a close reading of how he lost five planes tells a quite interesting story. For reasons that will become clear, the story is best told in reverse order.
5. On Oct. 26, 1967 John McCain was shot down over
Vietnamand ended up as a POW in . It was his 23rd mission over North Vietnam . North Vietnam
[It's hard to remember these days, when we lose so very few jets in combat (because we developed around 1980 the technology to blind the enemy by knocking out his ground radar while we control the aerial battlefield from Airborne Warning and Control System jets almost over the horizon) that we lost 3,322 fixed-win aircraft in the Vietnam war, perhaps the majority due to enemy fire.]
4. On July 29, 1967 his plane was destroyed by a missile accidentally fired by another plane waiting to take off. He barely survived. 134 sailors died that day. There is no evidence that McCain did anything wrong. The videos of the fires and explosions are astonishing. The first fire crew was wiped out by a bomb explosion and was replaced by volunteers in seconds. Subsequent explosions wiped out the replacement firemen. Tragically, the volunteers didn’t know how to fight a carrier fire and made the situation worse.
3. In 1965, he lost a plane flying home from the Army-Navy game due to mechanical failure. This was very common at the time. I once met a
pilot who lost a Phantom due to oil pressure failure. I asked what the consequences were. He said that his commanding officer was upset for 10 minutes and he had to fill out a form. Vietnam
2. He lost a plane after hitting power line over the
Iberian Peninsula. Presumably pilot era.
1. As a student pilot he lost a plane in
bay while trying to land. Corpus Christi
The last 3 losses do not reflect adversely on John McCain. How about the first two? I would question whether any aviator whose name wasn’t McCain would have survived losing a plane as a student and then hitting power lines.
For some details. There are also a few books about McCain out there. See http://www.amazon.com/Nightingales-Song-Robert-Timberg/dp/0684826739