YOKOSUKA, Japan – Not one, not two, but three generations of McCains are now honored with a U.S. Navy ship in the Pacific ocean.
The secretary of the Navy added US Sen. John McCain, the name of Thursday to a warship that was already using the name for the Arizona lawmaker’s father and grandfather, two former Navy admirals.
The re-ceremony took place aboard the USS John S. McCain at an American base in Japan. Scaffolding covered the mast of the guided-missile destroyer, which is undergoing extensive repairs after a deadly collision, one of the last two years that led to allegations of senior ship officers and a very critical review of Navy procedures and policies.
Richard Spencer, the secretary of the Navy, told reporters that the recommended changes in the activities of 78 percent implemented. Some are completed, he said, while others, such as the formation of a culture of continuous learning lasts two years.
“I think we’re well underway,” Spencer said at Yokosuka Naval base south of Tokyo.
Seventeen sailors died after the USS Fitzgerald and then McCain came in collision with commercial vessels in the Pacific Ocean, in June and August 2017.
The three generations of McCains the same name, John Sidney McCain, although they went or go through Sidney, Jack and John, from the oldest to the youngest. Their maritime careers overlapping in the second world war and the war in Vietnam.
“It is a name in three parts, and a name that is three stories,” Spencer said.
Sidney joined the Navy in the beginning of the 20th century and was an aircraft carrier task force commander in the second world War. His son Jack was a submarine commander in the second world War, who rose to the head of the U.S. Pacific Command during the Vietnam War.
John was a navy pilot who was captured in Vietnam, where he was held for five years and tortured.
“Sen. McCain has proven that even the hardest challenges can be a source of great strength,” Micah Murphy, the commander of the USS McCain, told his crew during the ceremony, referring to the challenges they face as they work with repair teams to get the ship back out to sea.
The guided missile destroyer, which had a gaping hole in the side after the collision, was launched in 1994.
“Sidney, Jack and John. Three distinguished officers. Three remarkable Americans,” Spencer said.
McCain, who is fighting brain cancer, said he looks back with gratitude on his formative years in the Navy.
“I hope that the generations of sailors who will serve aboard the USS McCain can find the same satisfaction that my family has in serving a cause greater than themselves,” the 81-year-old lawmaker said in a press release from his office.
Spencer said the Navy hopes to return the warship to the service the following spring.