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John McCain Book: 'Ordinary People' Who Became War Heroes

By    |   Monday, 10 Nov 2014 07:30 PM

Sen. John McCain's new book tells the inspiring stories of 13 of America's greatest war heroes — and amazingly, many are ordinary citizens who ascended from quiet, routine lives to serve the nation with honor.

"We tried to pick out stories of people and the extraordinary things they did. They're ordinary people," McCain, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime prisoner of war, said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show," on Newsmax TV.

"They weren't all great people. Some of them were very flawed."

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McCain's new book, written with Mark Salter, is "Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War," published by Simon & Schuster.

It chronicles the personal accounts of thirteen remarkable soldiers who fought in the nation's bloodiest conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among his subjects are Joseph Plumb Martin, who fought in the Revolutionary War at the age of 15; Charles Black, a freeborn African American sailor who was active in the War of 1812; and Sam Chamberlain, who fought in the Mexican American War.

Others include: Oliver Wendell Holmes, an aristocratic idealist disillusioned by the Civil War; Littleton "Tony" Waller, who was court-martialed for refusing to massacre Filipino civilians; Mary Rhoads, an Army reservist in the Persian Gulf War; and Monica Lin Brown, a frontline medic in rural Afghanistan.

"[We] have 13 major conflicts that the United States has been in and a person of each one sort of fits the conflict itself," McCain said.

"Joseph Martin, who joined the Continental Army at 15, literally almost starved to death.... Monica Lin Brown was a medic [in Afghanistan], there was an IED that went off and she went right in there risking her life and with the professionalism and skill of a medic.

"By the way, nowadays medics are very highly skilled, which I hope dispenses with this argument about whether women can serve in combat or not. They can."

In the case of Holmes, he "fought through the Civil War, was wounded terribly and he was a changed man after that. He became a federal judge and he carried an ammunition box [with] his lunch every day to never forget what happened.

"I've always been intrigued by the Civil War because that is the bloodiest conflict by far that we were ever involved in. He was in one conflict where there was 30,000 dead on either side."

McCain was shot down in his Skyhawk dive bomber on Oct. 26, 1967, as he conducted a raid over Hanoi.

He remembers serving five years as a prisoner of war and celebrating the birthday of the Marines with a group of captured Marines and Air Force and Navy pilots.

"They gave us some bread and we'd take the dough out of the bread and put it together and put a thing on there, kind of a half-ass candle and we'd all celebrate," he said.

"There were four Marines and their tradition is the oldest and the youngest are the ones who cut the cake so … even in prison the Marines said, by God we're going to celebrate our birthday. I'm proud [that] one of my sons served in the Marines, as well."

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Sen. John McCain's new book tells the inspiring stories of 13 of America's greatest war heroes — and amazingly, many are ordinary citizens who ascended from quiet, routine lives to serve the nation with honor.
book, war, heroes, John McCain
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2014-30-10
Monday, 10 Nov 2014 07:30 PM
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