Admiral John S McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power

Rarely does a naval officer influence directly and indirectly the conduct of major war. This fine biography shows how McCain influenced US Navy air power in a personnel role and then as a Carrier Task Force commander in the Pacific. – Most Highly Recommended

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NAME: Admiral John S McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power
FILE: R2831
AUTHOR: William F Trimble
PUBLISHER: US Naval Institute Press
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 370
PRICE: US$38.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Carrier Task Force, carrier, naval aviation, Pacific Theatre, WWII, 
World War 2, World War II, Second World War, liberation of the Philippines, 
Indo-China, Formosa

ISBN: 978-1-68247-370-2

IMAGE: B2831.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y66t3pa2
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:   Rarely does a naval officer influence directly and indirectly 
the conduct of major war. This fine biography shows how McCain influenced 
US Navy air power in a personnel role and then as a Carrier Task Force 
commander in the Pacific. -  Most Highly Recommended

Admiral McCain is not a well known figure in US naval aviation history, certainly internationally, and 
to a large extent within the US. He was not the most successful cadet in training and suffered some 
periodic ill-health but he first made a largely invisible but significant impact during his days in the 
personnel department at a time when the USN was having to face the harsh realities of the Great 
Depression. The heavy cut backs and deferments placed the USN under enormous pressure because 
not only was it increasingly difficult to provide the career paths that personnel required, but it was also 
difficult to provide the stable base for rapid expansion should money be freed and international 
tensions required a more powerful naval capability.

McCain was in an unpopular part of the USN but he was popular with both politicians and naval 
personnel for the deft way in which he worked through the minefield of Depression era politics. He 
developed an unrivalled understanding of the importance of naval aviation and his return to sea duty 
saw him rise to command, first of an ammunition carrier, and then to command an aircraft carrier, 
USS Ranger (CV 4).

With US entry into WWII, McCain was a natural choice to command a Carrier Task Force, Task 
Force 38 of the US Third Fleet in the Pacific. After the Philippines, his Task Force operated off 
Indo-China and Formosa and he suffered from kamikaze attacks because of the unarmoured decks 
of US carriers. 

The British Pacific Fleet initially operated independently in attacking Japanese oil supplies in Burma 
but was then incorporated into the US Fifth Fleet as Task Force 58. The smaller British carriers faired 
much better because, in addition to providing a smaller nimble target, they had armoured flight decks 
and years of experience of heavy round the clock attack by enemy aircraft. Where US carriers suffered 
heavy damage and fire from kamikaze attack, frequently being forced out of action, the British carriers 
took the hits and carried on.

McCain was a gaunt figure and he sadly died in September 1945 at his home in Coronado. That may 
explain why he has not previously deserved the notability that this biography supports. An interesting 
story with a very good photo-plate section