Hot topic Question: Did John McCain start the 1967 fire on the USS Forrestal?
No. The recent presidential race gave new life to some bad information about McCain and the Forrestal fire. As my book Sailors to the End explains in some detail, the fire actually was started by an unusual combination of electrical glitches and human errors by the flight deck crew, which resulted in a Zuni rocket being fired across the deck and into McCain’s plane. Theories about a “wet start” and other possible causes were disproven soon after the fire. McCain was never suspected of causing the fire because investigators determined immediately that the rocket misfired from the other side of the flight deck. (The pilot of that plane also was not at fault.) The real culprit in the 134 deaths on the Forrestal was the Navy’s decision to supply the carrier with very old, unstable bombs that exploded on the flight deck once the fire started. Bombs typical for 1967 would have withstood the fire long enough for the crew to put out the blaze, but the old bombs blew up almost immediately and t