How war hero John McCain betrayed the Vietnamese peasant who saved his life





In all the tales of wartime courage peppering John McCain's presidential campaign trail, perhaps the most outstanding example of selfless heroism involves not the candidate but a humble Vietnamese peasant.

On October 26, 1967, Mai Van On ran from the safety of a bomb shelter at the height of an air raid and swam out into the lake where Lieutenant Commander McCain was drowning, tangled in his parachute cord after ejecting when his Skyhawk bomber was hit by a missile.

In an extraordinary act of compassion at a time when Vietnamese citizens were being killed by US aerial bombardments, he pulled a barely conscious McCain to the lake surface and, with the help of a neighbour, dragged him towards the shore.

And when a furious mob at the water's edge began to beat and stab the captured pilot, Mr On drove them back.

Nearly three decades later, a Vietnamese government commission confirmed he was indeed the rescuer and, in a 1996 meeting in Hanoi, McCain embraced and thanked Mr On and presented him with a Senate memento.

From that brief encounter to his death at the age of 88 two years ago, Mr On never heard from the senator again, and three years after their meeting, McCain published an autobiography that makes no mention of his apparent debt to Mr On.

It is a snub Mr On took to his death.


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Randll Reese Besch - 6/18/2008

It wouldn't be the first time that someone was saved by another, and 'enemy' at that, and snubbed them later.
Such is the milk of human kindness repaid with bile and cold indifference.

I would expect you Mr. Maass to vote for such an ingrate like McCain. It speaks volume about both you and McCain doesn't it?


John R. Maass - 6/16/2008

Big deal.