USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer currently in the service of the United States Navy. She is part of the Destroyer Squadron 15 within the Seventh Fleet, and has her homeport at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan.

The destroyer was involved in a collision with the tanker ship Alnic MC on 21 August 2017 off the coast of Singapore, which resulted in the deaths of ten of her crew, and left another five injured.

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)
USS John S. McCain DDG-56
USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) underway in January 2003
United States
Name: John S. McCain
Namesake: John S. McCain, Sr., John S. McCain, Jr., and John S. McCain III[1]
Ordered: 13 December 1988
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 3 September 1991
Launched: 26 September 1992
Sponsored by: Cindy McCain
Commissioned: 2 July 1994
Homeport: Yokosuka, Japan
Motto: Fortune Favors the Brave[2]
Nickname(s): "Big Bad John"[3]
Status: Active
Badge: USS John S. McCain DDG-56 Crest
General characteristics
Class and type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
  • Light: approx. 6,800 long tons (6,900 t)
  • Full: approx. 8,900 long tons (9,000 t)
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 2 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters can be embarked


This warship was originally named after John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr.,[2] both admirals in the United States Navy. John S. McCain, Sr. commanded the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, and later the Fast Carrier Task Force during the latter stages of World War II. John S. McCain, Jr. commanded the submarines USS Gunnel and USS Dentuda during World War II. He subsequently held a number of posts, rising to Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Command, before retiring in 1972. These men were, respectively, the grandfather and father of Senator John S. McCain III.[4]

On 11 July 2018, just 1 1/2 months before John McCain passed away, at a rededication ceremony, Senator John McCain was added as a namesake, along with his father and grandfather.[5]

The ship's nickname is "Big Bad John", and has the motto "Fortune Favors the Brave".[3]


Construction and commissioning

John S. McCain's keel was laid down on 3 September 1991, at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. She was launched on 26 September 1992, sponsored by Cindy McCain, the wife of Senator John McCain III, and was commissioned on 2 July 1994, at the Bath Iron Works. The former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, was the ceremony's principal speaker.[6] The ship was initially assigned a home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and shifted to a forward-deploy port in Yokosuka, Japan in 1997.


In January 2003, John S. McCain deployed to the Persian Gulf. She launched 39 Tomahawk missiles in support of the invasion of Iraq and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her service. John S. McCain was awarded the Navy Battle E for DESRON 15 in 2003 and again in 2004. On 16 February 2007, John S. McCain was awarded the 2006 Battle Effectiveness Award.[7]

On 11 June 2009, a Chinese submarine reportedly collided with the towed sonar array of John S. McCain near Subic Bay, Philippines. The incident caused damage to the array but was described as an "inadvertent encounter".[8]

In June 2009, John S. McCain pursued the North Korean cargo ship Kang Nam 1 toward Burma in enforcement of the new United Nations resolution of an arms export embargo against North Korea. The vessel was suspected of carrying arms for the Burmese junta government. Kang Nam 1 returned to North Korea without delivering her cargo to Burma.[9]

In July 2009, the destroyer berthed at Yokohama's international passenger terminal on a goodwill tour. The ship was opened to the public on 22 July 2009.[10]


In March 2011, in company with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, the ship was deployed off northeastern Honshu, Japan to assist with relief efforts after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.[11][12] During that time, the ship may have been exposed to leaking radiation from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[13]

In April 2013, John S. McCain was sent to South Korea during escalating tensions between the Koreas.[14] In June 2014, John S. McCain was sent to Subic Bay to perform in CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) exercises.

On 2 October 2016, USS John S. McCain and USS Frank Cable made the first port visit by U.S. Navy ships to Cam Ranh Bay since end of the Vietnam War in 1975.[15] In August 2017, John S. McCain sailed within 6 nautical miles (7 mi; 11 km) of Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, exercising a claim to freedom of navigation. China, claiming sovereignty over the reef, expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" in response to the action.[16] A US Navy representative reported that a Chinese frigate had sent at least ten radio messages warning that the John S. McCain was in Chinese waters, to which the US ship replied that it was "conducting routine operations in international waters."[16]

2017 MV Alnic MC collision

At 5:24 a.m. on 21 August 2017, John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC off the coast of Singapore and Malaysia, east of the Strait of Malacca.[4][17][18] According to a United States Navy press release, the breach "resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms."[19] Ten US Navy sailors died as a result of the crash.[20][21][18][22] After the incident, the ship, which sustained damage to her port side aft, was able to sail to Changi Naval Base in Singapore under her own power. The U.S. Navy announced on 24 August 2017 that it had suspended search-and-rescue efforts for survivors in the open sea to focus on the recovery of the remains of the missing sailors still inside the flooded compartments of the ship.[23] By 27 August U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers had recovered the remains of all 10 sailors.[24]

Throughout 2018, she was under repair in drydock and by November 2018, the ship left drydock and was transferred to a pier to continue her repairs, that are expected to be finished in late 2019.[25]

Investigation into the collision showed that an overly complex touchscreen system used for throttle control and training deficiencies had contributed to a loss of control of the ship just before it crossed paths with a merchant ship in the Singapore Strait, prompting a decision by the Navy to revert ships of this class to mechanical throttle controls fleetwide.[26]


040206-N-2970T-001 Guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) fires a RIM-66 standard surface-to-air missile during a training exercise

John S. McCain firing a RIM-67 Standard: 6 February 2004

010519-N-4790M-005 - USS John McCain (DDG-56) and Australian ship at sea

John S. McCain (foreground) and Australian destroyer Brisbane: 19 May 2001

McCain family at christening of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)

McCain family at ship's launching: 26 September 1992

USS John S McCain South China Sea 1

USS John S. McCain patrolling the South China Sea, 22 January 2017

See also


  1. ^ "Senator McCain Joins USS John S. McCain Namesake". Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "About our Namesake - John S. McCain". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "7 things about US warship USS John S. McCain or 'Big Bad John'". The Straits Times. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b Flanagan, Ed; Stelloh, Tim (20 August 2017). "Navy Destroyer USS John S. McCain Collides With Merchant Ship East of Singapore". NBC News. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  5. ^ Doornbos, Caitlin (12 July 2018). "McCain joins father and grandfather on ship's list of namesakes". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  6. ^ "USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)". Retrieved 10 September 2008.
  7. ^ Ludwick, Paula M. (19 February 2007). "Surface Force Ships, Crews Earn Battle "E"". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  8. ^ Starr, Barbara (12 June 2009). "Sub collides with sonar array towed by U.S. Navy ship". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  9. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (21 June 2009). "Test Looms as U.S. Tracks North Korean Ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. destroyer visits Yokohama passenger pier". Japan Times. Kyodo News. 22 July 2009. p. 2.
  11. ^ Rabiroff, John (17 March 2011). "U.S. military delivers 40 tons of supplies to hardest-hit areas". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Warships Supporting Earthquake in Japan". Seawaves. 22 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2011.
  13. ^ Stewart, Joshua (14 March 2011). "Navy ships off Japan move to avoid radiation". Military Times. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  14. ^ Miklaszewski, Jim; Kube, Courtney (1 April 2013). "US Navy shifts destroyer in wake of North Korea missile threats". NBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  15. ^ "United States warships make first visit to Vietnam base in decades". South China Morning Post. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  16. ^ a b "China protests, challenges US warship near its artificial islands". News Corp Australia. AFP. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  17. ^ McKirdy, Euan; Lendon, Brad; Sciutto, Jim (22 August 2017). "'Some remains' of missing 10 sailors found after collision, admiral says". CNN. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  18. ^ a b "UPDATE: USS John S. McCain Collides with Merchant Ship". U.S. Navy. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  19. ^ Global, IndraStra. "10 U.S. Navy Sailors Missing after USS John S McCain Collides with Oil Tanker". IndraStra. ISSN 2381-3652.
  20. ^ McKirdy, Euan (28 August 2017). "Remains of all 10 missing USS John S. McCain sailors recovered". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  21. ^ "U.S. Navy identifies 1 dead and 9 missing USS John S. McCain Sailors as search and rescue efforts suspended". Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. U.S. Navy. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  22. ^ Farrer, Martin; Holmes, Oliver (21 August 2017). "Pentagon orders temporary halt to US navy operations after second collision". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  23. ^ Cohen, Zachary (25 August 2017). "Navy suspends USS John McCain search and rescue efforts". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  24. ^ Varner, Jesse (28 August 2017). "All remains recovered of 10 sailors from USS John S. McCain collision". U.S. Navy.
  25. ^ USS John S. McCain transfers from dry dock to pier following collision repairs Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  26. ^ "Navy Reverting DDGs Back to Physical Throttles, After Fleet Rejects Touchscreen Controls". U.S. Naval Institute News. 9 August 2019.

Further reading

External links

BRP Carlos Albert (PC-375)

The BRP Carlos Albert (PC-375) is the fifth ship of the Jose Andrada class coastal patrol boats of the Philippine Navy. It is part of the first batch of its class ordered through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) in 1990, and was commissioned with the Philippine Navy on January 1992. It was initially designated as Fast Patrol Craft, and was numbered "DF-375", but later on was re-designated as a Patrol Gunboat, and was re-numbered as "PG-375", until another round of reclassification changed its designation as a Patrol Craft with hull number "PC-375" from April 2016.

Destroyer Squadron 15

Destroyer Squadron 15 is a squadron of United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers based at Yokosuka, Japan.

FONOPs during the Obama Administration

During the Administration of President Barack Obama, there were six instances of the United States Navy performing a Freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea (SCS). During the same period the USN also performed multiple other FONOPs in other parts of the world. The SCS operations involved Arleigh-Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyers assigned to United States Seventh Fleet. The U.S. FONOP program began in 1979 and the Department of Defense (DoD) keeps public records of FONOPs since 1991 on its website. The Department of State (DoS) provided guidance to the DoD on conducting FONOPs, with a particular focus on the South China Sea and East China Sea, while pushing back on the People's Republic of China and their "excessive territorial claims", specifically with the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, and Senkaku Islands.

Fortune favours the bold

"Fortune favours the bold", "Fortune favours the brave" and "Fortune favours the strong" are common translations of a Latin proverb. The slogan has been used historically in the military in the Anglosphere, and it is used up to the present in the US Army and on the coats of arms of individual families and clans.

Guided missile destroyer

A guided-missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. The NATO standard designation for these vessels is DDG. Nations vary in their use of destroyer D designation in their hull pennant numbering, either prefixing or dropping it altogether. The U.S. Navy has adopted the classification DDG in the American hull classification system.

In addition to the guns, a guided-missile destroyer is usually equipped with two large missile magazines, usually in vertical-launch cells. Some guided-missile destroyers contain powerful radar systems, such as the United States’ Aegis Combat System, and may be adopted for use in an anti-missile or ballistic-missile defense role. This is especially true of navies that no longer operate cruisers, so other vessels must be adopted to fill in the gap.

Jeffrey Harbeson

Jeffrey Harbeson is a retired United States Navy officer.

He is notable for being denied a visa to visit Russia due to concerns his appointment as a commandant of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the organization that runs the Guantanamo Bay detention camps required him to oversee human rights abuses.

In June 2010 Rear Admiral Harbeson replaced Rear Admiral Thomas H. Copeman III.

Harbeson was previously assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington.Secretary of Defense Robert Gates nominated Harbeson and 41 other Captains for promotion to Rear Admiral in June 2009.Earlier in his career he had commanded Destroyer Squadron 50, and the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) in Japan.In 1994, when he was a Lieutenant Commander, he attend the Navy War College, where he wrote a paper entitled: "The Vicksburg campaign -- Command and control of a successful joint operation".Harbeson joined the Navy in 1982, after completing a degree at the University of Maryland.

He relinquished command of JTF Guantanamo to Rear Admiral David B. Woods in August 2011. After his term at Guantanamo Harbeson became a staff officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the Deputy Director for politico-military affairs for Europe, NATO and Russia.In January 2013 Russia declined to issue Harbeson a visa, claiming he oversaw human rights abuses while commanding Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

The Russian actions were described as a reaction to the passage by the US Congress of the Magnitsky Act.

Magnitsky was a Russian attorney who died in Russian custody in 2009.

He was described in the USA as being an innocent man, who was arrested after trying to use the Russian legal system to pursue corrupt Russian officials.

The Magnitsky Act authorized US officials to publish the names, and to bar from admission to the USA, any Russian officials who had played a role in Magnitsky's arrest, interrogation, or long detention without trial.

It was the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin that the USA was hypocritical to accuse Russia of human rights abuses, given its own record of detainee abuse.

Harbeson was one of approximately 60 American officials barred

from admission to Russia. On April 13, 2013, Harbeson was on a list released by the Russian Federation of Americans banned from entering the country over their alleged human rights violations. The list was a direct response to the so-called Magnitsky list revealed by the United States the day before.

John S. McCain Sr.

John Sidney "Slew" McCain (August 9, 1884 – September 6, 1945) was a U.S. Navy admiral and the patriarch of the McCain military family. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II. McCain was a pioneer of aircraft carrier operations. Serving in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II, in 1942 he commanded all land-based air operations in support of the Guadalcanal campaign, and in 1944–45 he aggressively led the Fast Carrier Task Force. His operations off the Philippines and Okinawa and air strikes against Formosa and the Japanese home islands caused tremendous destruction of Japanese naval and air forces in the closing period of the war. He died four days after the formal Japanese surrender ceremony.

Several of McCain's descendants were also graduated from the United States Naval Academy. He and his son, John S. McCain Jr., were the first father-son pair to achieve four-star admiral rank in the U.S. Navy. His grandson was a U.S. Senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican presidential nominee, Navy Captain John S. McCain III. His great-grandsons, John S. McCain IV and James McCain, currently serve in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, respectively.

Joseph Aucoin

Joseph P. Aucoin (born April 25, 1957) is a retired officer of the United States Navy and former commander of the United States Seventh Fleet.

Kittanning (YTB-787)

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List of equipment of the United States Navy

The Equipment of the United States Navy have been subdivided into: watercraft, aircraft, munitions, vehicles, and small arms.

Opelika (YTB-798)

Opelika (YTB–798) was a United States Navy Natick-class large harbor tug named for Opelika, Alabama.

Roberta McCain

Roberta McCain (born February 7, 1912) is the widow of Admiral John S. McCain Jr. and mother of late Senator John S. McCain III.

Samuel Perez Jr.

Samuel Perez Jr. is a retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.

Rear Adm. Samuel Perez Jr., (Born April 2, 1958) a native of El Paso, Texas, is a 1980 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He served aboard the USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), USS Knox (FF 1052) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). His at-sea commands include command of USS Reclaimer (ARS 42), command of USS Vincennes (CG 49), command of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and command of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. During his tour as commander, CSG-1, he completed a 5th Fleet deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

USS John S. McCain

Two ships of the United States Navy have been named USS John S. McCain, in honor of John S. McCain Sr., John S. McCain Jr., and John S. McCain III (commonly just John McCain).

USS John S. McCain (DL-3), was a Mitscher-class guided-missile destroyer leader, later re-designated as the destroyer DDG-36, commissioned in 1953 and decommissioned in 1978

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer commissioned in 1994 and currently on active service

United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka

United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka (横須賀海軍施設, Yokosuka kaigunshisetsu) or Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (司令官艦隊活動横須賀, Shirei-kan kantai katsudō Yokosuka) is a United States Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan. Its mission is to maintain and operate base facilities for the logistic, recreational, administrative support and service of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Seventh Fleet and other operating forces assigned in the Western Pacific. CFAY is the largest strategically important U.S. naval installation in the western Pacific.Fleet Activities Yokosuka comprises 2.3 km² (568 acres) and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, 65 km (40 mi) south of Tokyo and approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of Yokohama on the Miura Peninsula in the Kantō region of the Pacific Coast in Central Honshū, Japan.

The 55 tenant commands which make up this installation support U.S. Navy Pacific operating forces, including principal afloat elements of the United States Seventh Fleet, including the only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), the group she heads, Carrier Strike Group Five, and Destroyer Squadron 15.

United States Seventh Fleet

The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet (a military formation) of the United States Navy. It is headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its principal responsibilities are to provide joint command in natural disaster or military operations and operational command of all naval forces in the region.

Flight I ships
Flight II ships
Flight IIA ships
Flight III ships
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