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USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)

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USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)
A gray warship on a blue ocean
USS John S. McCain underway in January 2003
United States
NameJohn S. McCain
Ordered13 December 1988
BuilderBath Iron Works
Laid down3 September 1991
Launched26 September 1992
Sponsored byCindy McCain
Commissioned2 July 1994
HomeportNaval Station Everett
MottoFortune Favors the Brave[3]
  • Big Bad John[1]
  • Johnny Mac
Honors and
See Awards
Statusin active service
General characteristics
Class and typeArleigh Burke-class destroyer
  • Light: approx. 6,800 long tons (6,900 t)
  • Full: approx. 8,900 long tons (9,000 t)
Length505 ft (154 m)
Beam59 ft (18 m)
Draft31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion2 × shafts
SpeedIn excess of 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range4,400 nmi (8,100 km; 5,100 mi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried1 × Sikorsky MH-60R

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 23 within the Third Fleet, and has her homeport at Naval Station Everett in Everett, Washington.

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 10 of her crew, and left another five injured.


This warship was originally named after John S. McCain Sr., and John S. McCain Jr.,[3] 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 Vietnam War Navy captain and later Senator John S. McCain III.[7]

On 11 July 2018, just 1+12 months before he died, at a rededication ceremony, Senator John McCain was added as a namesake, along with his father and grandfather.[8]

The ship's nickname is "Big Bad John", and has the motto "Fortune Favors the Brave".[1]

Service history[edit]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

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 with Commander John K. Ross as the first commanding officer. The former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, was the ceremony's principal speaker. Her maiden deployment was from 10 November 1995 to 10 May 1996 to the 5th and 7th fleets with visits to Kochi, India, Fremantle and Newcastle Australia and Suva Fiji. After the ship returned to her home port in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, she shifted to the forward-deploy port in Yokosuka, Japan, in June 1997. On October of 1997, she visited the port of Qingdao China, the first visit to Communist China other than Hong Kong, in 15 years.


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.[9]

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".[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]


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.[13][14] During that time, the ship may have been exposed to leaking radiation from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[15][16]

In April 2013, John S. McCain was sent to South Korea during escalating tensions between the Koreas.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] A US Navy representative reported that a Chinese frigate had sent at least 10 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."[19]

2017 MV Alnic MC collision[edit]

At 5:24 am 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.[7][20][21] According to a United States Navy press release, the breach "resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms."[22] Ten US Navy sailors died as a result of the crash, which prompted the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore to start a multi-agency SAR effort as the agency responsible for coordinating air-sea rescue operations within Singapore's Maritime Search and Rescue Region (MSRR).[23][24][21][25][26] The Singapore Transport Safety Bureau (TSIB) also launched a marine safety investigation following the collision in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation's Casualty Investigation Code in Singapore's capacity as a coastal state, and published its final report on 8 March 2018.[27] 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.[28] By 27 August U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers had recovered the remains of all 10 sailors.[29] On 12 September 2017, the United States' chargé d'affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath expressed thanks for Singapore's support during the SAR operations.[30]

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. The repairs were completed in October 2019.[31][32]

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.[33][34]


While conducting a Freedom of Navigation exercise in Peter the Great Bay, in the Sea of Japan on 24 November 2020, Russian Naval destroyer Admiral Vinogradov demanded that John S. McCain leave the bay, which Russia claims as their territorial waters, or they would be "rammed". While Russian news agency TASS claims that the Russian Navy chased the US destroyer out of the bay, a spokesperson for the U.S. 7th Fleet claims that John S. McCain left bay of their own accord, after completing the exercise. The US further claims that they were in international waters at all times, which was the purpose of the exercise.[35][36]

On 17 September 2021, John S. McCain departed her previous home port Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan as part of a scheduled shift to her new homeport at Naval Station Everett in Everett, Washington with 24 years of forward deployed service.[37][38]

On 6 August 2023, John S. McCain and three other destroyers responded to a joint Chinese-Russian patrol in international waters near Alaska. The Chinese-Russian flotilla left without incident.[39]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Senator McCain Joins USS John S. McCain Namesake". Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "About our Namesake - John S. McCain". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Mk46 MOD 1 Optical Sight System". Kollmorgen. Archived from the original on 30 November 2022. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  5. ^ Rockwell, David (12 July 2017). "The Kollmorgen/L-3 KEO Legacy". Teal Group. Archived from the original on 29 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  6. ^ Hart, Jackie (17 December 2023). "Decoy Launch System Installed Aboard USS Ramage". navy.mil. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Doornbos, Caitlin (12 July 2018). "McCain joins father and grandfather on ship's list of namesakes". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  9. ^ Ludwick, Paula M. (19 February 2007). "Surface Force Ships, Crews Earn Battle "E"". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  10. ^ Starr, Barbara (12 June 2009). "Sub collides with sonar array towed by U.S. Navy ship". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  11. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (21 June 2009). "Test Looms as U.S. Tracks North Korean Ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  12. ^ "U.S. destroyer visits Yokohama passenger pier". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 22 July 2009. p. 2.
  13. ^ Rabiroff, John (17 March 2011). "U.S. military delivers 40 tons of supplies to hardest-hit areas". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Warships Supporting Earthquake in Japan". Seawaves. 22 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2011.
  15. ^ Stewart, Joshua (14 March 2011). "Navy ships off Japan move to avoid radiation". Military Times. Archived from the original on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  16. ^ Wilson, Alex (17 September 2021). "USS John S. McCain heads to new homeport in Washington after momentous 24 years in Japan". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 22 May 2024.
  17. ^ Miklaszewski, Jim; Kube, Courtney (1 April 2013). "US Navy shifts destroyer in wake of North Korea missile threats". NBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  18. ^ "United States warships make first visit to Vietnam base in decades". South China Morning Post. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  19. ^ a b "China protests, challenges US warship near its artificial islands". News Corp Australia. Agence France-Presse. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ a b "UPDATE: USS John S. McCain Collides with Merchant Ship". U.S. Navy. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  22. ^ Global, IndraStra. "10 U.S. Navy Sailors Missing after USS John S McCain Collides with Oil Tanker". IndraStra. ISSN 2381-3652.
  23. ^ McKirdy, Euan (28 August 2017). "Remains of all 10 missing USS John S. McCain sailors recovered". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (21 August 2017). "Update 1 - Collision of US Guided-missile Destroyer JOHN S MCCAIN And TANKER ALNIC MC in Singapore Waters". Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  27. ^ Transport Safety Investigation Bureau, Ministry of Transport (Singapore) (8 March 2018). "Safety Investigation into Collision Between Alnic MC and the USS John S McCain in singapore Territorial Waters" (PDF). Ministry of Transport (Singapore). Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  28. ^ Cohen, Zachary (25 August 2017). "Navy suspends USS John McCain search and rescue efforts". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  29. ^ Varner, Jesse (28 August 2017). "All remains recovered of 10 sailors from USS John S. McCain collision". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  30. ^ Leow, Annabeth (12 September 2017). "Top US diplomat thanks Singapore for recent warship search and rescue, hurricane aid". The Straits Times. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  31. ^ USS John S. McCain transfers from dry dock to pier following collision repairs Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  32. ^ "USS John S. McCain's Return to Warfighting Readiness". United States Navy. US Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Navy Reverting DDGs Back to Physical Throttles, After Fleet Rejects Touchscreen Controls". U.S. Naval Institute News. 9 August 2019.
  34. ^ Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from United States National Transportation Safety Board. Collision between US Navy Destroyer John S McCain and Tanker Alnic MC (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 21 December 2019. (NTSB/MAR-19/01PB2019-100970).
  35. ^ "Russia 'threatened to ram' US ship in Sea of Japan". BBC News. 25 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Russian warship stops US destroyer from violating Russia's border". TASS.
  37. ^ Bautista, Marion (17 September 2021). "USS John S. McCain Departs U.S. 7th Fleet After 24-years Forward Deployed". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  38. ^ Wilson, Alex (17 September 2021). "USS John S. McCain heads to new homeport in Washington after momentous 24 years in Japan". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 22 May 2024.
  39. ^ Yang, Maya (6 August 2023). "US dispatches warships after China and Russia send naval patrol near Alaska". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2023.

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