A McCain memoir: Teen rebel, POW, political star

Some key events from Sen. John McCain's life:

1936: John Sidney McCain III is born Aug. 29 at a U.S. military base in Panama, the son and grandson of Navy admirals.

1954: Graduates from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.

1958: Finishes fifth from the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.

1965: Marries Carol Shepp, adopting her two sons. The couple eventually has a daughter.

1967: A fellow pilot’s missile accidentally discharges and strikes McCain’s plane as he prepares to take off from an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam. McCain’s flight suit catches fire and he suffers shrapnel wounds in the disaster, which kills more than 130 men.

1967: He is shot down over Vietnam and imprisoned for 5½ years, two of them in solitary confinement. He is tortured into signing a trumped-up “confession,” but refuses early release because other prisoners had been held longer.

1976: Released from captivity, McCain attends National War College in Washington, D.C.

1974: Begins stint as Navy flight instructor.

1977: Joins the Navy Senate Liaison Office.

1979: At age 42, McCain meets wealthy beer heiress Cindy Hensley, 25. “By the evening’s end, I was in love,” he says.

1980: Divorces Carol and marries Cindy. The couple will have three children and adopt a fourth.

1981: Retires from the Navy and moves to Phoenix.

1982: Elected to Congress.

1986: Elected to the Senate, succeeding Barry Goldwater.

1991: Reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee for “poor judgment” in the Keating Five scandal.

1999: Publishes a memoir, “Faith of My Fathers.”

2000: Runs for the GOP presidential nomination, losing to George W. Bush.

2002: Treated for skin cancer for the third time in one decade.

2002: Publishes his second memoir, “Worth the Fighting For.” On his prospects for becoming president, he writes, “My time might be passing.”

2002: President Bush reluctantly signs into law campaign-finance reforms proposed by McCain and Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

2004: Campaigns for Bush’s re-election.

2007: Sinking in the polls and unable to raise much money, McCain’s second presidential campaign nearly implodes. He fires most of his staff, and pundits largely dismiss his chances.

2008: Mounts an unlikely comeback and defeats Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee to become the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.

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