Fortune Favors the Brave: Gainesville resident serving aboard iconic Navy vessel

Gainesville resident Marshal White is seeing the world, and doing it in style. White, a Conning Officer Ensign, serves in the US Navy aboard an iconic craft.

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

Marshal White

This warship was originally named after John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., 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.

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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.

On 11 July 2018, just ​1 1⁄2 months before McCain died, at a rededication ceremony, Senator John McCain was added as a namesake, along with his father and grandfather.

The ship’s nickname is “Big Bad John”, and has the motto “Fortune Favors the Brave”.

John S. McCain’s keel was laid down on September 3rd 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. McCAIN’s maiden deployment was from 10 November 1995 to 10 May 1996 to the 5th and 7th fleets. After the ship returned to her home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii she 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.

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.

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