Douglas McCain, who is one of John McCain’s four sons, is a pilot and military veteran. He was adopted by John McCain when McCain married his mother, who was the late senator’s first wife, Carol Shepp McCain.
John McCain passed away at the age of 81 from brain cancer with his family at his side. His family played a prominent role during the memorial services scheduled to honor the late senator and war hero, who left behind seven children in all.
“Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the last year, and for the continuing outpouring of concern and affection,” a statement released by the McCain family following John McCain’s death said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Douglas McCain Was Carol McCain’s Son By a Previous Marriage
Before he married Cindy McCain, John McCain was married to Carol Shepp McCain, his first wife. Carol was the wife who waited faithfully for McCain during the years when he was a POW in Vietnam. However, they later divorced, and he went on to marry brewery distributor heiress, Cindy, to whom he was married at the time of his death.
John McCain adopted Carol’s two sons from her previous marriage – Douglas and Andrew – when he married her, ABC News reported.
John and Carol divorced in 1980. They also had daughter Sidney together. John and Cindy McCain would go on to have four children of their own, bringing the total number of McCain kids to seven (three of those children were adopted by John McCain.)
McCain adopted Doug and Andrew in 1965, had Sidney with Carol in 1966, and was captured by the Vietnamese a year later, spending 5 and a half years as a POW, People Magazine reported.
2. Doug McCain Served in the U.S. Navy
Service in the U.S. Navy is a McCain family tradition, and Douglas McCain has helped carry on that legacy. According to The New York Times, he served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy.
Jack and Jimmy, McCain’s two younger sons with Cindy McCain, have also served in the U.S. military, Jack in the Navy and Jimmy in the Marines.
Doug McCain and McCain’s other two children with Carol did not attend his marriage to Cindy but later grew closer to her, according to People.
When McCain went to war in Vietnam, he did so as the son of an Admiral. According to Biography.com, “The son of a decorated Navy admiral, John McCain was born at the Coco Solo Naval Station in Panama on August 29, 1936. He enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy and was dispatched to Vietnam, where he was tortured as a prisoner of war between 1967 and 1973.”
He was born John Sidney McCain III, “the second of three children born to naval officer John S. McCain Jr. and his wife, Roberta.” It was a family with a long legacy of military service. “Both McCain’s father and paternal grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., were four-star admirals, with John Jr. rising to command U.S. naval forces in the Pacific,” Biography.com reported.
3. Douglas McCain Is an Airline Pilot
Flying has remained in Douglas McCain’s blood, and he is currently a captain for American Airlines, according to ABC.
Doug McCain is 58-years-old. He once told The New York Times that his father was kept happy if he got good grades, played sports, and followed a few basic rules while growing up.
“I hope I’ve been a loving father,” John McCain said in 2008. “My children are probably better qualified to make that assessment, but I’m certainly proud of them and what they’ve done in life—all seven of them.”
4. Douglas McCain Says His Dad Tried to Guard His Kids’ Privacy
Douglas McCain spoke to The New York Times about his dad in 2007. He said John McCain was fiercely private of his children.
“I think he’d prefer the family kind of stayed private,” Douglas McCain told The Times. “I just think he is a big believer in individuals doing their own thing.”
The Times article described how the two sets of McCain children came together for rafting trips and family card games.
5. Douglas’ Childhood Was Punctuated by John McCain’s Absence
The New York Times article described how Douglas, Andrew, and Sidney grew up in childhoods dominated by John McCain’s absence.
They grew up in Florida in a Naval community while John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, according to the newspaper.
His daughter Sidney once said McCain’s divorce and remarriage to the much younger Cindy caused a “rift” in the family and was painful to his three younger children with Carol and to their mother.
McCain and Cindy obtained a marriage license before his divorce to Carol was finalized, People reported. However, the difficult feelings mended somewhat, and Carol has spoken positively about John McCain in recent years.