There is a special bond between military brothers and sisters. I was privileged to witness this bond between then-Senator John S. McCain and my business partner Commander David F. Barnhardt, USN Retired.
I think it was 1999 when Senator McCain came to Mt. Pleasant NC to campaign for Robin Hayes. The Senator went to the D. F. Barnhardt and Associates office on West Franklin Street that fall afternoon. There was the moment when David and John greeted each other and John said, “It has been a long time, shipmate.” The gaze between those two naval aviators and the profound grasp of their hands told me then that John was the real deal.
There are those that think the USS Forrestal disaster as intentional. I have heard the story of that fateful day. Friends, the innuendos, and whispers did not start until Captain and Senator McCain decided to run for President of the United States.
The news of John’s passing came last night when Dr. Bob Duell made an announcement at the 13th Annual Heritage Dinner for the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum. There was a moment of silence.
Rest in peace, John, a new generation has the watch.