The USS Forrestal Fire
John McCain's role really doesn't matter to those who have sailed in the US Navy since that time. They know what took place on the USS Forrestal. It was ingrained in each and every one of them as surely as the ice cold wind at Great Lakes RTC in January. All sailors since that time have been trained as firefighters. When there is a fire at sea, the choice is clear. Fight the fire, or die. There is no place to run, no place to swim to.
The lessons of the USS Forrestal were preserved on a training film called "Trial By Fire." Regrettably, I was unable to find a copy, but I was able to find a more modern dramatization of the events. Shellbacks will note several discrepancies, such as modern aircraft and equipment appearing in some of the film. The black and white plat lens footage though is real. The story is factual. The men who died were real.
134 sailors perished. 161 were injured. 21 aircraft were destroyed. Thousands survived, and a ship was saved. For those who want to know true heroism at sea, here is the story of what US sailors commonly know as "The Forrestal Fire."
A complete account of the Forrestal fire can be found in the book Sailors to the End by Gregory A. Freeman.
Update: Trial by Fire thanks Mopar!