In 1981, on this day Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman summoned Capt. John S. McCain III to a meeting in his Pentagon office. McCain was told that he was about to become the first son and grandson of four-star US Navy admirals to achieve the same distinction. On page 9 of his memoir Worth The Fighting For, McCain recounts how very close to missing out on his life-time ambition. Worth the Fighting ForMcCain was having second thoughts about following his family's vocation. He had spent the previous four years as the Navy's liaison to the Senate, sampling life in the world's most exclusive club as he escorted its members on trips around the globe - sitting with the sultan of Oman on the floor of his desert tent, or smuggling a senator's private supply of Scotch through Saudi Arabian customs.
"Several months before my father died, I informed him that I was leaving the navy. I am sure he had gotten word of my decision from friends in the Pentagon. I had been summoned to see the CNO, Admiral Heyward, who told me I was making a mistake.... His attempt to dissuade me encouraged me to believe that I might have made admiral had I remained in the navy, a prospect that remained an open question in my mind.... Some of my navy friends believed I could earn my star; others doubted it.... When I told my father of my intention, he remonstrated me, convinced me it was worth the fighting for. For when I left him that day, alone in his study, I left intact his hope that I might someday become the first son and grandson of four-star admirals to achieve the same distinction".