I shot down McCain - Soviet soldier
Journalists from Russia’s most popular tabloid paper found the veteran in a St Petersburg hospital.
Trushechkin said he still hated John McCain and wasn’t at all sorry for what he had done all those years ago. He added he was very happy that McCain didn’t make to the White House.
“He always hated the Russians. He knew that it was our rocket that downed his plane,” Trushechkin said.
The veteran makes no secret of Soviet involvement in the Vietnam War. He was 28 years old when he came to the Asian country to fight against the U.S. together with local soldiers. He served as an officer in missile guidance for the communist North Vietnamese.
Trushechkin remembers the day he shot down McCain. The air alarm sounded, he said, and everybody saw two A-4E Skyhawk planes approaching.
“One of the aircraft was trying to skirt the nearby hills, while the other went straight through the bridge. We fired at the second one,” Trushechkin said.
Two rockets were fired. The first exploded in the jungle but the second hit the target. The American pilot catapulted and was later captured by the North Vietnamese troops. The documents said it was John McCain.
Yuriy Trushechkin said that McCain got lucky because ejected U.S. pilots were usually beaten to death with pickaxes.
But McCain avoided execution and was sent to a prison, known as the Hanoi Hilton.
The most valuable trophies were the pilots helmet and the so-called “almsman’s flag” – a harsh mark which said that the U.S. citizen was in trouble and needed help in five languages. Trushechkin took McCain’s documents with him and some photos made after he was captured. But the documents were later lost.
Yuriy Trushechkin said he recognised McCain when he was watching a programme about the U.S. elections, which showed the pictures of a young Mccain in military uniform.
McCain spent 1,967 days (five and a half years) in Vietnamese prisons before being released on March 15, 1973 – just after the signing of the Paris Peace treaty between the U.S. and Vietnam.