POW cellmate: Most important thing I learned from McCain was ‘It’s the mission and the men’
© Camille Fine

A retired Air Force officer who shared a cell with the late John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJill Biden shuts down Jake Tapper's question about husband's 'occasional gaffe' Crenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat Analysis: Biden victory, Democratic sweep would bring biggest boost to economy MORE while the two were prisoners of war in Vietnam said on Monday that the most important thing he learned from McCain can be summarized in the statement, “It’s the mission and the men.”

“In the prison camp, it was resisting exploitation by the communist North Vietnamese and at the same time, caring for those of us that inhabited that place,” retired Air Force Col. John Fer said on CNN’s “New Day.”

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Fer said McCain often made the “mission and the men statement” when discussing military leadership.

McCain, the longtime U.S. senator from Arizona, died Saturday a little more than a year after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 81.

Before becoming a senator, McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was captured after his plane crashed during a mission and held as a prisoner for five years.

McCain will be laid to rest next to his Naval Academy classmate and friend Adm. Chuck Larson, according to a schedule of events from his office. McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958.

His burial will be held after a national memorial service at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.