For hours in a dark Hanoi prison, John McCain pushed through the pain of his own wounds to stretch the fingers of fellow prisoner Bud Day along the cell wall, a makeshift attempt at physical therapy to restore movement to Day's torture-damaged tendons.
Nearly 30 years later, in Washington D.C., another aviator named Bob Stumpf was being grilled by a congressional committee for his minor role in the Navy's Tailhook scandal when McCain realized that the decorated pilot had been a student in his attack jet squadron at Cecil Field in Jacksonville.
McCain called the secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, and screamed, ''You're finished,'' according to news reports. The Arizona senator then worked on congressional leaders until Stumpf and other officers were cleared and Stumpf was retroactively promoted to commander of the prestigious Blue Angels aviation crew in 2002, six years after he had left the Navy.
Today, Day and Stumpf are working for McCain.
They are chairmen of Florida Veterans for McCain, an organization of 125 retired military officers from across the state whose loyalty to the war hero brought many of them into politics as they fight for the coveted veterans' vote.
They'll be out in force Monday in Jacksonville -- where McCain's family lived when he was a prisoner of war -- when the candidate returns to the Veterans Memorial Arena in his first trip through this battleground state since the Republican convention.
Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.