John McCain was a U.S. senator from Arizona, a post he held from 1987 to his death in 2018. He previously served two terms in the U.S. House. He was the Republican nominee for president in 2008. McCain was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and spent his career in the military, as his father did. He was a combat pilot in Vietnam who was shot down and spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war. He was born in 1936 in Panama.