When he was in the Hanoi hilton and the VC learned he was the son of an Admiral, they offerred to release him. This would hve been a shrewd PR
move by them because then they could have sat back as the world commented that "the admiral's son got preferential treatment". McCain, despite being beaten and mistreated on an almost daily basis and nursing serious injuries from his crash and captivity agreed to the release only once all the pilots captured before him were released.
That takes gigantic balls, whether he got a flight assignment due to family connections or not.
He is a true war hero any way you spin it.
1985 Honda VF1000R, 1990 Ducati 851, 2008 YZ450F