John McCain Laid To Rest Beside Longtime Military Academy Friend

John McCain's final resting place
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Choosing an eternal resting place is a difficult decision for many, and there is a lot to consider. For example, what if a widower remarries? He now has to decide if he wants to be laid to rest with his first wife, or interred with his second wife. For John McCain, the choice was easy. The military veteran was buried next to a longtime friend from his naval academy days, Admiral Chuck Larson.

The pair rest side by side on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, near a bluff with a view of the Severn River. The ceremony was held on the grounds of the seven-acre cemetery, and it was private. McCain, who passed away last week at the age of 81, is not unusual in this choice. Apparently, spending eternity next to a military friend is a relatively common practice.

Larson and McCain both graduated in the class of 1958. Larson was at the top of the class, and McCain was in the bottom five. Despite their academic differences, the two were extremely close. They remained friends throughout their time in the academy, after, and even following McCain’s five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. They decided more than 20 years ago to be buried next to each other, according to Chuck Larson’s widow, Sarah Larson.

“Chuck came home one day and he said, ‘I picked out my grave, and I went ‘Oh, OK,'” Sarah Larson revealed during an interview with CNN’s John Berman on New Day on Friday. “So I just said, ‘That’s fine, good,’ and he said, ‘By the way, John is going to be next to me.'”

McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon after returning home from Vietnam, where he was a prisoner for more than 5 years. Getty Images

Adm. Larson and McCain were both Navy pilots, and they were even roommates during their advanced flight training. Later, they split up when Larson went into submarine service.

McCain had a complicated relationship with the Naval Academy, and claimed he was not well-liked by his superior officers while there. Nonetheless, he appeared to develop a fondness for his time there and the friends he had made.

Throughout the cemetery is evidence of other lasting, eternal friendships. For example, Naval hero William B. Cushing is buried near two friends who were killed in the Civil War. Cushing had their remains brought to the academy, and retired Naval Museum Curator James Cheevers said he believes he did so in order to be buried near his friends.

Now, Admiral Larson and McCain are following in this tradition.

“Chuck has his wingman back,” said Sarah Larson.