Admiral Jeremiah Denton



Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. was born on July 15, 1924 in Mobile, Alabama. He attended McGill Institute, Spring Hill College, and the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1946. He died on March 28, 2014.


His 34-year naval career included service on a variety of ships and in many types of aircraft. His principal field of endeavor was naval operations. He also served as a test pilot, flight instructor, and squadron commander. In 1957, he was credited with revolutionizing naval strategy and tactics for nuclear war as architect of the "Haystack Concept."


As a naval officer, Denton graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Naval War College, where his thesis on international affairs received top honors by earning the prestigious President 's Award. In 1964, he received the degree of Master of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University.   


In June 1965, he began a combat tour in Vietnam as prospective Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron Seventy-Five. On July 18, 1965, Denton was leading a group of twenty-eight aircraft from the USS Independence in an attack on enemy installations near Thanh Hoa, when he was shot down and captured by local North Vietnamese troops.


He spent the next seven years and seven months as a prisoner of war, suffering severe mistreatment and becoming the first U.S. military captive to be subjected to four years of solitary confinement.


A Commander when he was shot down, Denton was recommended for and promoted to the rank of Captain while a prisoner. He was confined at several prison camps in and around Hanoi, frequently acting as the senior American military officer in the camps.


Denton's name first came to the attention of the American public in 1966, during a television interview arranged by the North Vietnamese in Hanoi. Prior to the interview, torture and threats of more torture were applied to intimidate him to "respond properly and politely. " During the interview, after the journalist's recitation of alleged U.S. "war atrocities," Denton was asked about his support of U.S. policy concerning the war. He replied: "I don't know what is happening now in Vietnam, because the only news sources I have are North Vietnamese, but whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it, I support it, and I will support it as long as I live."


(reprinted from the weblink below) 

Admiral Denton Bio info




Despite the fact that the audio and video don't match, this YouTube video gives you an idea of the situation facing Admiral Denton when he was a prisoner.  He taps out the morse code word "torture"with his blinking.


An interview with Admiral Denton was conducted on August 9th, 2011.

David Rapaport and Admiral Denton

FINDING SOURCES-Reacting to the Interview with Jeremiah Denton

  • What are Admiral Denton's views of the current direction of the United States?
  • What were Admiral Denton's remarks on his capture and confinement by the North Vietnamese?
  • How would you characterize the courage it took for Admiral Denton to survive as a POW?
  • Why was his release particularly significant?
  • What did Admiral Denton say that he did after his release that was noteworthy?