Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton
True American Hero
Thomas More Law Center Advisory
Then-President Ronald Reagan in recognizing Admiral Denton during his 1982 State of the Union Address On January 26, 1982 said:
“We don’t have to turn to our history books for heroes, they are all around us. One who sits among you here tonight epitomized that heroism at the end of the longest imprisonment ever inflicted on men of our armed forces. Who will ever forget that night when we waited for the television to bring us the scene of that first plane landing at Clark Field in the Philippines — bringing our POWs home? The plane door opened and Jeremiah Denton came slowly down the ramp. He caught sight of our flag, saluted, and said, ‘God Bless America.’ then thanked us for bringing him home.”
Admiral Denton, a retired Naval rear admiral and former U.S. senator, survived nearly eight years of captivity in North Vietnamese prisons, and his public acts of defiance and patriotism came to embody the sacrifices of American POWs in Vietnam.
Jeremiah Andrew Denton Jr. was born on July 15, 1924, in Mobile, Ala. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1946 and received a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1964.
He was promoted during his captivity to the rank of captain and later to rear admiral. After the war, he served as commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., and retired from the Navy in 1977.
In addition to the Navy Cross, his honors included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.