March 29, 2014

Jeremiah Denton 1924 - 2014

Jeremiah Denton passed away yesterday in Virginia Beach.

An Alabama native who put down deep roots in Hampton Roads, Jeremiah Denton served one term as a senator from his home state before returning to Virginia where he was a local fixture for many years.



A successful lawyer, a professor and political activist, he served as chairman of the presidential commission  on the merchant marine and founded a Christian charity (The National Forum Foundation) that lobbied successfully for welfare reform and assisted in humanitarian and peacekeeping endeavors throughout the world.

A lawyer politico and lobyist, if not for the faith based charity, that bio would have be the sort of life today's ruling class would aspire to.

However, Jeremiah Denton had other rather more august accomplishments that still get under the skin of a certain type of individual.


Navy Cross
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (V)
Air Medal
Navy Commendation Medal (V)
Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
Prisoner of War Medal

Jeremiah Denton was an accomplished naval aviator and commanded the US Navy's attack squadron VA-75 off of USS Independence. On 18 July 1965 he and his co-pilot were shot down over North Viet-Nam, Cdr. Denton was captured and placed in the P.O.W. camp known to American Servicemen as The Hanoi Hilton.

In 1966 he was forced to give a television interview. While parroting the propaganda that his sadistic captors instructed him to convey, he blinked...rather a lot.

In Morse Code to be precise.

 T-O-R-T-U-R-E


In this way he not only confirmed to US officials and the public that American Servicemen were being tortured, he earned himself "special"attention from his captors. Jeremiah Denton was one of the group of US officers who were known as the Alcatraz Gang, men who were especially defiant and were singled out for particular abuse. He endured this while helping his men maintain their morale for nearly 8 years.

Then, in 1973, after getting clobbered in yet another attempt to invade and conquer South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese signed the Paris Peace Accords.   As part of the Treaty the North Vietnamese swore to acknowledge South Vietnam's right to exist and US POWs including Denton, were released.

Jerimiah Denton, a after a period of recovery in Norfolk Naval Hospital, continued with his military career Commanding the Armed Forces Staff College and Pensacola Naval Airstation before retiring a Rear Admiral. He then proceeded to do all the other things mentioned above.

 In the meantime, while, the US signed a treaty to come to Saigons aid if the North invaded again, however, Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment which broke the treaty and deprived the Vietnamese of US Assistance. The Communists fell upon the South like wolves and killed over 500,000 people whose crime was believing the US would keep its word. Over the next several years other nations that depended upon US military assistance to fight off the communist onslaught Laos and Cambodia fell and became abattoirs....


Hippies get results.

This, however was not for any lack of courage or effort by Denton and his fellow servicemen.


The left of course never forgave him for his service and as recently as 2004 he was barred from speaking at Independence Day celebrations.  

Well, Jerimiah Denton, who faced hell for eight years is unlikely to have suffered much from those whose great moment of courage was avoiding service. He was a bit eccentric, but lived a full, good life and the Law Firm he and his son founded continues to serve the People of Virginia Beach. He lived his life in and out of service with considerable honor and we as a society are diminished by his loss.

One of the great ones has passed.

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