Jeremiah Denton

From Academic Kids

Jeremiah Andrew Denton Jr. (born July 15 1924 in Mobile, Alabama) is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and U.S. senator of the Republican party. He spent almost eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and later wrote a book about his experiences.

Military career

Having attended McGill Institute, Spring Hill College and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946, Denton served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1977. While serving as a pilot in the Vietnam War, Denton was shot down and captured. He was held as a prisoner of war for almost eight years. Four of which were spent in solitary confinement. Denton is best known for the 1966 North Vietnamese television interview he gave, as a prisoner, in Hanoi. During the interview he blinked his eyes in morse code to spell out the word "torture" to communicate that he was being tortured by his captors. He was also questioned about his support for the U.S war in Vietnam, to which he replied: "I don't know what is happening now in Vietnam, because the only news sources I have are 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." Finally in 1973, he was released from prison and on stepping off the plane, as a free man back in his home country, he said: "We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander-in-Chief and to our nation for this day. God bless America."

He retired from the Navy with the rank of rear admiral, and would later go on to write the book When Hell was in Session detailing his detention as a POW in Vietnam.

Political career

In 1980, Denton ran for a U.S. Senate seat from his home state of Alabama and achieved a victory over James E. Folsom Jr., aided by Reagan's coattails. In doing so, he became the first ever retired Admiral to be elected to the Senate. In 1986, he narrowly lost his bid for re-election to Richard C. Shelby, who was then a Democrat.

In 2004, Denton became a vocal critic of Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

Preceded by:
Donald W. Stewart
U.S. Senator from Alabama
Succeeded by:
Richard C. Shelby
Served alongside: Howell T. Heflin

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