The VVA Veteran® Online

May/June 2014

Jeremiah Denton, Jr. 1924-2014

Jeremiah Denton, Jr.  1924-2014, US Navy photoRetired Navy Admiral Jeremiah Denton, Jr., one of the longest-held POWs in the Vietnam War, died March 28. He was 89 years old. A life member of VVA Chapter 701 in Mobile, Alabama, Admiral Denton will long be remembered for standing up to years of severe mistreatment by the North Vietnamese and for blinking out the word “torture” in Morse code during a televised propaganda interview in May of 1966.

When asked about American “war atrocities” in the interview, Denton replied: “I don’t know what is happening 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.”

After retiring from the Navy the U.S. Naval Academy graduate (class of 1946) was elected in 1980 to the U.S. Senate from Alabama. He played the key role in granting Vietnam Veterans of America its congressional charter in 1986. After a series of meetings with VVA founder and former president Bobby Muller, Denton agreed to spearhead the stalled charter effort.

“As a result of these meetings, I understand and respect Bobby and I commend him for his military service to this country,” Denton said. He had developed “a degree of commonality” with Muller and VVA, Denton said, about the “special needs of the Vietnam-era veterans.”

“Without Admiral Denton’s support, VVA may never have become the first and only Vietnam veterans VSO to get an all-important congressional charter,” VVA President John Rowan said. “We all owe him a great debt for that, and for his courageous service to his country in Vietnam.”

Chapter 32 Honors the Forgotten.Are You Eligible for the Arrowhead Device? Asheville, North Carolina, Chapter 124Jeremiah Denton, Jr.
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