Mobile, AL (July 7, 2014) – On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at 10:00 am, in the Aircraft Pavilion at Battleship Memorial Park, the Battleship Commission will host a Memorial Celebration, to remember former US Senator, War Hero, and Retired Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. The Battleship Commission is also dedicating this day, July 15, 2014, as “Denton Day”. Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr., a Mobile native, died peacefully on March 28, 2014, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, surrounded by family. The event is being held on what would have been his 90th birthday.
In 2008, a KA-6D INTRUDER aircraft, bearing the Admiral’s name, was dedicated to Admiral Denton by the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission. This plane is identical to the plane the Admiral flew in the mid-60’s prior to his capture and imprisonment by the North Vietnamese. The INTRUDER is on display in the Aircraft Pavilion at USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park and for the Memorial Celebration, a special Jeremiah Denton exhibit will be set up along with the aircraft.
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. His 34-year naval career included service on a variety of ships, in many types of aircraft. He was credited with revolutionizing the way the Navy deployed its ships. Denton conceived a revolutionary fleet deployment concept, nicknamed “Haystack”, subsequently implemented by the Pentagon. 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 US military captive to be subjected to four years of solitary confinement. Denton was released on February 12, 1973 and continued his military service until 1977 when he retired and returned to Mobile. Denton was elected to the United States Senate in November 1980 and served until 1987. Denton has been awarded many distinguished honors and awards, three honorary degrees, and lifetime memberships in many national organizations.