Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War

The Last Battle of the Vietnam War (Part I)

Day One -- Monday, July 26, 2004 First Session 0900-1045 (Click to see video (whole session)-- Click here to see Admiral Denton's Keynote Address only) (Click Here to see transcript) [Suggestion: you might want to listen to the Video while reading the transcript. To do this, open the Video which will take you toWindows Media Player and then minimize it and open the transcript.]

1. Opening Address: The Last Battle of the Vietnam War (Part 1) – The last battle of any war is the writing of its history. Who has and who will write the history of that war and what are their qualifications, pre-conceptions. We answered John F Kennedy’s call. If we have held to our original views, why is our view of that history called “revisionist”? Why are we here in Boston today? A Welcome to Participants from Steve Sherman

Keynote Address: (video presentation by Admiral/Senator Jeremiah Denton followed by Q&A)

Speaker: Admiral/Senator Jeremiah Denton. (Senator Denton was introduced by his USNA Classmate and Korean War MOH recipient, Captain Thomas Hudner)

Speaker’s biographical information: A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Jeremiah A. Denton served on ships, in many types of aircraft, and as a staff officer during his Navy career. He also served as test pilot, flight instructor, squadron leader and student at the Armed Forces Staff College and Naval War College, where he received the President's Award for the most outstanding Master's Thesis.

In June of 1965 he began flying combat missions in Vietnam. On July 18, he was shot down during an attack on enemy installations near Thanh Hoa, and spent the next seven and a half years in several North Vietnamese prisoner of war camps.

Promoted to the rank of Captain while imprisoned, Senator Denton provided the first direct evidence of torture by the North Vietnamese. He did so by blinking in Morse Code the word "torture" during a televised interview.

Upon his release in 1973, Senator Denton demonstrated that long imprisonment had not broken his spirit. Upon landing in the Philippines, he made the following statement:

"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"

Since his retirement from active service at the rank of Rear Admiral, Jerry Denton has been active in public affairs. He has especially emphasized the connection between family strength and national morality and the defense of civilization. In 1980, he was elected to the United States Senate from Alabama, where he serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Labor and Human Resources and the Armed Services Committee. These committee assignments enable him to pursue the interconnection between moral strength and the security and well-being of our society. In December of 1981, he became Chairman of the Board of United Families of America, a national, grass-roots lobbying group specializing in family issues.

His autobiographical account of his Vietnam experiences, When Hell was in Session, was published in 1982. He served as Senator Alabama from 1981-1987. In 1983, Denton founded the Admiral Jeremiah Denton Foundation, dedicated to issues regarding the concept of One Nation under God, the institution of the family, welfare reform, and peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs. He serves as President of the Foundation.

Website : http://www.nff.org/Jeremiah%20Denton.htm

Discussion Forum: Click here to discuss this session

Articles of Interest:

Denton on Kerry, by Jeremiah Denton
We Remember, by Terry Garlock

Suggested Reading:
(General References)

Historical Atlas of the Vietnam War; Harry Summers; Houghton Mifflin, NY; 1995.
Vietnam War Almanac; Harry Summers; Facts On File, NY, 1985.

Vietnam War Diary: 1964-1975; Charles Bishop (ed.); The Military Press; NY; 1990.
The World Almanac of the Vietnam War; John Bowman (ed.); Bison Books, NY; 1985.
Foreign Relations of the United States, Department of State; Volumes Pertaining to the Vietnam War, Published on CD, RADIX Press, Houston, TX, 2002, 2005.

(Admiral Denton)

When Hell Was in Session, Senator Jeremiah A Denton, Jr., Traditional Press, 1982


Personal comment: In 1976, as a Major, after my third Vietnam tour, I attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. It was an all services school for mid-level officers. The Commandant was Admiral Jeremiah Denton. Because he was still recovering from a 7 year 7 month tour in the Hanoi Hilton he was assigned there to be near the best of Naval Hospitals at Norfolk. Although some time had passed, he had little feeling in his arms and hands from being hung off the ground by his elbows which were tied behind his back. I knew him a little through lectures, school and social events and brief conversations. Dixie was invited to a ladies' tea given by Mrs. Denton at their quarters. Recalling this at dinner tonight, she said Mrs. Denton was the one of the most gracious ladies she had ever met. After his retirement, he wrote and I purchased his book, When Hell Was In Session.  He was a very quiet Southern gentleman, religious, almost shy, extremely understated and .... well, I remain in trembling awe of his ability to have survived .....  What Admiral, and later Senator, Jeremiah Denton says, I do not take lightly.

--Lon Underhill