Alabama Academy of Honor


Jeremiah Andrew Denton, Jr

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1982, 2002, and in 2014.



Jeremiah Andrew Denton, Jr., military leader and statesman, was born July 15, 1924 at Mobile. After attending Spring Hill College, 1942-43, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy and earned the bachelor of science degree with honors in engineering in 1946 and a masters of arts degree in International Affairs at George Washington University, 1964.

In 1965, he began flying in Vietnam as prospective commanding officer of Attack Squadron 75. On July 18, 1965, he was shot down and captured by North Vietnamese troops and spent the next seven years and seven months as a prisoner of war, and was promoted to captain while in prison. He frequently served as senior military officer in these camps. When returning with the first group of POW's on February 12, 1973 he was asked to speak: "We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances...God bless America."

In 1973 he was given the rank of Rear Admiral; served as Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, and was decorated with: The Defense Department Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Cross, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Navy Unit Commendation. In 1977, he retired and moved back to his home, Mobile. In 1981 he was elected as U.S. Senator from Alabama, serving through 1987.

In 1976 he authored When Hell was in Session and published numerous articles for periodicals and magazines. He was awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, L.H.D. by Spring Hill College, 1974 and has been listed in Who's Who in America.

On June 6, 1946 Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. married Kathryn Jane Maury and they had seven children: Jeremiah III, Donald, James, William, Madeline, Michael, and Mary Elizabeth.

Jeremiah Denton passed away on March 28, 2014.