The man was captured by Vietnamese communists, held as a prisoner, and was forced to film a confession that he was being treated according to the Geneva Convention, so that the VC could avoid repercussions from the world.
He knew that if he did not do as they asked, he would be treated badly. So, to slip a message out under the noses of his captors, he blinked the word, “TORTURE” in Morse Code.
He took a big risk, because if it were found out, he no doubt would have been killed.
The following is copy-pasted from Wikipedia:
Denton attended McGill Institute and Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. In June 1943, he entered the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis,Maryland, and graduated three years later in the accelerated Class of 1947. His 34-year naval career included service on a variety of ships and on aircraft, including airships (blimps). His principal field of endeavor was naval operations. He also served as a test pilot, flight instructor, and commanding officer of an attack squadron flying the A-6 Intruder.
In 1957, he was credited with revolutionizing naval strategy and tactics for nuclear war as architect of the “Haystack Concept.” This strategy called for concealing aircraft carriers from radar by intermingling with commercial shipping and avoiding formations suggestive of a naval fleet. The strategy was simulated in maneuvers and demonstrated effectiveness, allowing two aircraft carrier fleets thirty-five simulated atomic launches before aggressor aircraft and submarines could repel them. He went on to serve on the staff of the Sixth Fleet at the rank of Commander as Fleet Air Defense Officer.
Denton graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Naval War College, where his thesis on international affairs received top honors by earning the prestigious President’s Award. In 1964, he received the degree of Master of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington Universityin Washington, D.C.
Prisoner of War (POW)
Denton served as United States Naval Aviator during the Vietnam War and was the Commanding Officer (CO) of Attack Squadron Seventy-Five (VA-75) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA 62). On 18 July 1965, then-Commander Denton, was leading twenty-eight planes flying an A-6A Intruder (Bureau Number 151577), off the Independence on a bombing mission with Lieutenant Bill Tschudy, his navigator/bombardier. Their jet was shot down over the city of Thanh Hoa in North Vietnam, and they were captured and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese.
Denton and Tschudy were both held as prisoners of war for almost eight years, four of which were spent in solitary confinement. Denton is best known for the 1966 televised press conference that he was forced into as an American POW by his North Vietnamese captors. He used the opportunity to communicate successfully and to confirm for the first time to the U.S. Military (naval intelligence) and Americans that American POWs were beingtortured in North Vietnam. He repeatedly blinked his eyes in Morse Code during the interview, spelling out the word, “T-O-R-T-U-R-E”. 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, but whatever the position of my government is, I support it fully. Whatever the position of my government, I believe in it, yes sir. I am a member of that government, and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live.” While a prisoner, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. Denton was later awarded the Navy Cross and several other decorations mostly for heroism while a prisoner of war.
Denton was put in the “Hanoi Hilton” and the “Zoo” prison and prison camp and “Little Vegas” and “Alcatraz” prisons. In “Alcatraz”, he became part of a group of American POWs known as the “Alcatraz Gang“. The group consisted of James Mulligan, George Thomas Coker, George McKnight, James Stockdale, Harry Jenkins, Sam Johnson, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz, and Nels Tanner. They were put in “Alcatraz” andsolitary confinement to separate them from other POWs because their strong resistance led other POWs in resisting their captors. “Alcatraz” was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. Each of the American POWs spent day and night in windowless 3 feet by 9 feet cells mostly in irons.
On February 12, 1973, both Denton and Tschudy were released in Hanoi by the North Vietnamese along with numerous other American POWs duringOperation Homecoming. Stepping off the jet back home in uniform, Denton 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.” The speech has a prominent place in the 1987 documentary, Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam.
Denton was hospitalized briefly in the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, and then was assigned to the Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In January 1974, Denton became the commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College (now known as the Joint Forces Staff College). He stepped down as commandant in April 1975 and continued to work at the college until June 1977. He finished his service at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and retired from the Navy on November 1, 1977 with the rank of Rear Admiral. He wrote his book in 1976, When Hell was in Session, detailing his detention as an American POW in North Vietnam. The book later turned into a movie of the same title which starred Hal Holbrook as Denton. He accepted a position with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) as a consultant
Also, reference this article on the Washington Post: