2013 David Leighton Lecture: RADM Robert Shumaker, USN (Ret)

We are very pleased to present the video of the 2013 David Leighton Lecture, from the Naval Historical Foundation Annual Membership Meeting, 15 June 2013. The speaker was Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, USN (Ret). In February 1965, while flying an F8 Crusader, he was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam, was captured, and spent the next eight years as a POW. His fellow POW’s consider him as a resister, leader and patriot. He spoke about his experiences as a POW, and what he learned.

The annual Leighton Lecture was created to highlight a unique aspect of naval history for the members of the Foundation. It is named in honor of David T. Leighton, a 1945 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, who was the first-ever student to receive a degree in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover at the Division of Naval Reactors. Hailing from a Navy family, Leighton has been a strong supporter of the NHF Cold War Gallery project. The lecture series is intended to feature individuals who contributed to the making of naval history.

We thank Bob Rositzke for filming and editing the lecture for viewing on the web.

Spread the word. Share this post!


  1. LCDR Heidi Lenzini


    I was fortunate to hear Admiral Shumaker speak last year at a Naval Academy Alumni event, and I was so impressed with his positive attitude about his POW experience. He was quick to point out how supportive his wife was during the whole ordeal, raising their infant son during his years in captivity. The “war” was waged at home, too, trying to glean any confirmation of their loved one’s existance. As he noted, they released only a third of the actual names…which left the other 2/3 of the families in the dark. One family I know had to go every week to DC for 3 years, pouring over photos, to try to find any sign of their father. We owe them a debt we can never repay.

  2. Ray Sarracino


    What a moving presentation. Thank you for your service and for sharing your experiences. You are truly a Great American!

  3. LCDR Dick Carpenter


    I have been trying to get in touch with Adm. Schumaker as I was his liason officer at Balboa Hospital, San Diego upon his return from captivity.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *