Bob Naughton was born in 1938 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After graduating with a bachelor's degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, he entered Naval Pre-Flight Training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, on October 5, 1960, and began Flight Training in February 1961, receiving his commission as an Ensign on February 17, 1961. Ens Naughton was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, in February 1962, and then served with VU-1 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, from April 1962 to July 1964. His next assignment was to A-4 Skyhawk Replacement Air Group training with VA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California, from August to December 1964, followed by service as an A-4 pilot with VA-113 at NAS Lemoore from December 1964 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on May 18, 1967. During this time, he deployed to Southeast Asia with VA-113 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) from October 1965 to June 1966, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) from November 1966 until he was shot down in May 1967. After spending 2,118 days in captivity, LCDR Naughton was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries, and then attended Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, from August 1973 to July 1974, followed by an assignment to complete his master's degree at the University of North Florida from September 1974 to December 1975. CDR Naughton next completed A-7 Corsair II Replacement Air Group training with VA-174 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, from January to August 1976, and then served as Executive Officer of VA-83 at NAS Cecil Field from August 1976 to November 1977, and as Commanding Officer of VA-83 from November 1977 to February 1979. Capt Naughton served as the Commanding Officer of VA-174 from February 1979 to March 1981, followed by attendance of the Senior War College Course and then service on the staff of the Naval War College from March 1981 to May 1984. His final assignment was as Commanding Officer of NAS Dallas, Texas, from June 1984 to September 1986, and he retired from the Navy on January 11, 1987. Bob Naughton joined NASA in May 1989, and served as Chief of the Aircraft Operations Division at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, from 1990 until his retirement in 2004. He and his wife Peggy have three children--Kevin, Timothy, and Michael.
His Silver Star Medal Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. On 20 June 1967, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.