Rob Doremus was born in 1932 in Montclair, New Jersey. He enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program on February 22, 1955, was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on August 9, 1955, and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in November 1956. His first assignment was as Squadron Combat Information Officer in AEW aboard WV aircraft with VW-14 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, from December 1956 to September 1958, where he identified the first contact on the Pacific RADAR barrier as the squadron went operational in 1957 (a friendly commercial airliner). He left active duty on September 24, 1958, and was recalled to active duty on October 1, 1961, serving as an Aircrew Training Officer with VS-837 until August 1962. LT Doremus next attended Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Training at NATC Glynco, Georgia, from August to November 1962, followed by F-4B Phantom II Replacement Air Group training with VF-121 at NAS Miramar, California, from November 1962 to April 1963. His next assignment was as an F-4 RIO with VF-21 at NAS Miramar from April 1963 until he deployed with the squadron to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CVA-41) in March 1965. LCDR Doremus flew combat missions from April 1965 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on August 24, 1965. During this time he was credited with the destruction of 1 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. After spending 2,730 days in captivity, CDR Doremus was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces from August 1973 to June 1974. His next assignment was as a training officer with Naval Air Facility Washington, D.C., from July 1974 to August 1975, followed by service as Chief Staff Officer for Navy Recruiting District 4 in Columbus, Ohio. Capt Doremus' final assignment was as Commanding Officer of Personnel Support Activity Great Lakes, Illinois, from August 1983 until his retirement from the Navy on June 30, 1986. Rob served as President of NAM-POWs from 1993 to 1995.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving in Fighter Squadron TWENTY-ONE, embarked in USS MIDWAY (CVA-41), as Flight Officer of an F4B Phantom aircraft during a mission in support of combat operations in Southeast Asia against North Vietnam forces on 17 June 1965. Engaging at least four and possibly six FRESCO aircraft, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Doremus accounted for one confirmed kill and contributed to a second confirmed kill by the other F4B aircraft in the flight by diverting the remaining enemy planes from their threat to the U.S. striking forces. With heavy antiaircraft fire bursting throughout the patrol area, his crew relentlessly maintained their vigil and pressed forward their attack, seeking out and destroying the enemy aircraft and thereby preventing damage to friendly strike aircraft in the area. By his outstanding courage, skill, and devotion to duty in the face of grave personal risk, Commander Doremus upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.