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Colonel George Everett “Bud” Day, R.I.P.

28 July 2013 @ 20:00

Medal Of Honor recpient Colonel George ‘Bud’ Day has passed away.

From USA Today, Catalina Camia reporting, we learn [tip of the fedora to James Woods]:

Vietnam War hero George “Bud” Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who was John McCain’s cellmate while both were held captive, has died after a long illness. He was 88.

“I owe my life to Bud, and much of what I know about character and patriotism,” McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said in a statement Sunday. “He was the bravest man I ever knew, and his fierce resistance and resolute leadership set the example for us in prison of how to return home with honor.”

Day, a retired Air Force colonel, died Saturday at his home in Shalimar, Fla. His wife, Doris, told the Associated Press that her husband “would have died in my arms if I could have picked him up.”

At ,my old site, I used to have a feature emtitled “Heroes’ and here is the entry on the Colonel…

Medal Of Honor Recipient
Colonel GEORGE EVERETT “BUD” DAY

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Medal of Honor Citation: Rank and organization: Colonel (then Major), U.S. Air Force, Forward Air Controller Pilot of an F-100 aircraft. Place and date: North   Vietnam, 26 August 1967. Entered service at: Sioux City, Iowa. Born: 24 February 1925, Sioux City, Iowa. Citation: On 26 August 1967, Colonel Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Colonel Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the BenHaiRiver, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Colonel Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Colonel Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Colonel Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.

BIOGRAPHY of GEORGE EVERETT “BUD” DAY
[taken from Wikipedia]

George Everett “Bud” Day (born February 24, 1925) is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served during the Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations, a majority for actions in combat.

Day was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on February 24, 1925. In 1942 he quit high school and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served thirty months in the North Pacific during World War II as a member of a 5-inch gun battery with the 3rd Defense Battalion on Johnston Island.

After the war, Day attended Morningside College on the G.I. Bill, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree, followed by law school at the University of South Dakota, receiving a Juris Doctor. Day passed the bar exam in 1949 and was admitted to the South Dakota bar. In later life Day was also awarded a Master of Arts degree from St. Louis University, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Morningside, and a Doctor of Laws from Troy State University. Day was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1977.

A member of the Army Reserve, in 1950 he received a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Iowa Air National Guard, and was called to active duty in 1951 for undergraduate pilot training. He served two tours as a fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean War flying the Republic F-84 Thunderjet. Promoted to captain, he decided to make the Air Force a career and was augmented into the Regular Air Force.

Anticipating retirement in 1968 and now a major, Day volunteered for a tour in Vietnam and was assigned to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base in April 1967. At that time he had more than 5,000 flying hours, with 4,500 of them in fighters. On June 25, 1967, with extensive previous service flying two tours in F-100 Super Sabres he was made commander of Detachment 1, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, based at Phu Cat Air Base. Using the call sign Misty, the name of Day’s favorite song, his detachment of 4 two-seat F-100’s and 16 pilots became pioneer “Fast FACs”: Forward Air Controllers over Laos and North Vietnam.

On August 26, 1967, Day was flying in the F-100s back seat for Captain Corwin “Kip” Kippenham in Misty 31, directing an air strike against a surface-to-air missile (SAM) site west of Dong Hoi, 20 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone in North   Vietnam. Day was on his 65th mission and acting as check pilot for Captain Kippenham, who was flying as aircraft commander for the first time. 37mm antiaircraft fire crippled the aircraft, forcing the crew to eject. In the ejection, Day’s right arm was broken in three places when he struck the side of the cockpit, and he also experienced eye and back injuries.

Kippenham was rescued, but Day was unable to contact the rescue helicopter by survival radio and was quickly captured by North Vietnamese local militia. On his fifth night, when he was still within twenty miles of the DMZ, Day escaped from his initial captors despite his serious injuries. Although stripped of both his boots and flight suit, Day crossed the Demilitarized Zone back into South Vietnam, becoming the only U.S. prisoner to escape from North Vietnam. Within two miles of the U.S. Marine firebase at Con Thien and after 12-15 days of evading, he was captured again, this time by a Viet Cong patrol that wounded him in the leg and hand with gunfire.

Taken back to his original camp, Day was tortured for escaping, breaking his right arm again. He then was moved to several prison camps near Hanoi, where he was periodically beaten, starved, and tortured. In December 1967 Day shared a cell with Navy Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain III who was even more seriously injured and emaciated. Air Force Major Norris Overly nursed both back to life, and McCain later devised a makeshift splint of bamboo and rags that helped heal Day’s seriously atrophied arm.

On March 14, 1973, Day was released after five years and seven months as a North Vietnamese prisoner. Within three days Day was reunited with his wife, Doris Sorensen Day, and four children at March Air Force Base, California. On 4 March 1976, President Gerald Ford awarded Day the Medal of Honor for his personal bravery while a captive in North   Vietnam.

Day had been promoted to colonel while a prisoner, and decided to remain in the Air Force in hopes of being promoted to brigadier general. Although initially too weak to resume operational flying, he spent a year in physical rehabilitation and with 13 separate medical waivers, was returned to active flying status. He underwent conversion training to the F-4 Phantom II and was appointed vice commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

After being passed over for nomination to brigadier general, Day retired from active duty in 1977 to resume his practice of law in Florida.

Following his retirement, Day wrote an autobiographical account of his experiences as a prisoner of war, Return with Honor, followed by Duty, Honor, Country, which updated his autobiography to include his post-Air Force years.

Day is an active member of the Florida Republican Party, was actively involved in the controversial 527 group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, and actively campaigned with John McCain in 2000 and 2008. In the months leading up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Day appeared in television advertisements–along with other members of the 527 group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth–decrying John Kerry’s military service during the Vietnam War and declaring him “unfit” for service and of a “dishonest” disposition.[5][6][7]

During a 2008 teleconference with reporters from the Miami Herald, Day made comments regarding John McCain’s stance on the Iraq War, stating that “I don’t intend to kneel, and I don’t advocate to anybody that we kneel, and John [McCain] doesn’t advocate to anybody that we kneel.” Also during this interview he sparked controversy by making a broad generalization about what some see as an ideological divide between Islam and America: “the Muslims have said either we kneel, or they’re going to kill us.”

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Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.

Requiescat in pace.

6 Comments
  1. 28 July 2013 @ 20:39 20:39

    So what the hell happened to John McCain? He’s such a whiny, liberal asshat?

  2. M. Thompson permalink
    29 July 2013 @ 01:45 01:45

    A sheepdog, now laid to rest.

  3. 29 July 2013 @ 13:00 13:00

    McAmnesty doesn’t have half the character Bud Day did. McAmnesty is a Quisling thast many from the Hanoi Hilton have said gave into his captors and got special treatment. Day never did and I have heard of no one that has said a word of reproach about Day’s valor in combat or as a POW.

  4. indyjonesouthere permalink
    29 July 2013 @ 17:53 17:53

    Kerry wouldn’t equal a pimple on Day’s ass.

  5. Lofty permalink
    30 July 2013 @ 05:43 05:43

    Here in New Zealand, we remember and give thanks for Bud Days selfless service……RIP.

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