Medal of Honor Recipient Bud Day Dies

Retired Col. George E. “Bud” Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, died on July 27 in Shalimar, Fla., following a long illness. He was 88. “I owe my life to Bud, and much of what I know about character and patriotism,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was Day’s cellmate in captivity in Hanoi. “He was the bravest man I ever knew,” said McCain. Day’s funeral service is scheduled for Thursday in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., with burial at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla., according to press reports. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Day was born on Feb. 24, 1925. He served as a marine in World War II and then became an Air Force pilot during the Korean War. On Aug. 26, 1967, the North Vietnamese shot down Day’s F-100 Super Sabre during a dangerous forward air control mission. He endured extreme hardship and torture in captivity. On March 14, 1973, Day regained his freedom. After recuperating, he returned to active flying status. He then retired from active duty in 1977 as one of the most decorated officers in the service’s history and went on to practice law in Florida, becoming a crusader for veterans’ issues. Day chronicled his Vietnam War experiences in the 1989 book Return with Honor. (See Associated Press report, via the Colorado Springs Gazette, and Sioux City Journal report.) (See also The Strength of Bud Day and Valor: The Long Road to Freedom from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)