Skip to comments.War Hero Bud Day Dies at 88
Posted on 07/28/2013 8:13:17 AM PDT by kristinn
Retired Air Force Colonel Bud Day, a celebrated war hero and veteran's activist, died Saturday. He was 88.
Day, a Medal of Honor recipient, was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. He also received the Purple Heart.
William Everett, regional commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said Day was very giving of his free time, attending military ceremonies until his health no longer allowed him to. One of his last appearances was at his own birthday celebration Feb. 24.
"Very, very sad," Everett said, of hearing about Day's death Saturday morning. "It's a very sad moment."
In an email Everett circulated to contacts and members of the MOPH, Everett said the funeral was expected to be Thursday with burial at Barancas National Memorial Cemetery in Pensacola. More details about arrangements were expected to be released Monday, Everett said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nwfdailynews.com ...
We will not forget your tremendous life and legacy. Thank you.
Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth ping.
Thank you for your service Colonel. You were an amazing individual.
God rest his brave soul
One of the good guys
Honored to have not 1 but 2 true American heroes at Co-op Managers Mtg today: POW survivors Charlie Plumb & Bud Day
I remember that he appeared on a few of the military channel episodes.
A true gentleman and gentle man.
He has “slipped the surly bonds of Earth”
Thanks for the notice, Kristinn.
All interested, please skim this piece:
Medal of Honor
Air Force Cross
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star (4) with Combat "V"
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Purple Heart (4)
Air Medal (10)
Prisoner of War Medal
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Subject: A Message from MOH Recipient Col. Bud Day
Being outside of Montgomery, Alabama, and the last base I was stationed at was Maxwell, AFB, and as Maxwell is the home of Air University; Colonel Day would often attend the annual Gathering of Eagles event that AU put on.
I've seen and spoken to the good Colonel. He is one of my true heroes!
Sir, I salute you, and morn your passing! Fly up to God now, Sir! "Eagles up!"
More on Col. Day:
My dad was flying the F-105 over North Vietnam when Day was shot down. Every time a pilot went down, regardless of the home base, the news traveled fast. RIP Col., say hello to my dad and all the other heroes who have taken their final flight west. Two nickels on the ground. One for Col. Day and one for Col. Dad.
Yes, thanks, NN.
Also the account of his time in “Jail” in NVN.
George E. “Bud” Day
Colonel George E. “Bud” Day was born in Iowa in 1925. He is America's most highly decorated living soldier, and the most highly decorated since General Douglas MacArthur. In a military career spanning 34 years and three wars, Day received seventy decorations, more than fifty of them for combat. They include the Congressional Medal of Honor. Day started his military career as a Marine enlisted man in 1942 and served 30 months in the South Pacific during World War II. Returning home, he entered college, studied law, and passed the bar examination in 1949. In 1950, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Iowa National Guard. He joined the Air Force in 1951 and completed pilot training later that year. He then served two tours in the Far East as a fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean War, flying F-84s.
Day also earned the distinction, while stationed in England, of living through the first no-parachute bailout from a burning fighter. Recognition of his experience and abilities led to his selection as the initial commander of the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the first “Misty” Super FAC unit. In F-100Fs, he and his men flew missions over North Vietnam, finding and marking targets for other fighter-bombers to strike. The Misty squadron flew one of the most dangerous missions of the Vietnam War. In Day's case, his accumulation of over 5000 hours of flying time and 4500 hours of single-engine jet time came to an abrupt halt while on a mission in the back seat of an F-100F, checking out a new Misty pilot.
On 26 August 1967, Day was shot down over North Vietnam. Following his ejection, the North Vietnamese captured him. Despite serious injuries, he managed to escape his captors and evade through the Demilitarized Zone back into South Vietnam. Within sight of friendly aircraft, the enemy recaptured him. He was then returned to the North, where he was imprisoned. He is the only prisoner ever to escape from North Vietnam and return all the way through the Demilitarized Zone to South Vietnam. Thus, he began a 67-month ordeal that would end only when he was released from captivity. On 14 March 1973, Day left Vietnam in a C-141, and, with his fellow POWs, returned to freedom. In short order, he was reunited with his wife and four children in the United States. After a short recuperative period, Day was returned to active flying status. Colonel Day retired from active duty in 1977. He now travels and lectures to civilian and military audiences about the war, their POW experiences, and his book, Return with Honor.
I think he was acquainted with my brother, who is buried at Barancas. May he rest in peace.
I remember one time him telling us that while a prisoner in North Vietnam, they would get a half-bowl of maggoty rice that the guards would often piss in. One of the other prisoners wouldn’t eat it.
Col Day said he told the man, “You’ve got to eat that. They WANT you to throw it out. If you don’t eat it, you will die. They want that. Eat it no matter what they do to it, no matter what it taste like, it is the difference between death and life. Stand up to the by living. It’s the only way!”
The man just couldn’t eat the peed on rice. He died a few months later.
Lord Jesus, rest the soul of Thy servant Bud with the angels and saints.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, amen.
Thanks for posting the link to Col. Day’s awe inspiring POW experiences.
He and his generation of warriors were so short-changed and betrayed by politicians. God Bless him and all the Viet Vets!
Having just finished “Unbroken” about Louie Zamperini
(another unbelievable hero!)
I will be reading Coram’s “American Patriot”.
The horrific abuse these brave men experienced & survived with faith locked in their hearts astounds me.
Sweet blue yonder, I didn’t see the full rollup of Bud Day’s “salad bar”.
What a loss. Our greatest generation is fading fast.
I met him at an enlisted breakfast at Lajes Field back around 85-88 (the years I was there)
Still have a picture in my “stuff” somewhere.
Another great, but humble, man is gone. RIP.
A warrior’s warrior. RIP, Sir.
Had the honor to chat with this fine officer and gent at FWB and again at Cheney’s Salute in 2000. RIP, Sir.
Properly, references to him should be “Medal of Honor Recipient, Retired Air Force Colonel Bud Day”, in that order.
It could even be argued that if a Medal of Honor Recipient was elected President of the United States, that the Medal of Honor would still rank ahead of his title.
I agree. I think it was Truman who once said when awarding one of these that he rather have that medal than be president.
Not to discount his bravery in action, but I am most thankful for his heroism in saving us from John Kerry.
Both courage and grace come from a strong inner core. And this gentleman had a rock solid one.
Fly with the Angels, Col. Day!
I have had a blessed career in the USAF that is still ongoing. In that time I consider my time at Air Command and Staff College the highlight...why? I was fortunate enough to be on the Gathering of Eagles team. My assigned “Eagle” was Lieutenant general Harold G. “Hal” Moore. However, Colonel Bud Day was among the group. There was nothing more awesome than that final week...among those great heroes of our country. I will never forget the honor it was to meet them and how I and the whole team were humbled to be allowed to present them to our class. Some would say flying high performance jets and all the travel and the many missions sounds exciting, it is but window dressing to having time with people like the amazing Bud Day. God bless his family for a grateful nation mourns their loss with them.
Col. Day would have rather not gotten the Medal. I was a photographer at Eglin AFB when he was the JAG there, about 1977-78. He was a good and humble man who did his best in trying times. I don't doubt he was still doing his best right up to his last moment here.
I note in the article about him in the NY Times, they said "Colonel Day represented military retirees in a federal court case aimed at securing what they said were health benefits once promised by their recruiters." I was one of those retirees. I distinctly remember my recruiter telling me that my wife and I would have free healthcare for life, if I stayed in long enough to retire. I did, but Congress did what it seems to have done throughout history. Nothing good for the troops they made promises to.
My 19YO daughter is in Navy Basic Training, beginning her 5th of 8 weeks. I told her not to trust them to do what they've promised for her, either. I did not tell her not to serve, since it's likely she'll meet some of her own heroes while she does, like I did.
WRM, MSgt. USAF(Ret.) 1973-1997.
I had the privilege of working with the Misty FACs and knew some of them well. They were a great bunch of guys, the best, and their skill and courage were widely known by those of us around in those days. It was a very small unit, but it was full brave American men who risked it all day after day against a wily and tenacious enemy.
Here is a book written about them, Bury Us Upside Down, and of course Colonel Bud Day plays a prime role.
You have FReepMail.
I will never forget Colonel Day’s appearance in those devastating TV ads that sunk John Kerry in 2004.
Air Force Hymn
To MOH recipient, Col. Day
Bud was a fighter, never gave in, never gave up, even as a POW.
He was one of the featured people in a privately made “Unauthorized Autobiography of Jane Fonda”, made in 1988 and shown on the Arts & Entertainment channel and at least one local channel in DC. (Other participants were POW Mike Benge, AID official Dolf Droge, and myself).
Damned he looked good when he spoke, and he spoke well and to the point.
Later he helped the Swiftboat Veterans for the Truth About John Kerry (and endorsed the book, “Unfit for Command”), and then supported the unfortunately short-lived Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation.
He was kind enough to sign some Topps cards of himself for my daughter, son (OIF), and my granddaughter.
He was “old school”, “Greatest Generation”, and an “Officer and a Gentleman”. If there is any military man who should be a role model for today’s youth, (besides their fathers, brothers, uncles, etc), it should be Budd.
An All-American, all the time. RIP, Budd. Fly High!
The Misty FACs had balls the size of cantaloupes. And the other group was the Thud drivers. Day was shot down FACing for a Thud, which was probably the single most dangerous mission profile a fighter pilot could fly in Vietnam.
A good and honorable man. He is young in heaven now. What a man, what a life.