Colonel Bud Day who was awarded the Medal of Honor
for his actions as a Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War died yesterday at the age of 88.
Day served our nation during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War and was the most highly decorated American since Douglas MacArthur.
After getting out of the Marines when World War II ended, Day finished high school then attended college and law school on the GI Bill. While attending school he stayed military as a member of the Army Reserves eventually getting a commission as a reserve Air Force officer and orders to flight school. He was called up for the Korean War and afterwards remained on active duty. He was shot down in Nam and broke his arm in three places when he ejected from his plane. He was quickly captures by enemy forces and was tortured and interogated. When his captors let their guard he escaped and evaded re-capture for 12 days and had actually made it back to South Vietnam when a Viet Cong unit shot him twice and took him back to North Vietnam. He was held as a Prisoner of War for over five years. His first cellmate was a near dead John McCain who Day helped nurse off death's door.
After release from prison, Day fought for veterans benefits particularly health care for disabled vets. He was often asked why he didn't go into politics and he would answer it was same reason he never made general - because he spoke his mind and didn't sugar coat things. He wasn't kidding about that. There was nothing "politically correct" about Colonel Day. You never had a doubt about the sincerity of his opinions. His strong comments in 2004 about John Kerry being a traitor and his more recent comments regarding Islam are testiment to his candor.
Colonel Day, Thank you for your service and may you Rest in Peace.
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Medal of Honor
Citation: On 26 August 1967, Col. 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, Col. 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
Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the
aid of a bamboo log float, Col. 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, Col. 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. Col. 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.