Bud Day: Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Three Branches in Three Wars, POW. Freaking Legend.

May 06 , 2022

Bud Day: Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Three Branches in Three Wars, POW. Freaking Legend.

Col. George Day’s story starts the day his F-100 was shot out of the sky over Vietnam on August 26, 1967.

Then-Major Day was leading a Misty Forward Air Control flight when his plane was crippled by anti-aircraft fire. He ejected but was badly injured in the process. Not long after reaching the ground, he was captured and taken to a small POW camp.

According to his Medal of Honor citation, he tricked the guards and made a break for it into the jungle.

Despite his injuries, and incurring more, Day traveled south towards the DMZ. He survived on berries and raw frogs. He made it very close to American lines but was unable to signal several American planes overhead.

Suffering from delirium, he began wondering aimlessly until he was recaptured by the Viet Cong who shot him in the hand and leg in the process.

Once in captivity, Day offered nothing but maximum resistance to the enemy and kept the faith with his fellow POWs. Along with receiving the Medal of Honor for his bravery in escape and resistance also received the Air Force Cross for his staunch refusal to cooperate.

To date he is the only man to receive both awards.

George Everett "Bud" Day
DATE OF BIRTH: February 24, 1925
PLACE OF BIRTH:
Sioux City, Iowa
HOME OF RECORD:
Sioux City, Iowa
Colonel "Bud" Day served 30 months in the South Pacific during WW II as an enlisted member with the US Marine Corps. He served as an Army reservist, and Army guardsman between WW II and Korea, and then in the Air Force during the Vietnam War (3 different services over the span of 3 different wars.) After being shot down on August 26, 1967, and serving 7 years in captivity, Colonel Day was repatriated in 1973. He is the only man to earn BOTH the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross. A recipient of virtually every other available combat decoration, he is widely considered the most decorated Airman in history. His autobiography is titled "Return With Honor" and he later expanded upon that book in a second autobiography titled "Duty, Honor, Country."

AWARDS BY DATE OF ACTION:1 of 12

Medal of Honor
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Battalion: Misty Super FAC's F-100 Squadron
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
GB-180, March 22, 1976

CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Colonel [then Major] George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty a Pilot of Misty Super FAC's F-100 Squadron, held as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. 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 three 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 Ben Hai River, 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 United States Armed Forces.

Air Force Cross
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
Department of the Air Force, Special Orders GB-1152, (October 29, 1974)

CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 16 July 1969 to 14 October 1969. During this period, Colonel Day was subjected to maximum punishment and torture by Vietnamese guards to obtain a detailed confession of escape plans, policies, and orders of the American senior ranking officer in the camp, and the communications methods used by the Americans interned in the camp. Colonel Day withstood this punishment and gave nothing of value to the Vietnamese, although he sustained many injuries and open wounds to his body. Through his extraordinary heroism and willpower, in the face of the enemy, Colonel Day reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
Department of the Air Force, Special Orders GB-1152, (October 29, 1974)

CITATION:
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility, while serving as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam during the period April 1968 to February 1973. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Day and his dedicated contributions in the service of his country reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Silver Star
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Battalion: Misty Super FAC's F-100 Squadron
Division: Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as a Forward Air Controller of Misty Super FAC's F-100 Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam, PACIFIC Air Force, while directing fighter strikes near Ben Quang, North Vietnam, on 26 August 1967. On that date, Major Day was flying a visual reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of a heavily camouflaged Surface-to-Air missile site that was a threat to friendly air forces in the area. Due to the low, overcast cloud conditions, fighter aircraft were unable to locate and destroy this SAM site. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Major Day made repeated passes over heavy and accurate anti-aircraft artillery fire attempting to identify the site for the waiting fighter bombers. On the last pass, his aircraft was hit and severely damaged, forcing him to bail out over hostile territory. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Day has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Legion of Merit
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Major George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Air Force Advisor, 107th Tactical Fighter Group, New York Air National Guard, from 18 January 1964 to 27 February 1967. During this period, the exemplary ability, diligence and devotion to duty of Major Day were instrumental factors in the resolution of many complex problems of major importance to the New York Air National Guard and the United States Air Force. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Major Day reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Legion of Merit
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. His ceaseless efforts, by a continuous showing of resistance to an enemy who ignored all international agreements on treatment of Prisoners of War, in the extremely adverse conditions of the communist prisons of North Vietnam, demonstrated his professional competence, unwavering devotion, and loyalty to his country. Despite the harsh treatment through his long years of incarceration, he continued to perform his duties in a clearly exceptional manner which reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Distinguished Flying Cross
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Major George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Forward Air Controller in North Vietnam on 22 July 1967. On that date, while directing three separate air strikes against hostile forces, Major Day made repeated marking passes against heavily defended targets, thereby enabling strike aircraft to destroy a sampan convoy and two truck parks. With consummate skill and a complete disregard for his own personal safety, Major Day continued to make marking passes despite intense hostile automatic weapons fire. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Day reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Bronze Star
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for heroism as a Prisoner of War while engaged in operations against an opposing armed force in North Vietnam. On 11 June 1968, while being punished by his captors, he resisted their demands to sign anti-war statements. His courage and strong willpower were sustained even though he suffered wounds and injuries. By his heroic actions and dedication to duty, Colonel Day reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Bronze Star
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for heroism as a Prisoner of War while engaged in operations against an opposing armed force in North Vietnam. From 6 December 1968 to 21 December 1968, Colonel Day, as the senior ranking officer in the building occupied by fellow prisoners, was beaten and forced to kneel for a two-week period. With great courage and exemplary leadership he resisted enemy attempts to gain prisoner secrets. By his heroic actions and dedication to duty, Colonel Day reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Bronze Star
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for heroic actions against an enemy armed force while serving as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese and interrogators and guards kept constant pressure on this officer through harassment, intimidation, and cruelties from which they hoped to gain information and cooperative participation in their propaganda exercises. This individual heroically resisted their treatment in a manner which served as an inspiration to others in the camp and reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Bronze Star
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, takes pleasure in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Bronze Star Medal to Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the United States as Commander, Special Operations Flight, code "MISTY", 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, from 15 June 1967 to 26 August 1967. During this period, Colonel Day demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership, organization, personal aggressiveness and initiative in accomplishing a multitude of complex duties, the completion of which substantially improved the reconnaissance and targeting capability of the SEVENTH Air Force and the United States Navy air effort over North Vietnam. The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor and devotion to duty displayed by Colonel Day in this responsible position reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Prisoner of War Medal
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Division: Prisoner of War (North Vietnam)
GENERAL ORDERS:
CITATION:
Colonel George Everett "Bud" Day (AFSN: 0-49555), United States Air Force, was held as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from August 26, 1967 until his release on March 14, 1973.


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9 Comments

  • 06 May 2022 Mike Morton

    I do not know what milk formula his Mom feed him, but we surely could use it today, with the state of our youth,
    now!!!!! Hollywood could not dream up a movie, to match this MAN’s life story!!!!

    FROM THE HALLS OF MONTEZUMA TO THE SHORES OF THE SHORES TRIPOLI , THAT MAN DEFINES WHAT EVERY MARINE CAN BE!

  • 06 May 2022 Ricardo Finney

    My USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant son who retires in 2023 with 30 years of service sent me this article. Recognizing valor and bravery far beyond the normal call of duty, he sent his favorite old retired Air Force guy (me), the article about General Day. I choked up while reading and realizing what a magnificent man and warrior the General was. Every branch of our Armed Forces has their special heroes, and for my Air Force General Day was again, magnificent. May God bless his brave and honorable soul.

  • 06 May 2022 Mickey Campagna

    Col. Day,

    It is because of you, I get to live in a beautiful place and enjoy my family in safety. Words cannot convey my gratitude to you, sir!

    Thank you.

  • 06 May 2022 alan johnson

    They certainly don’t make them like General Day, any longer.

  • 06 May 2022 Don Marsters

    Colonel Day – Thank you for your lifelong commitment to service of our country. You are the epitome of a true American hero (although I would bet you don’t see yourself as one). Having served in 3 of the 4 military branches in 3 different conflicts is amazing. May long be the praises and memories of your accomplishments be shared. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸



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