Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down in the Vietnam War, imprisoned with John McCain in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton,” and defiantly endured more than five years of brutality without divulging sensitive information to his captors, earning him the Medal of Honor, died on Saturday in Shalimar, Fla. He was 88.
Colonel Day was among America’s most highly decorated servicemen, having received nearly 70 medals and awards, more than 50 for combat exploits. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award specifically for airmen.
George Everette Day, known as Bud, was born on Feb. 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa. He quit high school to join the Marines in 1942 and served with an antiaircraft battery on Johnston Island in the Pacific during World War II.
In addition to his wife, Colonel Day is survived by his sons Steven and George Jr; his daughters Sandra Hearn and Sonja LaJeunesse, and 14 grandchildren.
Wikipedia's article is here.
There are currently 78 living Medal of Honor recipients.
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GEORGE EVERETTE DAY
Colonel (then Major), US Air Force; Detachment 1, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 37th Tactical Fighter Wing
Born: 24 February 1925, Sioux City, Iowa
Died: 27 July 2013, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Citation: On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his [North American F-100 Super Sabre] 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.