The Incredible Story Of Col. George “Bud” Day And His Survival As A Vietnam Prisoner Of War

Bud

One of the most awarded U.S. Air Force Colonel’s since General Douglas MacArthur is George Everett “Bud” Day. Day had a long and decorated time in the military with around seventy decorations at the time of his retirement.

A Young Marine

In 1942, Day was 17 years old and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was on a gun battery for two years on Johnson Island.

When the war was over, Day went on to get a law degree. He also went into the Iowa Air National Guard.

In 1951, Day returned to active duty for the Korean War. He flew tours in the Far East as an F-84 pilot.

Southeast Asia

Maj Bud Day, 43 at the time, volunteered to head to Southeast Asia in 1967. He was assigned the command of Detachment 1, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, COMMANDO SABRE. Their call sign was one of Day’s favorite songs, Misty.

Day was shot down on August 27, 1967, as he flew over North Vietnam. When he ejected, his right arm broke in three places, and he sustained numerous additional injuries.

Local militia captured Day and proceeded to torture and beat him. He escaped capture after five days. He had no boots and many injuries, but he made it more than 25 miles.

He survived on local fruit and raw frogs as he made his way through the jungle. A nearby bomb went off while he was traveling, injuring him further.

Day made it within two miles of the Con Thien and the Marine base there. However, he was shot and captured by the Viet Cong.

Hanoi Hilton

Day was taken back to the camp he had escaped from. The guards beat him as punishment for his escape and made him walk miles to the prison at Vinh. At the prison, he was tortured and interrogated.

Day was then transferred to the “Hanoi Hilton,” and the torture continued. He spent many years there. His injuries did not heal properly, and he lost around 100 pounds. Even then, he did not reveal any useful information.

As punishment, he was taken to the “Zoo” an area for those who were identified as “hard resisters.” He was beaten so severely that his vision began to blur.

In 1973, Day was set free, 67 months after capture. A year later, he recovered from his injuries and became an F-4 pilot.

Day moved on to be a vice commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, retiring in 1976.

Source: National Museum of The United States Air Force

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