The Only Person To Be Awarded Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross
US Air Force / Public Domain
Bud Day Served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam
August 26, 1967 was a defining day for 43 year old WWII veteran Air Force Col. George “Bud” Day. While in command of an F-100 squadron on a secret mission, he was shot down over North Vietnam.
Day shattered his arm and injured his back, knee, and eye while ejecting out of his F-100, but that was just the start of his troubles. The enemy captured, interrogated, and tortured him. Like the proper badass he was though, he managed to escape just five days later.
The Hero Of Hanoi Hilton
Unfortunately, Day was recaptured and spent another staggering 67 months in captivity. That’s about five and a half years! Nobody was going to keep this triple veteran down, however. He would go on to become the most decorated war veteran since General Douglas MacArthur.
His stint in the “Hanoi Hilton” POW camp ultimately earned him a Medal of Honor. The citation reads, “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.”
- Day is the only POW to have ever escaped in Vietnam.
- While a POW in Vietnam, he shared a cell with Senator John McCain, who said of him, “He was a hard man to kill and expected the same from his subordinates, but more than that, he taught me how to save my self-respect and my honor, and that is a debt I can never repay.”
- He is the only person to have received both the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross.
- He earned 70 medals in his career, 50 of which were earned during combat.