This Air Force Pilot Is The Most Decorated Veteran Since MacArthur

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This Air Force Pilot Is The Most Decorated Veteran Since MacArthur | World War Wings Videos

US Air Force / Public Domain

Bud Day Served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam

Portrait of USAF Colonel George Everett “Bud” Day. | U.S. Government / Public Domain

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

The Hoa Lo Prison, dubbed the Hanoi Hilton by the American POWs held there during the Vietnam War. |United States Air Force / Public Domain

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.”

Accomplishments

Day earned the Air Force Medal of Honor. | Unknown / Public Domain
  • 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.

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