George E. "Bud" Day
George E. "Bud" Day is the nation's most decorated warrior since General Douglas MacArthur. In a military career spanning 34 years and three wars, Day received 70 decorations, of which more than 50 are for combat, including the Medal of Honor. Born in February 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa, Day enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, and served 30 months in the South Pacific during World War II. Returning home, he entered the University of South Dakota law school, passed the Bar exam in 1949, and was commissioned in the Iowa Air National Guard the following year. Called to active duty in 1951, he entered pilot training, was assigned as a fighter-bomber pilot in the Republic F-84 Thunderjet, and served two tours in the Korean War. In 1957, Day was forced to eject at low altitude from an F-84. After ejecting, his parachute failed to open and he crashed landed in a tree. Amazingly, he survived. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, Day was assigned to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa AB, Republic of Vietnam. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Phu Cat AB where he organized and commanded the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was the first "Misty Super FAC" unit, flying the North American F
On 26 August 1967, "Bud" Day was forced to eject from his F-100 over North Vietnam, where he was captured and severely tortured. Despite his extensive injuries, Day outwitted his guards, escaped, and headed south toward freedom. Day battled the tremendous pain of his injuries, reentered South Vietnam, and was within two miles of rescue when he was shot and recaptured. Down, but not out, Day offered maximum resistance to his senselessly brutal captors and inspirational leadership to his fellow prisoners until his release in March of 1973.