Eagle Profile

Brigadier General George E. “Bud” Day was first selected as an Eagle by Air Command and Staff College’s Gathering of Eagles in 1992 and subsequently honored in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2013 respectively. He was born in Iowa in 1925. He is the nation’s most decorated warrior since General Douglas MacArthur. In a long military career spanning 34 years and three wars, Day received 70 decorations, of which more than 50 were for combat, including our nation’s highest military decoration, 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 law school at the University of South Dakota, 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 1955, Day survived a “no-chute” ejection from an F-84. In April 1967, during the Vietnam War, Day was assigned to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Phu Cat Air Base where he organized and commanded the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was the first “Misty Super Forward Air Controller (FAC)” unit, flying the North American F‑100 Super Sabre. On 26 August 1967, “Misty 01” set out on its mission to support F-105 Thunderchiefs in an air strike against surface-to-air missile sites in North Vietnam. Day’s accumulation of over 5,000 flying hours came to an abrupt halt when he was shot down over North Vietnam and immediately captured by the North Vietnamese. Despite having a dislocated knee and badly broken arm, he managed to escape captivity and evade the enemy as he traveled across the demilitarized zone back into South Vietnam–earning the distinction of being the only prisoner to escape from North Vietnam. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to signal friendly aircraft and two weeks of exhaustion and hunger, he was shot and recaptured by the Viet Cong just two miles from freedom. He suffered a brutal 67-month imprisonment that would not end until his release on 14 March 1973. Three days later, Day was reunited with his wife and four children at March Air Force Base, California. After a short recuperative period, Day returned to active flying status. Following his retirement as a colonel in 1977, Day wrote an autobiography, Return with Honor, detailing his suffering during his years of captivity in Vietnam.

On 14 March 1997, the new survival school building at Fairchild Air Force Base was named in his honor. On 25 May 2002, his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa renamed their airport Colonel Bud Day Field. That same year, Colonel Day published his expanded autobiography, Duty, Honor, Country, which includes additional details about his military service and captivity, as well as a stirring account of his legal battle on behalf of World War II and Korean War retirees in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The court acknowledged that the U.S. Government had breached its contract to provide retirees and their spouses with lifetime medical care. Day was posthumously advanced to the rank of Brigadier General on June 8, 2018.

Years Honored: , , , , , , , ,

Aircraft/Specialty: , , , ,

1992 Lithograph
2001 Lithograph
2002 Lithograph
2004 Lithograph
2006 Lithograph
2007 Lithograph
2008 Lithograph
2010 Lithograph
2013 Lithograph

Lithograph Setting(s):

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles WNW of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. Major Bud Day, in an F-100F, identified an enemy storage area. Controlling eight F-105s, he directed bombs on target, destroying SAMS, trucks, and tons of supplies, despite heavy ground fire. A jeep escaped from the destruction. Major Day pursued and fired a white phosphorous rocket. It went through the windshield, destroying the jeep and three enemy troops. Returning to the storage area, Major Day directed F-105s against the site as the enemy tried to recover SAMS. He also marked tunnels for F-4s to close. Major Day then returned home--just another day for Misty 01.

On 8 August 1967, 23 miles west of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam, then-Major Day, in his North American F-100F Super Sabre, directed an attack against an enemy storage area while controlling eight F-105s. Despite heavy ground fire, he directed bombs on target, destroying missiles, vehicles and supplies. One vehicle escaped, which Day pursued and destroyed with a white phosphorous rocket. Returning to the storage area, Day continued to direct the fight as the enemy tried to recover undamaged missiles-just another day for Misty 01.

On 26 August 1967, "Bud" Day was forced to eject 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.

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.