F-100 Pilot Bud Day’s Heroism Lives On

Medal of Honor Recipient Bud Day Posthumously Promoted

Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein posthumously promoted former prison of war and Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Bud Day to brigadier general during a summer concert series at the Air Force Memorial on Friday evening. Goldfein used the stars he had received when he was promoted to brigadier general during the ceremony. “I’d like to recognize all of our Vietnam-era friends and thank them for their service,” said Goldfein. “Tonight we gather to remember those who gave the last measure of devotion, those missing in action, those who endured the harsh and tyrannical treatment at places like the Hanoi Hilton and their families.”

Sen. John McCain, who was Day’s cellmate in captivity in Hanoi, introduced the advancement, which was directed by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and became official on March 27.

Day—who died in July 2013 after a long illness—was flying his F-100 Super Sabre on a dangerous mission over North Vietnam when he was shot down and immediately captured on Aug. 26, 1967. He was the only prisoner to escape from North Vietnam, but was recaptured by the Viet Cong before he could reach safety. He was repatriated on March 14, 1973, and reunited with his wife and four children.

Day eventually returned to active flying status and retired from Active Duty in 1977 as one of the most decorated officers in USAF history. For more about Day, read The Strength of Bud Day and Valor: The Long Road to Freedom from Air Force Magazine’s archives.

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