Retired Air Force Colonel George “Bud” Day has died at the age of 88. With service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, he is one of American’s iconic military heroes. He holds the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Flying Cross and many other honors and awards. He spent 5 years and 7 months as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese with Senator John McCain as his cell mate a portion of that time. This week Obama recounted how Ho Chi Minh, the brutal first communist leader of the North Vietnamese was “inspired” by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Obama did not mention to his adoring cadre of reporters that Ho Chi Minh spawned the Vietcong who held Colonel Day for all those many years. UPDATE: 7:52 CDT – video added below.
“He would have died in my arms if I could have picked him up,” she said. [Day's wife, Doris]
Believing that Ho Chi Minh admired a Founder or a Founding Document, and reaffirming it to a Communist leader, makes a fool out of the believer, and even more so when you read this story about Colonel Day:
On Aug. 26, 1967, the North Vietnamese captured Maj. George E. “Bud” Day, a downed F-100 Super Sabre pilot who was severely wounded. He was taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and tortured. Days later, Major Day became the only known American to escape into South Vietnam after being captured in the north. Within two miles of freedom, he was re-captured by the Viet Cong. He wouldn’t know freedom again for 5 1/2 years. For his bravery, he received the Medal of Honor.
Perhaps the only stroke of fortune for him that day was that his parachute opened. Upon reaching the ground he was immediately captured and severely beaten. The torture continued for two days during most of which Day was hung upside down with ropes. So severe were his injuries and so swollen was his left knee that Day’s captors considered him incapable of resistance or escape and only loosely bound him for three more days in a damp cave. On the sixth night Day escaped. Barefoot and injured he traveled south for two days, both feet repeatedly cut by sharp rocks and battle debris. Later he would recount the sounds of his pursuers and their dogs all around him day and night, but through great will to survive he managed to stay one step ahead of them.
On his second night of freedom, unable to continue without rest, the 41-year-old pilot sought refuge under a bush. His fitful sleep was suddenly shattered by the nearby explosion of a rocket or bomb, he never knew which. The detonation was so close it threw his body into the air and ruptured his eardrums and sinuses. Shrapnel ripped into his right leg cutting large, open wounds. Disoriented and with no equilibrium, he languished in the brush for two more days. Then he resumed his trek south to what he hoped would be freedom.
For several days meager meals of berries, as well as two frogs, provided the sustenance he needed to continue. After more than a week of struggle Day finally reached the Ben Hai River marking the boundaries of the Demilitarized Zone. Hiding from enemy patrols during the day, he left the cover of jungle that night and used a bamboo log to float across the river and into “no-man’s-land.” For another week he avoided enemy patrols and several times came close to attracting the attention of American helicopters and reconnaissance airplanes. With unbelievable strength of character he continued south in hopes of reaching an American patrol that had ventured into the zone.
Somewhere between his 12th to 15th day of escape he began to hear the nearby sounds of American artillery and helicopters. During the darkness of night he continued until the basecamp was in sight. Not wanting to approach the friendly camp during the darkness that might make the defenders mistake him for an enemy, Day lay down in the jungle to await dawn. Shortly before the sun arose to afford him rescue he looked up to see a North Vietnamese soldier pointing an AK-47 rifle at him. Attempting to escape yet again, Day was shot in his left hand and thigh. A day and a half later he was recaptured and returned to his original prison camp.
Refused medical treatment, Day’s gunshot wounds festered and became infected. He was tortured for 48 hours without rest before the enemy finally believed they had broken his will. Day had answered their questions. What they didn’t realize was that the man who appeared so broken on the outside had answered every important question with false information. Two months later, totally destroyed physically, Day was sent north to the infamous Hoa Lo or “Hanoi Hilton” prison camp, where further torture continued. Source: U.S. Air Force
I am hesitant to bring in ‘Obama politics’ in a post about the death of this man so admired for his courage, perseverance and will to live for his family, but the disgusting coddling and friendly outreach from this president to Communist regimes and other thefts of freedom that Col. Day and others like him fought against, is not something to be ignored.
Not only was Col. Day a hero for his courageous military acts of valor but he later fought for the quality and free health care for Veterans he considered a promise made and a promise to be kept, so he sued the Federal Government. That battle took longer than the years he spent as a prisoner and in the end he made progress but did not win the battle.
Day and other military retirees, mostly veterans of World War II and the Korean War, say recruiters and other military officials promised lifetime medical care in return for at least 20 years of service. The Justice Department contends that doesn’t matter because Congress never authorized the promise.
“This is basically about the honor of the United States,” said Day, who practices law in Fort Walton Beach. “Either they keep their word, or they double-cross us.” Source
Day said he was turned away from the hospital at Eglin Air Force Base and was told that he could not get treatment if you are over 65 years old.
His lawsuit was filed in the late 1990′s and Judge Roger Vinson dismissed the suit based on the fact that the law did not stipulate Veterans receive free health care – although recruiters apparently made these promises to countless enlistees. Vinson said Congress would have to legislate relief.
The Supreme Court brought Day’s remarkable seven-year court fight to a close in 2003 when it declined to hear an appeal. By then, however, Congress had enacted TRICARE for Life and the TRICARE Senior Pharmacy program, the biggest expansion in government-funded health benefits in decades. This left some retirees satisfied that the promise of lifetime care had been restored. Day, pointing to the Medicare Part B premium retirees must pay, disagreed. Source
Indeed, along comes ObamaCare and it’s mandate to cover every 26-year-old “child” who is not married and does not have coverage under employment, and guess what, that 26-year-old costs the Veteran $200 a month, two children $400 a month:
The most important thing this revelation does from a policy standpoint is it exposes an oft-repeated sham coming from defenders of ObamaCare: that this kind of coverage can be expanded without imposing more costs on those who are paying the premiums.
And it contradicts Obama’s constant drumbeat that he is helping the middle class.
Health insurance for children is the most affordable coverage there is. That’s because children between the ages of two to 18 are the healthiest segment of the population. As a result, when a young family that has to buy its own coverage adds a child or two to their policy, they usually find the additional coverage cheap when compared to the cost of premiums for adults. And that low cost has made it easier for young families, which tend to have lower incomes, to get their children insured.
In addition, most standard health insurance policies allowed children to remain on their parents’ policies until they were between 23-to-25 years old as long as they were dependents, such as full-time students. (Mine did.)
But now insurers must accept young adults up to age 26, well into their child-bearing years, and they don’t even have to be dependents. And they can drop the coverage when they don’t want it and return to their parents’ policy when they need care. Talk about gaming the system! Source: Forbes
Colonel Day was released from the Vietnamese in March 1973. He stayed in the Air Force, had a long rehabilitation period but for some reason, he received no further promotions. He retired from duty in 1977 with close to 8,000 total flying hours. After retirement he wrote two books: Return with Honor and Duty, Honor, Country.
Superb video that layout his years as a POW. See photos of his reunion with his family – probably viewed through tears.
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