Legendary MoH Pilot Gets Posthumous Rank Advancement

By Katie Lange,
Department of Defense

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Air Force Col. George E. “Bud” Day

We’ve highlighted Air Force Col. George “Bud” Day before for Medal of Honor Monday, but we’re highlighting him again this week for a special reason. Day, who earned the nation’s highest award for valor in Vietnam, was posthumously advanced in June to the rank of brigadier general.

Day was a military legend, having served 35 years during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He’s also one of America’s most distinguished service members, earning 70 decorations, including the Medal of Honor, which the pilot earned after his aircraft was shot down in Vietnam in August 1967.

The next few years his life were brutal – he was injured, starved and tortured for about five years in an inhumane prisoner of war camp before finally being released in 1973, when the U.S. agreed to withdraw from the conflict. You can read more about Day’s harrowing experiences in our previous MOH Monday piece.

Day died in 2013.

On June 8, at a ceremony at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein presented Day’s widow, Doris, with the certificate of advancement on his behalf. She was also given two single silver stars – the rank insignia worn by a brigadier general – which were first pinned onto Goldfein’s shoulders when he earned the rank in 2007.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein presents Mrs. Doris Day with brigadier general rank insignia after her deceased husband, retired Col. George E. “Bud” Day, was posthumously promoted during the 2018 Heritage to Horizons summer concert in Arlington, Va., June 8, 2018. The stars were originally Goldfein’s when he was a brigadier general. Air Force photo by Wayne A. Clark

Day’s advancement was proposed by Sen. John McCain, who was a friend of his and a cellmate during their imprisonment in Vietnam. It became effective in March.

I think it’s safe to say the honor is well-deserved!

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Legendary MoH Pilot Gets Posthumous Rank Advancement