August 08, 2013

Jeanette Grider

Col. George “Bud” Day, 1925-2013

Col. George E. Day

Colonel George "Bud" Day, a former assistant professor, alumnus and highly decorated member of the military, died July 27 at the age of 88.

From 1959 to 1963, Col. Day served as an assistant professor of aerospace science at Saint Louis University's Air Force ROTC detachment, teaching classes in basic aviation and aeronautical science. During his years at the University, he also majored in political science and earned a master's degree (Grad A&S '64).

When Col. Day came to SLU, he was already a man who had accomplished much and served his country with great honor.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Col. Day quit high school in 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps where he would serve more than two years in the North Pacific during World War II.

At the end of the war, he went on to pursue his education under the G.I. Bill, earning a bachelor's degree from Morningside College followed by a law degree from the University of South Dakota. He was admitted to the bar in 1949.

In his later years, he also was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Morningside College and a Doctor of Laws from Troy State University.

Following his service in World War II, Col. Day joined the U.S. Army Reserve and was called to active duty in 1951 for undergraduate pilot training in the U.S. Air Force. He served two tours as a fighter bomber pilot during the Korean War. After being promoted to captain, he decided to make the Air Force a career.

Anticipating retirement in 1968, Col. Day volunteered for a tour in Vietnam. In August 1967, he was on his 65th mission into North Vietnam when his plane was damaged and the crew forced to eject. After suffering serious injuries, he was captured by the North Vietnamese local militia, escaped and then captured by a Viet Cong patrol.

As a prisoner of war, Col. Day shared a cell with future senator and presidential candidate John McCain. He was released in 1973 after nearly six years as a POW. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976.

Col. Day retired from active duty in 1977 to resume practicing law in Florida, where he lived until his death.

Col. Day is survived by his wife of 64 years, Doris; four children and 14 grandchildren. He was laid to rest at the Barrancas National Cemetery at the Pensacola Naval Air Station Aug. 1.


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