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RIP George "Bud" Day


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Colonel George "Bud" Day, USAF Retd, passed away on 27 July 2013.

As several obituaries note, he was a Medal of Honor recipient who was in the Hanoi Hilton with John McCain. But more than just the Medal of Honor. Col. Day was, as far as I can tell, the last living recipient of all his nation's awards for valor. Besides the Medal of Honor, Col. Day also received the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with Valor Device and two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters. That is in addition to all his awards for merit and meritorious service - the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, another Bronze Star without the "V", the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and a whole bunch of Air Medals. Besides these and various service medals and unit awards, also worth a mention is the National Order of Vietnam in the grade of Commander, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

I believe that Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, US Army, Retd., is now the only remaining living recipient of both the Medal of Honor and his service's highest valor award, in his case the Army Distinguished Service Cross.

Blue skies, Col. Day.

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Bottom row, second from the right is the Nationalist Chinese medal for "Medal of Victory of Resistance Against Agression". Many were awarded to Americans who were in the Burma front in the Pacific War. Most likely, he "Flew the Hump" or assisted the Chinese Nationalist Air Force in some manner. It was awarded for contributions to China against the Japanese.

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The first two ribbons on the bottom row, and the two medals on either side of the neck badge in the shadow box photo, are Vietnamese decorations - the Psychological Warfare Medal and the Veterans' Medal. The neck order below the Medal of Honor is the Iowa National Guard's highest award, the Medal of Valor. Day was commissioned a 2LT in the Iowa National Guard and was activated to serve in the Korean War. He transferred to the active USAF at the end of the Korean War.

The Chinese medal with the ribbon device is the Chinese National War Memorial Medal. I do not believe it was ever officially accepted for wear by the US Armed Forces, but retirees, especially ones with the Medal, have some latitude.

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The first two ribbons on the bottom row, and the two medals on either side of the neck badge in the shadow box photo, are Vietnamese decorations - the Psychological Warfare Medal and the Veterans' Medal. The neck order below the Medal of Honor is the Iowa National Guard's highest award, the Medal of Valor. Day was commissioned a 2LT in the Iowa National Guard and was activated to serve in the Korean War. He transferred to the active USAF at the end of the Korean War.

The Chinese medal with the ribbon device is the Chinese National War Memorial Medal. I do not believe it was ever officially accepted for wear by the US Armed Forces, but retirees, especially ones with the Medal, have some latitude.

Thank you Dave - you answered all of my questions!

I noticed on his Wikipedia page that he served as an enlisted Marine from 1942 until the end of WWII. The awards listed on his page have him holding a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, but that is missing in the photo of him above, as well as the picture that speagle shows with all of his medals. I wonder if someone just added that in there or if he was really entitled to the Marine Corps medal.

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A few other things I've noted:

- Shouldn't he have a star on his National Defense Service Medal, for both Korea & Vietnam?

- Wouldn't he also be entitled to the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, which was awarded to all U.S. military members who participated in combat?

- Should he have at least one campaign star on his Korean Service Medal, since he undoubtedly participated in at least one campaign during his two tours over there?

I know from experience that veterans often do not have or display all of the awards and stars that they are entitled to. Just wondering...

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