Escaping death even once is already a stroke of luck, but for a man who can evade it at least seven times—now that’s legendary! A feat one rarely achieves, veteran hero Bud Day had gone through an extraordinary journey throughout his military career. He put his life on the line and fought not only one major war but three, including World War II, Korean War, and the most pivotal one, Vietnam War. This honorable man’s strength and courage amid adversity have earned him decorations, recognition, and respect and fostered inspiration for his fellow prisoners of war.

A Military Man and a Scholar

George Everette Day, born and raised in the northwestern part of Iowa on February 24, 1925, dropped out of high school at age 17 to enlist in the US Marine Corps months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. Bud, as everyone calls him, was among the thousands of men shipped and served in the Pacific theater as part of a 5-inch gun battery. He, however, didn’t see combat and was honorably discharged over two months after the war’s end.

Upon returning to the States, Bud attended college and earned his bachelor’s degree before proceeding to law school at the University of South Dakota, where he received a Juris Doctor. Besides his eventual thriving military career, Day had built himself quite an impressive educational background. By late 1946, he joined the US Army Reserve until 1949, when he subsequently passed his bar exam and entered the bar in South Dakota. Bud would go on to earn his Master of Arts degree, a doctor of humane letters, and a doctor of laws, as well as being admitted to the Florida Bar, but that would all happen later after his retirement.

In May 1950, Bud received a direct commission as a second lieutenant and joined the Iowa Air National Guard. A year later, he took active duty in the US Air Force and attended pilot training, and by September 1952, he earned his wings.