Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day

American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day
by: Robert Coram
February 24, 1925 - July 27, 2013

United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Marine Corps

Years of service
1942 - 1945 (Marine Corps)
1945 - 1950 (Army)
1950 - 1977 (Air Force)

Rank Colonel
Unit 37th TFW Misty FAC (Forward Air Control)

World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War

Medal of Honor
Air Force Cross
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star with Combat "V"
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Purple Heart
Air Medal
Prisoner of War Medal

As you can see from the years of service and the many medals this patriot, Colonel Bud Day, was a distinguished soldier, leader and a man of high morals and ethics. This book told of a man from the wrong side of the tracks in Sioux City rising above anything life threw at him.

Day's military career spanned World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During the Vietnam War Colonel Day was shot down and captured spending over five years and seven months as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. The description of his torture and conditions the POW's were held in was too brutal to even imagine. Despite incredible torture, Day never broke. He became a hero to POWs everywhere, which would serve him after the war.

After struggling through this reading that dealt with his time in captivity, I flowed through Day's retirement years knowing this man had no quit in him at all. Day retired from active duty in 1977 to resume his practice of law in Florida. At the time of his retirement he had nearly 8,000 total flying hours, 4,900 in single engine jets. Day had flown multiple aircraft to include; the F-80,F-84,F-100,F-101,F-104,F-105,F-106,F-4-II,A-4,A-7,CF-5, and the F-15 Eagle . The Colonel became a passionate advocate for veterans' rights, and fought relentlessly for those who served their country. Day also wrote an autobiographical account of his experiences as a prisoner of war, Return with Honor, followed by Duty, Honor, Country both are on my list of must reads.

I feel a bit of a personal loss since prior to reading this book I knew nothing of this man, or his accomplishments. In today's society we know everything about every reality star even if we don't watch the shows, you can't escape it. Yet, sadly the heroes that made this nation great and fought for the very freedoms we enjoy go unnoticed. I urge you to take the time, read the book and learn what makes this country and the men and women who fought for it the real stars, the real heroes.

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