Gov. Terry E. Branstad today has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 in honor of Iowa native, retired Col. George “Bud” Day.
Day’s funeral will be on Thursday, Aug. 1 in Shalimar, Fla. and he will be buried at Barrancas National Cemetery at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Col. George “Bud” Day, was born in Sioux City, Iowa on Feb. 24, 1925. He dropped out of high school in 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and served in the Pacific theater. Following World War II, Day earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morningside College and a law degree from the University of South Dakota. In 1950, Day received an officer’s commission as a 2nd Lt. in Company M, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Iowa Army National Guard in Sioux City. He transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1951, where he completed pilot training and entered the active duty U.S. Air Force for combat in the Korean War. Day remained on active duty with the Air Force following Korea and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. While flying a combat mission over North Vietnam, Day was shot down Aug. 26, 1967, captured by the North Vietnamese Army and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war. During his captivity in North Vietnam, Day and U.S. Sen. John McCain were cellmates at the Plantation and Hanoi Hilton prison camps. Day was released from captivity in March 1973 and retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1977.
Upon military retirement he moved to Florida, where he began a law practice that focused on advocating for veterans’ issues. Over the course of his 35-year military career, Day earned more than 70 awards for combat, including the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in Vietnam. At the time of his death, Day was one of the nation’s most highly-decorated service members.
“I was honored to call Bud a friend,” said Gov. Branstad. “We had the opportunity to hunt together, even as recently as 2010, and I always enjoyed our time together. He will be missed.”
Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.