The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
DAY, GEORGE E.
Rank and organization: Colonel (then
Major), U.S. Air Force, Forward Air Controller Pilot of an F-100 aircraft. Place and
date: North Vietnam, 26 August 1967. Entered service at: Sioux City, lowa. Born:
24 February 1925, Sioux City, lowa.
On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when
it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was
badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp
where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their
vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam.
Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward
surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols
and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid
of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone.
Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days.
After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and
recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was
returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving
his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was
totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his
many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face
of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were
still flying against the enemy. Col. Day's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the
risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed