Regularly Scheduled Meetings
April 4, 2019 marks he fortieth anniversary of the chartering of the George E. “Bud” Day Flight, Flight #61 of the National Order of Daedalians.
Twenty-three qualified officers petitioned the National Order on March 16, 1979, and the flight was originally chartered as Seagull Flight on April 4, 1979 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, now the home of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. Michael Couvillon, one of the original petitioners, is a National Life Member and remains active with flight. The flight now has more than 160 members and a scholarship fund in excess of $120,000.
On December 18, 2012, the flight was officially renamed in honor of Colonel George E. “Bud” Day, a distinguished member of the flight.
Colonel Day was born on February 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Marines in December 1942, serving in the Pacific Theatre until November 1945. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree and a PhD in Humane Letters from Morningside College, he attended the University of South Dakota, earning a Juris Doctorate and admission to the South Dakota Bar Association in 1949, all while serving in the United States Army Reserves. He later transferred to the Iowa Air National Guard and, in July 1950 was called to active duty and assigned to Webb Air Force Base, Texas, where he earned his pilot’s wings in September 1952.
He served two Korean War tours in the Republic F-84 Thunderjet; at RAF Wethersfield, England, in the F-100 Super Sabre; and commanded the ROTC unit at St. Louis University. After attending Armed Forces Staff College from August 1963 to January 1964, he served as Air Force Advisor to the New York Air National Guard at Niagara Falls, NY.
In 1967, Bud volunteered for a tour in Vietnam, where he served as an F-100 Assistant Operations Officer at Tuy Hoa Air Base. After 72 missions, in June 1967 he was assigned as the first commander of the Misty Super FACs at Phu Cat Air Base, where he flew an additional 67 missions into North Vietnam. On a mission to eliminate a surface-to-air missile site, the North Vietnamese shot down his plane. Although he suffered three breaks in his right arm and dislocated his left knee, he escaped from his initial captors, but was recaptured two weeks later near Quang Tri City, and spent the next five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam. By the time of his release on March 14, 1973, he had survived 2,028 days as a prisoner of war.
Bud returned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where he flew fighters and completed a PhD in political science at Arizona State University. His last military assignment was as Vice Commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He retired from active duty on December 9, 1977, with 6,000-plus flying hours and nearly seventy medals, including the Air Force Cross and the Medal of Honor. Bud Day died on July 27, 2013, and is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
Colonel Day is a 2016 enshrinee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame and on June 8, 2018, was posthumously advanced to the rank of brigadier general by order of the President.
His namesake Bud Day Flight currently supports seven local high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) detachments, including Army, Navy, and Air Force units; provides Daedalian Flight Training Scholarships to deserving future aviators each summer, and awards annual academic scholarships of more than $20,000 to outstanding students aspiring to a career as a military aviator.