Volabamus Volamus: Col. Day placed nation above self

William L. Martin III

Volabamus Volamus (“we flew we fly”) is the motto of the Order of Daedalians, a fraternal and professional order of American military pilots. The Tenets of the Order of Daedalians are First: To Place Nation Above Self (Patriotism); Second: To Be Worthy of the Trust and Confidence of a Fellow Daedalian (Personal Integrity and Character).  Col. George “Bud” Day, for whom our local Order of Daedalians flight is named, exemplified this creed. 

Day was on his 65th mission over North Vietnam when 37 mm anti-aircraft fire ripped through his F-100F jet — call sign “Misty 01.” Misty was the radio call sign used by the F-100F Fast Forward Air Controllers during the Vietnam War. There were only 157 pilots officially assigned to fly Misty missions over North Vietnam. It was a very hazardous mission; 22 percent of the 157 Misty pilots were shot down.

When Day ejected from Misty 01, he struck the side of the cockpit and broke his arm in three places, and he also experienced eye and back injuries. He was subsequently captured by a local North Vietnamese militia unit. 

Despite his serious injuries, and stripped of his flight suit and boots, Day became the first ever POW to escape from North Vietnam. However, he was soon recaptured by a Viet Cong patrol after being shot in the leg.

I won’t recount Day’s experience as a POW, other than to relay the following quote from his Medal of Honor Citation: “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 Forces.”

After he retired from the Air Force, Day grew into a pillar of our local legal community. He led the charge in seeking promised medical benefits for certain retired military members who entered into active duty service before Dec. 7, 1956.  Day was a strong advocate for his clients — his presence in the local legal community will be sorely missed.

Volabamus Volamus Colonel Day — ultra posse nemo obligatur (no one is obligated (to do) more than he can).

Bill Martin is a former B-52 and B-1 pilot and senior attorney for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is a member of the Order of Daedalians — Bud Day Flight. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Keefe, Anchors & Gordon in Fort Walton Beach.


Services for Col Bud Day are scheduled for this Thursday, Aug 1, at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island.

·          The viewing and visitation will take place from 9 - 11 a.m.

·          His funeral service will begin at 11 a.m.

·          Col Day's burial will follow at Barrancas National Cemetery on NAS Pensacola at 3 p.m.

The events are open to all who want to come pay their respects to this hero.

Learn more about the service, click here.