Sen. John McCain Remembers Col. Bud Day, 'Most Special Man I've Ever Known'

Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot and one of the most decorated U.S. servicemen, died Saturday in Florida at the age of 88. Day was also the POW cellmate of Sen. John McCain, who remembers him in an interview with Gwen Ifill.

Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years, died Saturday in Florida at the age of 88. One of America's most decorated servicemen, Day was the recipient of the Medal of Honor, among many other awards. Day was also the POW cellmate of Sen. John McCain at two different prison camps, including the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Both endured injury and deprivation.


On Monday, Sen. John McCain joined Gwen Ifill for an interview on the showdown over debt in Congress and the stakes for immigration reform. The senator also remembered his friend and former senior ranking officer Day.

"Col. Day enabled us to do things that we otherwise would never have been capable of because of his inspirational leadership," said McCain. "And I owe him that debt forever."

McCain said Day continues to inspire servicemen and women. McCain recalled that on visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, he has encountered new, young aviators who saw him as a role model: "Bud Day, I wish I could measure up to what he did."

Watch the full interview with Sen. John McCain and Gwen Ifill Monday on the PBS NewsHour.

Support Your Local PBS Station