Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Patriot Among War Heroes - The Story of Bud Day

As a fighter pilot who saw my share of combat during the Vietnam War, I thought I knew Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day. After all, I was once a member of the elite combat unit he formed to conduct a secret war along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the late 1960s (A unit generally referred to as "Misty" their call sign in combat). But after reading "American Patriot," I realized I was dead wrong. Robert Coram's book profiles a man with a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of controlled courage and an unimpeachable sense of honor - all of which he gladly placed at the disposal of his country throughout his life.

The book is carefully detailed and written in a manner that even the "great unwashed" who were not fighter pilots can understand. The descriptive scenes involving his torture as a POW are painful to read at times, yet I know that they were not exaggerated; and that's what makes them all the more disturbing.

The words "honor," "integrity" and "heroes" have been trivialized in our society to the extent that few people know or care what they mean any more. In an ideal world, these subjects would be addressed in school, or at least discussed at home. But we do not live in a perfect world; that's why I suggest that "American Patriot" be required reading in every high school and college in America. This is a profound and moving book about a man who history will recognize as one of the great American heroes of his time.

Ron Standerfer is a retired Air Force Colonel and fighter pilot who flew 250 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He has written numerous short stories, magazine articles, and blog pieces on military aviation in general, and fighter pilots in specific. During the initial bombing of Baghdad during the Persian Gulf War, he was seen on national TV as a military analyst. His latest novel, The Eagle's Last Flight, chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War and Vietnam years. Details of this book can be found at His blog, which presents his views and opitions on a variety of subjects can be read at

Nothing Will Be Impossible

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