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July 4, 2008
Bud DayBy Greyhawk
SO I WAS AT THE GYM THE OTHER DAY - wearing my PT uniform*, and thankful that I have a job that allows me to spend time at the gym. Mandates it, in fact - but I'm a guy who would spend his off duty time there anyway. (And there would be fewer posts on this site, to the joy of some.)
The treadmill is always my last stop. I run outdoors, of course, but I like to do speedwork on a treadmill - it keeps me honest, and I live in flat country so the machine provides my only hills, too. Although I can't do quarter miles at what used to be my one-mile speed I think my half dozen sub-six minute/mile reps (with recovery jogs) are respectable for a man of middle age and limited time. I know it helps keep me lean, I like to believe it helps keep me young.
So I'm standing on the machine getting ready to start, plugging my mp3 player into my ears (I think this tune sets a good workout rhythm, if I say so myself...) when I glance up at the bank of televisions on the wall above me. (Did I say gym? I meant Fitness Center, and the one I'm standing in is barely a year old. It ain't your father's army post...)
The TV above me is tuned to CNN, but the sound is turned down. On the screen I see the unmistakable face of Colonel Bud Day, USAF (ret). I thought that was a remarkable coincidence - I'd just written about Col Day at MilBlogs. In an odd bit of synchronicity, this long time friend (and former cellmate) of John McCain had been the first commander of a unit in Vietnam that would later be briefly led by then-Major Merrill McPeak, who as co-chair of the Barack Obama campaign had made weekend news by spouting catty remarks about John McCain's weight.
For those who wouldn't recognize America's most decorated living veteran CNN provided his name in a caption - albeit without identifying him as such. There was only one thing CNN wanted the viewer to know about Bud Day - that was made clear in the frame around the video. The one thing CNN wanted Americans to know about Bud Day was that he was a member of the Swiftboat Veterans.
I made a mental note to check out why CNN was featuring Bud Day later. Then I pushed play, hit the quick start button, and cranked up the speed.
Like many of my generation I did not go to war gravely and soberly, as Lao-tzu tells us a wise man ought. But I returned from it that way.Many veterans would probably concur with that simple quote from Steven Pressfield's brilliant novel Killing Rommel. I suspect Bud Day might be among them.
Among military members, Bud Day needs no introduction. For others:Whenever I think I'm "torturing" myself in the gym, I think of guys like Bud Day.George "Bud" Day was seventeen in late 1942 when he badgered his parents into allowing him to volunteer for the Marine Corps. He spent nearly three years in the South Pacific during World War II, then returned home, went to college, and got a law degree. In 1950, he joined the Air National Guard. When he was called up for active duty a year later, he applied for pilot training and flew fighter jets during the Korean War. After being promoted to captain in 1955, he decided to become a "lifer" in the Air Force.Here's a video of Bud telling the rest of the story (once again - you'll recognize the name of his Hanoi Hilton "roomate"). More here and here (including his Medal of Honor citation).
Day retired in 1977 and entered law practice in Florida. When retirees were thrown out of the military medical care system, during the Clinton administration years...
Among other endeavors, Day filed a class action lawsuit against the United States government in 1996 on behalf of military retirees who were stripped of their Air Force medical care benefits and told to apply for Medicare.
Here's what NBC wanted to tell Americans about Bud Day in 2007:
One of the members of John McCain’s new Truth Squad — which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on his record of military service –- was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and appeared in an attack ad for the group in 2004.Which he did - they've even got a photo capture from the video to prove it.
And since they brought it up, here's the full video:
To understand Col Day's opinion of John Kerry, you'd have to be familiar with Kerry's testimony before congress - given while Day and the other POWs in that video were being tortured in Vietnam:
Col Day wasn't much interested in John Kerry's Vietnam career. His issue with the Democrat's choice for President was related to Kerry's post-war conduct. Day explained his position in 2004:
Letter from Col. George E. "Bud" Day regarding John KerryBefore teaming with Kerry's fellow Swift Boat veterans, Day and other POWs had told their stories in the documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds that never heal", a film that received an amazing review from the New York Times:
Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," the highly contested anti-Kerry documentary, should not be shown by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. It should be shown in its entirety on all the networks, cable stations and on public television.The Kerry campaign was quick to instruct their adherants how to feel about the group's charges: "While the stories of the POWs sounded legitimate, the Kerry campaign warned that the group has a shady history." And "This group is the poor, distant cousin of the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush," said Mark Nevins, a spokesman for the campaign. "It’s comprised of people with questionable backgrounds whose sole mission in life is to smear John Kerry."
The anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has spent more than $10 million trying to discredit Kerry's war record, recently changed its name to Swift Vets and POWs for Truth to bring into its fold dozens of Vietnam prisoners of war opposed to Kerry's candidacy. Many of those POWs are interviewed in the documentary, "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal."Sinclair Broadcasting planned to air the film on it's network stations in the weeks prior to the 2004 elections. The possibility of Americans hearing the testimony of these former POWs so frightened the Democrats that they filed complaints with the FCC and organized boycotts against Sinclair sponsors.
Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal was never aired on American television, but you can still see excerpts of the film on the web site.
Bud Day may have retired from the Air Force - and helped end the presidential aspirations of ex-lieutenant John Kerry, but he has never quit the battlefield:
A Message from MOH Recipient Col. Bud DayThe Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation home page is here. You'll find more information about Bud Day here, and excerpts from his autobiography here.
America's most decorated living veteran - it's no small wonder the Left fears him.
Tracking: thanks to Instapundit, PowerLine, Dean Esmay, Gateway Pundit, The Smallest Minority, Pal2pal, The Conservative Syndicate, Amused Cynic, and Chapomatic for joining the conversation! (If I missed you, leave a comment or send an email and I'll add you in.)
Posted by Greyhawk / July 4, 2008 9:50 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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