Bud Day (left) campaigning with John McCain in 2008.

Bud Day (left) campaigning with John McCain in 2008.

An Iowan who was one of the country’s most decorated military veterans has died.

Colonel Bud Day was 42 when he was captured by the Vietnamese and held prisoner for more than five years.

During a 2008 interview with Radio Iowa, Day said he and the other American prisoners of war in what was known as the Hanoi Hilton “became brothers” during that experience.

“We came out with very common views on life, on politics, on people,” Day said.

Arizona Senator John McCain, another POW in the “Hanoi Hilton,” credits Day with keeping the American soldiers inside that prison in line.

“To help us to resist the efforts of our captors for us to do things that would have been dishonorable,” McCain said back in 2008 during a Radio Iowa interview.

McCain described Day as the toughest guy he’s ever met.

“Bud Day was the senior ranking officer in almost every situation and he inspired us to do things that we were otherwise incapable of,” McCain said back in 2008, on the 40th anniversary of the day McCain’s plane was shot down over Vietnam and he was taken prisoner.

Bud Day was awarded the Medal of Honor for enduring more than five years of brutality without divulging sensitive military information to the Vietnamese. Day earned more than 70 medals for his military service. He was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He died Saturday in Shalimar, Florida. He was 88.

Day quit high school in 1942 to join the Marines and served in the Pacific during World War II. He returned to Sioux City, graduated from Morningside College and then earned a law degree from the University of South Dakota. Day was recalled to active duty in 1951 to fly fighter planes during the Korean War.

Day was vice commander of a fighter wing in Florida when he retired from the military in 1977.