McCain’s Former Hanoi Cell Mate Describes Character In Deplorable Conditions

Colonel George “Bud” Day, USAF (Ret.) is currently the most decorated American Veteran alive with more than 70 medals and citations. But he will probably be most remembered for one thing: He was John McCain’s cellmate at the North Vietnamese POW compound known as the Hanoi Hilton.

From Fox News:

“They told me we were gonna get a roommate and it was gonna be the prince. The Vietnamese called him the prince so I asked my nurse what was his name? They said John McCain,” Day told FOX News.

Both he and McCain were taken captive in 1967, and held until their release in 1973.

Anyone who knows even a little bit about the conditions the POWs endured at the hands of the Communists knows how inhumane the North Vietnamese were. Colonel Day describes the conditions that he and (then) Lt. Commander McCain were forced to live in:

The U.S. soldiers were held sometimes five to a cell, barely big enough for two.

“He had this gimpy knee where he’d busted his knee, this arm had been fractured in a couple places, he’d been bayoneted in the leg, this arm was out at the shoulder and, in fact, during that time it was out at the shoulder so long it wore a hole in this bone,” Day said.

During captivity, they were tortured mercilessly, Day said, describing one tactic that McCain has also recalled.

“They roped me under the arms, tied my hands behind my back, ran another rope to that, got me up on a chair, threw that rope up over a rafter and jerked the chair out from under me and your own weight just tears your body apart,” he said.

Day’s broken arm was re-broken during torture so he would never fly again.

But John McCain became an ad hoc doctor and physical therapist:

“John said, ‘Well we’ll gather up some bamboo,’ and he was in a bandage on his leg at that time. So I got some strips of bamboo, smuggled them into the room, John put his foot in my arm pit and pulled on my wrist ’till we could get the bone forced back down … it wasn’t exactly perfect but it worked out he got it back to where it was functional,” Day said.

But nerve damage was extensive — his crushed hands were useless. Meanwhile, McCain was treated no better than the trash they were fed in the form of a soup.

“I mean you could smell him for 25 feet. Bunch of food and nasty stuff in his hair, and down his neck and inside his cast. The cast was not lined so every time he would move inside this cast, it was just eating a hole in his arm or his elbow or someplace, and he was just in — he was in pain,” Day recalled.

Yet McCain, now 71, made efforts to help Day recover from his own injuries, Day said.

This speaks volumes about the character of John McCain. I seriously doubt that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would have attempted anything even close to what McCain was doing for his fellow POWs. In fact, I think it would have been more likely that if put in the same situation, Hillary and Obama would have been cutting selfish deals for special treatment, something that McCain absolutely refused to do:

Day said by any humane standard, McCain would have been a good candidate for early release from the camp, but that wasn’t in his playbook.

“It also wasn’t in his playbook to die. In fact he quickly became a leader.”

Day said he asked McCain if he would be one of his preachers.

“He said sure. He had a great handle on the Episcopalian liturgy, he could just repeat it verbatim,” he said.

But repeating what he went through during his incarceration is something McCain almost never does as a presidential candidate. Day said he thinks he should.

“I’ve never seen any shortcomings or any shortfall out of him talking about that, but he just doesn’t trade on that. I think he feels that it’s wrong to trade on being a hero, but he is,” Day said.

Whereas Vietnam Veterans quickly let the world know of their disdain for the back-stabbing John Kerry, these same Vietnam Veterans know who kept the faith.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

McCain’s Former Hanoi Cell Mate Describes Character In Deplorable Conditions
Carl Cameron
May 8, 2008

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