Military Retirees

George "Bud" Day's fight to make the federal government keep its promise of free health care to aging military retirees has taken more than a year longer than the 5.5 years he spent as a prisoner of war.

And it's still not over.

The 77-year-old retired Air Force colonel and Medal of Honor winner sued the government in Pensacola in 1996. Now, he is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices have not yet decided whether to take his case.

Day, who has a law practice in Fort Walton Beach, said recruiters and other military officials promised lifetime health care in return for at least 20 years of service. The Justice Department contends that doesn't matter because Congress never authorized the promise.

The issue is "about the honor of the United States," Day said. He said either the government keeps its word or it double-crosses the retirees.

Day and other elderly retirees, mostly World War II and Korean War veterans, are planning a rally for their cause on Feb. 12 in Washington, DC.