Draza (<---click here) & Operation Halyard....

OSS Nick Lalich & General Draza Mihailovich enjoy a special moment of friendship in 1944…..

At the age of 7 yeas old, I knew about the famous rescue of the 500+ American airmen by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks because my father, Milan Karlo, published Nick Lalich’s complete day-by-day diary in his magazine called American SERB LIFE in 1948.  The magazine was short-lived due to the money investment involved, but it served its purpose nobly, standing as a strong sentinel down through the years, a beacon of undisputed proof, no matter the attempts to hide the information from the American people, and indeed the world.

These two covers of the May and June 1948 issues featured St. George and Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich. Nick Lalich’s diary was published in a series of articles due to the length and wonderful photos included.

The articles were entitled:  “I Was With Mihailovich”

Here’s a close-up of the U.S. pilots sleeping in a loft.

Most of the time, the villagers gave the pilots their own beds, and the Serbs slept on the floor.  They fed the airmen even though there would be nothing left for themselves or their family members! The US fliers loved the Serbian villagers and couldn’t understand how America could have been so bamboozled by the English moles into supporting Tito instead of Mihailovich. 

The airman in the middle is Curtis (Bud) Diles, now of Dayton, Ohio.  This is his whole crew. Bud said recently in an interview in Ypsilanti, “My 15 grandchildren, my 3 Great-grandchildren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Serbs!  I may be old, and I may be forgetful, but I will never forget the man nor the Serbians who cared for me in 1944.”

*The photo ‘The Serbs have saved more than 600 American Fliers’ holds vivid memories for me. I learned of the photos existence fifty years later while visiting in Chicago. Obviously, all the fliers were exhausted and sound asleep in the photo. Having said that, obviously we did not know of the photographers presence. While in Chicago in 1993, I met the photographer, quite by accident. He was as much surprised to meet me as I was to meet him. His name?… J.B. Allin, who was attached to the Halyard Mission. This same photo appeared on page 49 in the November/December issue of Serb World, U.S.A.

“Nick” Lalich was a very good friend of mine in 1944 and continued to be a life-long friend until his recent death.

“The same photo has appeared in many publications during the past sixty years.

“However, I have never seen the men in the photo identified. I knew all of them, quite well.

“They were the enlisted men of my B-24 Liberator Bomber Crew, shot down by German anti-aircraft fire over Belgrade on Sept. 8, 1944. Only two of them are still living, including myself.

“Left to right in the photo, they are Howard Ford, ball turret gunner; Gerald Wagner, radio operator; Curt Diles, nose turret gunner; Rudolph Schmidt, Flight Engineer; and Leland Porter, tail gunner. One of our crew, James Barker, was captured by the Germans and spent the balance of the war as a German prisoner.

“The American Srbobran has published many of my articles over the past six decades.

“A faithful Serbian supporter,

Curt Diles
Dayton, Ohio
July 4, 2005

TIME Magazine had Chica Draza Mihailovich on the cover of their magazine and people around the world hailed the leader and his heroic resistance fighters in 1941, the FIRST to stand up to Hitler’s Germany.

My copy of the LIBERTY magazine from April 25, 1942.  “The Story of Draja  (Draza) Mihailovitch  (Mihailovic/Mihailovich) -Fighter for Freedom.”

 

The caption reads: “The headache: General Draja Mihailovitch, Yugoslav War Minister and Chetnik commander in chief.” (p.18-LIBERTY magazine)

A photo of some of the airmen with Nick Lalich  with hat.  Radioman  Arthur (“Jibby”)  Jibilian is  kneeling in light-colored jacket in front.  To Lalich’s right in a “sjakaca” hat is Bobby Marjanovich of Aliquippa, PA, who was studying for the priesthood in Belgrade, and was rescued by the Maksimovich Brothers singers when the unexpected bombing of the city by the Germans began.

 The ACRU & Medical Team.  Note George Musulin (3rd from left), hugging Nick Lalich in the back row.  The “Milosh Obilich-Kosovo 1389-1937” button from Wilmerding belonged to him! (See Kosovo page) Don’t ever let ANYONE ever steal your history! Pittsburgh’s Musulin was the person initially dropped behind the lines in charge of the Mission, replaced by Lalich. Jibby in the front middle.
Thanks to my cousin, Lou Astorino, I was able to secure this photo of George Musulin being on the 1938 Pirate (now Steelers) Football Team, working for Art Rooney before working for the OSS!  George is in the 2nd row from the top, next to the end on the right hand side.  George was replaced by Nick Lalich as the head person in charge of the Operation Halyard Mission, as he caught onto double-agent dealing English dirty spy tricks and they wanted him replaced.  
Read the book:  THE FORGOTTEN 500 to learn more!
 

Here’s Jibby at the Museum in Serbia, when a few of the remaining airmen visited there.  Many thanks to Jibby for sharing some photos!  To read more about the FORGOTTEN 500, order the book.  You’ll be glad you did!

Last mission out!  Back safely in Bari, Italy!  To the far right is George Vuynovich, who was born on Pittsburgh’s South Side right behind from where the American Serbian Club is now!  He graduated from Ambridge High School and was an SNF Stipendist in 1934.  He married a beautiful girl from Serbia while there.  To read more about how “George” led the mission to rescue the men, read the book!

Here’s Jibby in a May 10, 1999 paper: “I LOVE THE SERBS!”  And the Serbs love Jibby, too! He’s the last surviving member of the team that rescued the 512 airmen that was in Yugoslavia.  George Vuynovich, the officer in charge in Bari, Italy, lives in New York. Nick Petrovich, an 18-yr. old  guard with Chica Draza, lives in Mexico.

Former U.S. Airman Carl Walpusk and his lovely wife Virginia, with a statue of Draza Mihailovich, the man who saved him!

Debbie, Vangie, Jibby, Sam, Sue, Mim, 6/14/08, American Flag Day, Metcalf Field.  Serbian flag to acknowledge the contribution of the Serbs and Chetniks to the rescue of the 513 airmen.

Jibby is right in front of this photo, next to tall Captain Nick Lalich in this WWII photo.  Thanks, Jib! 

Thanks to Steve Crum, of the AOPA Flight Training School at Metcalf Field (TDC), and photographer for  the Toledo Television station, we have these  photos of Jibby and his special day!  Here’s Jibby in front of a C-47, like the kind used to rescue the U.S. airmen.  This plane was at the not-so-far away Yankee Air Museum.

  • Ready for take-off!
    The Truth About Draza Mihailovich!

  • Be sure to read about General Draza Mihailovich being honored in the U.S. Congress on the Helen Delich Bentley “page” found here on this website!  

    Mim Bizic

Who can believe the next events described here?  God bless the EAA #582 airmen from Metcalf Field in Toledo, Ohio!  The pilots, led by their President Bill Hilzel, gave of their time, treasures and talents.  They picked up several rescued airmen and me from various places around the USA and flew us to the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Monday, June 23, 2008, to meet Jibby and WTOL 11 reporter for Toledo’s News Leader, Jennifer Boresz.  It was an incredible experience!

Jibby and Clare are holding 2 different issues of my father’s magazine published in 1948 called AMERICAN SERB LIFE.  The day-by-day rescue of the airmen was documented in the diary of Nick Lalich that my father published in his short-lived publication due to monetary issues.  What a thrill it was for me to see them holding these!  It was living history at its best!

Remember the photo of the  airmen sleeping in a hay loft published in my father’s book up above?  The fellow in the middle is our Curtis (“Bud”) Diles shown here!  He wanted us to see the documentation he has on his Serb rescuers.  Bud has written many letters to the editors and has given several lectures on his debt of gratitude to the Serbian people, even during unpopular times.  He’s a true-blue friend!  Why?  He says his 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchldren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his Serb rescuers! 

Here’s a good story—-one day Bud’s grandson came home and showed a TIME-LIFE book he had taken out of his school library to his mother with a photo of the airmen in the hayloft.  Imagine his surprise when Theresa, his mother, replied, “That’s your Grandfather in the middle!”

Can you guess  how I felt being next to these great heroes?  I’ve “known” Jibby since I was 7 years old. And I met Bud and Clare before, but I didn’t know until THIS day, that Bud was the man in the haystack!  Bud had us on a role as he joked, “Every day we risked our lives running from the enemy and almost starving to death, and this photo of “sleeping on the job” is my legacy?”  That’s why we’re all smiling!

 “……..and here’s anothing thing,” Bud Diles tells Jennifer while Jibby is all ears……

Jibby wants to make sure he gets a “good shot!”

Goodbye, Yankee Air  Museum!  What a great time!
(Middle, far left, is where all the action took place!) 

What a scene to remember!

Jibby in front-back left to right- Bud Diles, Carl Walpusk and Clare Musgrave!

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Here’s a bit from History!

Bud Diles’ daughter, Theresa, remembered that this picture appeared in a 1995 issue of the American SRBOBRAN.  Note the movie we all saw:  Chetniks, the Fighting Guerrillas! (<—-Read review)

Here’s another review by Carl Savich—

http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/098.shtm

Mike Sudjovic, from California (far right above photo) has been collecting information about Operation Halyard for years!  The U.S. airman, G. B. Allin, the photographer for Operation Halyard, left him all of his original photographs when he passed away.  Interestingly enough, Bud Diles met Allinn at a Conference one year, almost by accident!

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And one of my favorite photos!  Jibby says to stay tuned for more!  It’s not over yet!  WOW!

UPDATE AGAIN! 

December 7, 2008, Toledo, OH

The 180th Fighting Wing, Air National Guard

Recognition of Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian

This is a copy of the email I just sent to the WWII National Museum Headquarters, informing them of this wonderful program:

Dear Friends at the WWII Memorial Museum, A Christmas Present for You, TOO! 

 
I want to let you know that on Dec. 7, 2008, the OPERATION HALYARD mission was finally brought to the fore on U.S. Government military soil.  The place was the 180th Fighter Wing of Ohio’s National Guard in Toledo, Ohio.

The whole auditorium was packed for a Congressional presentation to Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian, radio man for the famed mission that was only recently declassified, and a book called the FORGOTTEN 500 was written about it.

From there, things started to snowball.

A member of the EAA#582 (Experimental Aircraft Association) read the book and shared it with another pilot. They found out that the radioman, Jibby, lived close to them.
Why, being airmen and being interested in Aviation History all their lives, why……they asked themselves, why did they not know about this?  How, if this is the largest rescue from behind Nazi Germany occupied lines in Yugoslavia could this be covered up for so long?

They started to make things happen.  The Toledo BLADE and TV Station WTOL joined in as interested community partners.

The Toledo based EAA#582  had a “Fly-by” for Jibby on Flag Day, June 14, 2008, which also just happened to be Father’s Day week-end.
 
Here was an American Hero if there ever was one that no one knew about, who helped save all of these 512 airmen so they could come home and become fathers and grandfathers.
The role of the Serbs, the people who rescued, fed and defended the airmen with their lives was briefly mentioned there too, when I appeared with my father’s magazines from 1948 which I talk about later in this letter.  On the field were 512 American flags, each one representing an American flier who was rescued and came home.

Not even two weeks later, several of the rescued American fliers, including a fellow who lives by me, tail gunner Carl Walpusk, and I were flown to Ypsilanti Air Museum where the men were interviewed by TV reporter, Jennifer Boresz.
Those clips professionally done by WTOL can be found on their TV site and are so interesting to hear.

But this latest tribute was out of this world.  Something I could never imagine happening, did!  It took place on U.S. Government military soil and the secret hushed-up story was revealed to all present, including so many of our young American airmen and women.  A band played inspirational music at the beginning.

Bill Hirzel, President of the EAA gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation by Dan Weise, also from the EAA.  I then gave a presentation on behalf of the Serbs who rescued, fed, and guarded the airmen, sometimes at GREAT cost to themselves and the expense of their own lives.
 
Next, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur spoke, followed by U.S. Representative Robert Latta.  Marcy Kaptur and OHIO led the way in making sure the WWII Memorial was built in Washington, DC.  Bob Latta was EXCELLENT in explaining the details of the bombing mission over the Ploesti Oil fields as he’s a true military historian too.

Then Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner spoke and presented Jibby with an Ohio flag.
Maj Gen Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. did a great job, also, in explaining the mission, followed by Col. Mark Bartman, another excellent presentation explaining the connections of the base with the activities of the day.
 
Jibby himself finally spoke, refusing to sit in a chair.  He was excellent in his remarks and saying how we owed an apology and a great deal of thanks to the Serbian people for what they did.

Bill David and Brian Mahon from the EAA who worked so hard to bring this day to fruition also spoke briefly.  They recognized the organizational contributions of Capt. Gary Bentley from the 180th Fighter Wing for his tremendous efforts also.

Bill Hirzel recognized others in the crowd, including V. Rev. V. Sokolovich, retired priest from Cleveland, who showed a photo of his father as the Priest confessor to General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik troops.  His father was killed by the Communists a few days after the mock trial of Draza Mihailovich because he was with Draza.  Another American Serb, Dr. Ljubomir Vujovic, came in from New York, representing the Tesla Memorial Society and spoke about life with the Chetniks. Mr. Dushan Mandich, representative of the American Chetniks, was also present.

I want you to know that I knew about this famous rescue from the time I was seven years old.  My father published the complete diary of OSS Capt. Nick Lalich, the person in charge of this mission, word for word, in my dad’s short-lived magazine AMERICAN SERB LIFE in the May, June issues of 1948.  Nick, Jibby and George “Gov” Musulin were always my real-life heroes.  I was so happy when the book finally came out last year.  After 60 years of being hushed up!

Well, I was almost delirious with happiness on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008.  It was all so exciting! 
 
From Nick Lalich’s diary, I know that on Dec. 7, 1944, five more YANKS were brought into their camp for rescue. There was a lull of 3 days before another 10 airmen showed up.  Day after day they awaited the final rescue, and finally on Dec. 27, 1944, the remaining troops were flown “home” to Bari, Italy, and the welcoming arms of OSS coordinator George Vuynovich, who helped organize this fantastic rescue.

I just want to shout this from the highest rooftops!  
It was such a wonderful affair people present didn’t realize that the supposedly 1/2 hour presentation went on for 2 hours, because everyone loved it!

This is a part of WWII history, and I wanted you to be aware of it.

I’m enclosing a amateur (my FIRST imovie effort) video of the day for you to see for yourselves…….
 
 
Thank you!  Mim Bizic
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Here’s Brian McMahon of the EAA#582 with Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor.  Brian worked hard on this program because he and Jibby went to the same high school and Brian wanted to ensure Jibby’s place in history!  Brian told the TV stations that a movie is next!

Beautiful shot!  Bill David (EAA Newsletter Editor and so much more!) Brian McMahon in a WWII uniform from his brother’s collection, and EAA#582 President Bill Hirzel.  To the far right is EAA#582 Dan Weise who has become a real student of this operation, and our Honoree, Arthur Jibilian! They all worked so hard to make this affair a success!  And it was!

 What a great day!  12/7/08!

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News Flash! Jibby receives greetings from young fans in Australia!

Lenora (6.5), Doris (2) and Helena (8)

Drawing of the Halyard Mission by Helena & Lenora.  God bless these young ones!

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Jibby answers:

I received the drawing that you girls sent.  WOW…..I am impressed!!  Thank you so much.  I showed it to many people and they are talking about putting it in THE AMERICAN SRBOBRAN. Again, thank you…..you are all beautiful girls, and I know that your parents are proud of you.
 
Big hugs
Arthur

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Here’s a wonderful editorial by Bob Chirdon from

TV Station WTOL about Jibby’s event.

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From Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogsite on General Draza Mihailovich 3/13/09 MKB

THE HALYARD MISSION

By Lt. Com. Richard M. Kelly, USNR

Blue Book Magazine Vol. 83, No. 4

August 1946
 

“The thing that impressed me most about the set-up was the truly amazing security of the Chetniks soldiers and peasants. The American airmen had been assembled from an area covering many thousands of square miles.

Thousands of people knew of their presence in the area. They had been brought together at great risk and at a high cost by the Chetniks.

Men had been tortured to death and villages destroyed, by the Germans in an effort to locate them.

These poor suffering people, who had been deserted by the American and British governments, and who were under merciless attack from both the Germans and Tito’s Partisans, would have received more money than they could ever dream of earning in their entire lives by tipping off the Germans to the presence of the Americans.

But in spite of all that, not one American was betrayed. Their sense of honor and secrecy for the welfare of their beloved Americans was so great that they never even discussed their presence among themselves. Without this heartshaking loyalty, our entire mission would have been fruitless, and not one airman would have had a chance to escape. “

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Look what happened to our EMMY Nominee:

Jennifer Boresz,

June 7, 2009! 

First Place Award

for BEST FEATURE REPORTING 2009

from the Ohio Associated Press for her story:

THE HEROES OF OPERATION HALYARD. 

We’re all excited for Jennifer and wish her many, many more well-deserved awards! 

Not only the people in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, OH are singing her praises, but the WHOLE USA & MORE! Congratulations, Jennifer Boresz and also to your whole WTOL team of Toledo, Ohio

Also kudos once again to the unselfish EAA#582 airmen who made sure all the rescued airmen, Jibby and Jen got to the Yankee Air Museum for the Interview!  And me too! I’m so glad Carl Walpusk and I got to witness this event FIRST HAND!

My little American/Serbian flags are now famous!

Mim xoxoxo  We Love you, Jen!

(See Jennifer Boresz is all the photos above at the Yankee Air Museum in 2008!)

 

Jen wrote in an email:

“This is my first time being nominated for an Emmy and I am thrilled that it is for this story. Thanks again for all of your help and congratulations!”

Here’s what Jibby had to say:

“Dear Jen, the story has now reached the heart of the nation.  Thank you, thank you, so much.
 
Jen, I had a feeling that you were destined for great accomplishments…..and you are proving me right.
 
Kudos to both of you and WTOL!!!!  You may be assured that we will all do our best to keep this story “live” until Mihailovich’s name is cleared and the Serbs receive recognition for their care of our boys.”
 
God bless,
Art

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Rescued Airman Curtis Diles of Dayton, Ohio,

wrote to me about Jen:

“Tonight, June 5, 2009, when I opened my email, my PC monitor lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Even with Jennifer’s news of being nominated for an Emmy.  If those “Forgotten 500” Airmen were still among the living, she would be a “Shoe-In!” 

I must tell you my reaction to her nomination.

As a twelve year old in my home in Portsmouth, Oh, i was a newspaper carrier and was delighted every time to see a News Story so important it demanded an EXTRA EDITION. 

The EXTRA caused a lot of excitement for everyone and also meant more money in my pocket.

Today, I would like to see an EXTRA EDITION printed in every newspaper in our country with the message:

READ ALL ABOUT IT!  During WWII the AAF ACRU known as “Operation HALYARD” along with the former Serbian leader Draza Mihailovich rescued more than 500 Airmen from beneath the noses of the German enemy.

Perhaps Jennifer’s nomination will act as a catalyst for Col. John Cappello’s coming story about Halyard.

Also, I can’t help but think…. “If spirits can smile, Capt. Nick Lalich is leading the way!”

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 Update:  Jennifer can be seen in the train movie,

UNSTOPPABLE

 where she fittingly plays the role of a TV announcer (3rd one.)

Congratulations, Jen!  We’re all proud of you!

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“I.M. Draza Mihailovich (Murdered July 16, 1946)

by L. Aaronson, British Poet (1917-1948)

Much thanks to David Vuich and Aleksandra Rebic for sharing this find with us.

Where are the thunderers who once could speak


The Language of the Prophets, when the weak


Were broken and the good oppressed? Where are those


Whose words were cleansing fire, till there arose


The phoenix-armies from the martyrs’ dust


To make the word the deed, oppose the lust


Of tyrants and proclaim the prophets true?


Where is the gratitude our fathers knew


And sanctuary and penance for wrong power?


Did Milton fail the martyrs, Gladstone cower


Before the ruthless? Was the public pen


Careful of epithet? And public men —


Were they afraid to say: “Alas we erred


And now confess our error. Let the word


Go out, perhaps to save a soul and save


Our souls“? Today the coward and the knave


Are kings. These are mean times. If it be doom,


Our tongues, at least, are free and there is room


For utterance that salves us if not saves.


Why should we ape the silence of graves?


And even these have epitaphs as tongues.


Since power is dumb before the powerful wrongs


Let one small voice salute the Serbian.


With shame at first, then prayer for that brave man.


L. Aaronson
July 1946

Covered Up for Years to Appease Tito and His Communists.

David Martin published his book ALLY BETRAYED in 1946, debunking WWII propaganda and dealing with international mysteries.  The book asks the crucial questions:

  1. Why did the Allied press which had made a great hero of Mihailovich as a resister of Axis invaders of Jugoslavia begin to play him down after 1942?
  2. What was Tito’s past? And where was the radio station located that heralded his appearance in Yugoslavia?
  3. What decision was reached at Teheran with respect to Tito and Mihailovich?
  4. How was the ALLIED military intelligence about Jugoslavia falsified?
  5. Why did Churchill say of Jugoslavia, “I was deceived and badly informed.”

David Martin was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1914.  Before the war he wrote on Canadian affairs for Current History, The Nation, The New Republic, the New Leader and other journals.  He joined the Canadian Air Force in October, 1942, became a pilot and flew on the Burmese frontier, being Honorably discharged in 1946.

David Martin devoted his entire life to defending the truth and Mihailovich.

In his 1990 book THE WEB OF DISINFORMATION: CHURCHILL’S YUGOSLAV BLUNDER, David Martin fully uncovered the tragic tale “found in secret British files that were only recenty and inadvertently declassified.  He reveals that Churchill and others were deceived- by Communist moles and sypathizers who had infiltrated the military intelligence services.  The prime mover was the famous Cambridge spy set that included Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Macclean and “Sir” Anthony Blunt.  Martin names the “Fifth Man”: James Klugman, most brilliant mole of them all.”

The National Geographic TRAVELER magazine of March 2005 says Blunt’s exposure in 1979 as a Soviet spy, after being knighted in 1956 and appointed art adviser to the Queen, was a major embarrassment to the Crown.

The book flap description of the book THE PHILBY CONSPIRACY (1968) by Bruce Page, David Leitch and Phillip Knightley, states: “That a son of the British establishment could, during a thrity year career in his country’s secret service, at the same time be a dedicated Communist agent would seem too far-fetched even for fiction.

“And yet, Kim Philby, like those almost unbelievable spies Burgess and Maclean, IS real and his story is true. He was the link-man between the British service and the American Central Intelligence Agency from which position he was able to betray EVERY most important secret of Western intelligence.

“Stupid, credulous, smug and torpid as the Establishment may have been, it erred on the side of trust.” (John LeCarre, Foreward.)

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I remember attending a 1991 Conference in Toronto entitled “Serbia: The Ally that Lost.” David Martin was one of the four main speakers. By this time, the distinguished journalist, political analyst and staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee suffered badly from Parkinson’s disease and could hardly stand, shaking badly.  His wife, Virginia, sitting next to him, offered to read his speech.  He declined.  Writhing in pain as he stood, he threw his shoulders back and proclaimed that he OWED it to the Serbs and Draza Mihailovich to read it himself! 

“Vejcnaja Pamjat” to a wonderful man!

Airmen rally for Mihailovich

These “Yanks” above were showing their gratitude at the Stevens Hotel rally: John Scroggs of Kansas City, Robert Eckman, David O’Connell, Don Parkerson, John Fox, Peoria; Capt. Nick Lalich, Cleveland; Fred Zuecher, Milwaukee; William Rogers, Manteno; Thomas Pettigrew, David Labissoniers, Milwaukee; Del Salmon, Charles Cracz, Neal Janosky, Milwaukee.

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Charles Gracz who then lived on 1411 N. Bosworth Avenue, was quoted in the Chicago HERALD AMERICAN on Thursday April 4, 1946 as saying, “If ever there was anyone loyal to the highest American traditions, it is General Mihailovich and his Chetniks.

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The Evening Star, Wash, DC 4/29/1946

“The 20 United States fliers were accompanied by wo Canadian veterans.  They represent 600 airmen rescued by Mihailovich’s forces. 

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Donald Parkerson, Chicago Vet and his wife check out his Chetnik shoe, grateful to be home, thanks to the Serbs!

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Oaklander Ex-Lieutenant Allen Carrico helped wreck the German Supply Train with the Chetniks and more! (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/29/1946.

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“I’m alive today because of Mihailovich,” former flier David J. O’Connell, Jr, age 24.

“When briefed, we were told to expect Marshall Tito’s men to help, instead, it was General Mihailovich’s men who saved them and kept them under cover, moving them from village to village and finally assembling the group to carve out an air strip.”

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The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph on April 3, 1946 reported in the paper how BOTH these Pennsylvania State Troopers were rescued by Mihailovich and his Chetniks:

Virginia Walpush remembered the story and quickly found it for me in a book of the gathered stories of the Airmen.  “Here,” she said.  Here’s your U.S. B-24 Pilot Paul Mato and his waist gunner, Carl Walpusk!”

 Thank you, Jibby, on behalf of ALL of us!

Here’s looking at  super  American-Serb History!

Jibby always  looks out for the Serbs!  I’ve heard him personally tell about the debt of gratitude America owes the Serbs MANY times myself during Interviews and talks with non-Serbs.  He’s a true friend!

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June 23, 2008

Yankee Air Museum

Here’s Jennifer interviewing Carl  Walpusk, Jibby,  Clare Musgrave and Curt (Bud) Diles, 3 of the 512 airmen rescued by the OSS team where Jibby was the radioman!  They’re shown here in front of a C-47, the type of aircraft that took the American airmen back home!

Nick Petrovich, 18 yr. old guard! 

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Mim’s Trophy:

One of the 512 American Flags (each representing an American Airman rescued in Operation Halyarad) – Metcalf Airfield in Toledo- that was in the field behind the podium.  The flag from Jibby was for the American Airman in Mim’s hometown rescued by Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks, and the OSS: Carl Walpusk! Read more about Carl above!

Flag for Carl from Jibby!   Photo by Savo Subotich who I met that day for the first time!

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 This incredible interview was aired so appropriately on July 4, 2008, on the 5:00 PM  news KTOL-TV. 

Jennifer Boresz and the cameraman and all the people at the Yankee Air Museum were wonderful to all of us!

Jennifer,  Jibby and the Airmen: Carl, Bud and Clare!To see and hear this historical interview, click on this site below.  You are in for a real PATRIOTIC treat!

 http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=862

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Oh, our Jennifer, our Jennifer!

 Here’s her BLOG about that day in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

God bless her!

The Serbs love YOU, too, Jen!

http://www.toledo11.com/blogs/index.php?blog=19&title=the_heroes_of_operation_halyard&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 

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I was happy to see the Serbs getting some long overdue credit. Hopefully this will be the start of something.

Rade V., Pittsburgh 

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Update!  9/18/08 MKB

41 Ohio National Guardsmen receive traditional Serbian welcome of bread & salt, Sept. 62008 at Pranjani!

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One of the greatest pleasures I had while on my recent trip to Serbia was meeting Lt. Col. John Cappello, USAF Air Attache´, his wife, and members of his staff at the home of Ms. Jennifer Brush, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the USA in Belgrade. 

There, I was able to present him with a copy of the American SRBOBRAN, that featured 4 pages of the Tribute to OSS Radioman, Arthur Jibilian, in Toledo, Ohio that I had written up, along with the guest reporter, Jennifer Boresz, of WTOL.  It was Jennifer who interviewed several of the rescued airmen in Ypsilanti, Michigan for her TV station.

Being in the Air Force, Lt. Col. Cappello immediately recognized the importance of Operation Halyard and is currently working on several projects (Museum/Library, etc.) to help the Serbs from that area as a   “Thank You”   for their sacrifices.

  He also helped organize the following event!

On September 6, 41 members of the Ohio National Guard participated in the U.S. – Serbia State Partnership Program, arriving in Serbia on an Ohio Air National Guard aircraft. The Ohio delegation included members of the Ohio National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, the Ohio Air National Guard, and Senior Non Commissioned Officers from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard. The Guardsmen met their counterparts from the Serbian Armed Forces and participated in joint activities, including an exercise that simulates the support by military forces to a municipality following a natural disaster.

The joint exchanges provided the opportunity to share information between personnel of the Serbian military and the Ohio National Guard and to develop future opportunities for ongoing State Partnership Program activities.


On September 7th, the delegation had the honor to commemorate the historical military cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia during World War II and visit the village of Pranjani, the location of the Halyard Mission.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, also accompanied the delegation.

Operation Halyard:

“During the summer of 1944 approximately 1, 000 U.S. airmen bailed out over German-occupied Yugoslavia, a significant number of them landing in Serbia. In a series of daylight and night airlifts, a team made up of troops of General Mihailovic’s Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) evacuated over 300 U.S. airmen from the village of Pranjani. The rescue of the U.S. airmen involved small unit actions against German troops and put at risk entire Serb villages that sheltered the U.S. personnel. U.S. airmen bear testimony to the significant sacrifices of local Serb villagers who fed, cared for and protected them, in some cases up to six months.”

The Halyard Mission is considered one of the greatest rescues of American airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare.


Thank you, Col. Cappello!

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December 7, 2008

Photos from Toledo, OHIO

Jibby receives WWII framed poster from U.S. Cong. Marcy Kaptur, who, along with her fellow Ohioans led the way for the memorial to be builtIn the background is her Congressional Aide, Dan Foote.
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Oh, the excitement with Dan and the Military Band Members! 

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The Sokolovich family had a story to share. V.Rev.Fr. V. Sokolovich’s father was Priest Confessor to General Draza Mihailovich.  He was killed a few days after Draza’s mock trail for his beliefs. 

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And here is the Man of the Hour being interviewed-Arthur Jibilian. Sitting next to him is his wife, Jo. 

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Bob Chirdon is the General Manager of WTOL. He gave an excellent editorial on TV and you can hear it here below.  Tremendous job!  we were all so grateful for this!

 Fremont Veteran to get Congressional Award

and here’s the actual

WTOL coverage of the Event

In this film above, Brian McMahon, the organizer of this event, says the next step is to make a movie and his top choices for the film are Harrison Ford, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise!

You’ll see how Brian and Jibby went to the same High School, hence his initial interest! 

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U.S. Congressman Bob Latta was VERY impressive with his knowledge of the importance of the Ploesti Oil Fields to the Allied success and his ability to explain the mission so well.

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Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner brought an Ohio flag for Jibby.  It was great to learn that Teresa was a former teacher.  

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Here’s Maj. Gen. Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. giving yet another award to Jibby.

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Fr. Sokolovich’s father, who was one of the 40 priests made saints after being killed for being with the Chetniks.

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Bless this young Guardsman. She said, “I want to be just like you and have all the vim and energy you do when I get to be your age!”

And I want to have Jibby’s energy and mind at HIS age!

We ALL had a good time!

I LOVE OHIO!

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AUSTRALIA KNOWS TOO!

Here’s a brief explanation from Helena’s, Lenora’s and Doris’ dad about the card to Jibby:

My name is Dragan R. and my wife’s name is Tihana. I was born in Sydney but lived in Serbia (Village called Cestereg) since I was six month old baby. I came back to Australia when I was 23 years old. My wife Tihana lost everything in a War. She was born in Hodbina, village near Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’re both Serbians and we celebrate St.Nicholas as our “Slava”(Family saint). Our daughter’s names are Greek’s origin in respect to the people(Greeks) who helped Serbia through the most difficult times in recent history.
 
As I said, I grew up in a Serbia (it was Yugoslavia then) and we as kids learned that Chetniks were on German’s side in the second World War and that Partisans were the only good ones. I always loved history at school, l and I’ve started to read the books here and I couldn’t believe what I’ve found during my research. It made me angry to find out that I’ve been brainwashed all my life. The biggest proof of all was to see how Chetniks proudly marching with our allies every Anzac day here in Australia.  Sadly, most of the brainwashed Serbian people are so ignorant and lazy to do research on their own and they still believe what they’ve been told as a kids.
 
During my research on the internet I came up on some articles by Aleksandra Rebic and Julia Gorin about “Halyard Mission”. I read all the articles about it and I was so proud of my people who risked and sacrificed their lives to save all those pilots. On Julia’s web site I’ve found the article about Arthur Jibilian and I’ve asked if she could give me his email address. As we all know Arthur, he was very happy to answer all my questions and inquiries about “Halyard Mission”. He even sent me all his photographs and letters from that time. To be honest, before I’ve get to know Arthur and Julia I was very angry at American people for what they did to us but then I’ve realized that true Americans are people like Arthur and his family, Julia and all those honest and brave American pilots who fought for the truth all those years. Thanks to them, my kids will grow up with love and respect, not with hatred.
 
I’ve told my daughters story about “Halyard Mission” and asked them if they can draw a Christmas card for Arthur. They come up with very cute drawing, and I’m very happy that Arthur liked it so much. I didn’t have that privilege to meet Arthur in person but I feel like I’d know him all my life. I’m very honored to call him a friend and I hope that I can fulfill my promise and make the film about “Halyard Mission”.
 Merry Christmas/ Happy New Year!

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 Update:  November 18, 2010


Look for this January 1, 2011 issue of Air & Space

SMITHSONIAN Magazine

to find more info on General Draza Mihailovich, his Serbian Chetniks, and the 500 rescued Airmen in an article entitled:

THE GREAT ESCAPE

by Phil Scott,

pp. 52-59.

“For U.S. airmen trapped in Yugoslavia during World War II, building a secret airstrip was their only way out.”

Thank you to Caroline Sheen and Roger Mola and of course author Phil Scott, of the Air & Space Magazine, but also to the photo contributors:

Lt. Col. John Cappello,

Ted Connolly

Debi Jibilian

Aleksandra Rebic

 and Mim Bizic

Here’s the link to the magazine’s website that features the article:

http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/The-Great-Escape.html

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George Vujnovich in 2004, in Serbia.  On Oct. 17, 2010, George Vujnovich was recognized by the U.S. Government with the BRONZE STAR for all of his efforts in rescuing the 500+ U.S. Airmen from his post in Bari, Italy.


Capt. Vujnovich’s daughter, Xenia, speaking about her Dad at the award ceremonies in NYC on Oct. 17, 2010.

To view the image larger, just click the bottom right hand corner of the photo above.

October 13, 2015:

NEW YouTube Documentary on the Life of George Vujnovic and the Heroic Rescue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

Be sure to see this! <3

Called: “The Last Hero of the Halyard Mission.”

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Click on the lower right hand side of this image to read all about Milton Friend going to Serbia to testify about General Draza Mihailovich.


From the TEMPLE Daily Telegram, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

AIRMAN SEEKS JUSTICE FOR LASTE SERB GENERAL

Belgrade, Serbia (AP)

An American whose U.S. Air Force bomber was shot down over the Balkans during WWII is on a new mission in the region:  Correct a historic injustice against a former Serb guerrilla leader.

In the summer of 1944, Lt. Col. Milton Friend’s B-24 Liberator was downed by German fighter planes over central Serbia.  He said Gen. Draza Mihailovich saved his life in the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines during a war.

The former Air Force navigator, 88, is to testify at a Belgrade court today at a hearing to exonerate the Serb general whom Yugoslav communists sentenced as a Nazi collabor and executed in 1946.

“Mihailovich was “not a villian, but a hero!” Friend said Thursday.

About 500 U.S. pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbian between 1942 and 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Adolf Hitler’s oil fields in Romania, according to U.S. Government field station files.

Along with the Americans, some 100 British, French and Canadian airmen also were saved in the rescue operation.

Friend said the airmen were hidden in villages by Serbian guerrilla fighters, known as Chetniks, were were led by Mihailovich.  The prewar military officer launched the first Balkan resistance against the Nazis in 1941.

(Read the complete article by clicking on the photo image of the article above.)

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UPDATE:  Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for this post about the 71st Anniversary Celebration of the Rescue Mission that took place

September 25, 2015:

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2015/10/halyard-mission-71st-anniversary.html

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 New Documentary onGeorge Vujnovic on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

More @ Draza Mihailovich:

Going through some saved American SRBOBRANS, I found this interesting piece republished on July 17, 1996, p. 9:  In Memory of General Draza Mihailovich, by Jake Allex Mandusich, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee……

 

Chicago, July 20, 1946

TO:  Col. E. C. Lapping, Managing Editor of the Chicago Herald-American, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Sir:

    This is a letter of thanks to your great publisher, Hon. William Randolph Hearst, to you and your great newspaper, The Chicago Herald-American, for the stand taken in behalf of Yugoslavia’s new martyr, General Draza Mihailovich.

    He was lynched (Wednesday) July 17, (1946) by Tito and his Communist followers, as your paper indicated on its editorial page Saturday, July 20.  This editorial, defending the rights of Gneral Mihailovich and showing how our government failed in saving him, will be a historic document in the eyes of all freedom loving Yugoslavs, who are still fighting and praying to oust the Communist aggressors from their homeland.

    I am writing this letter as a citizen of the United States and for which I fought in WWI as a sergeant in the United States Army.  For my services, my country of adoption bestowed on me the Congressional Medal of Honor.  I also received all the allied decorations of the last war.

    But I am writing this letter also because of the death of Gen. Mihailovich reached me right at home and in my heart.

    Here’s the reason.  My brother, Dushan, fought side-by-side with Gen. Mihailovich, and my blood-brother was killed as a Chetnik when he was tossing hand grenades at Nazi tanks invading my beloved former homeland.

    Also, my two nephews died fighting against the Nazis.  And because of this, and because my relatives in Yugoslavia refused to recognize the Communist rule, Tito took away their rights of citizenship.

    I felt that when Tito sentenced Gen. Mihailovich, he also sentenced my brother, Dushan, who lost his life fighting all the Nazis.  Was my brother guilty and all the American boys who fought the Nazis across the sea?

    The day General Mihilovich was executed by Tito’s forces will go down in Yugoslavia’s history as a day of ignominy, a day that will never be forgotten by those who are fighting for freedom in Yugoslavia.

    It’s too bad that our government did not listen to Mr. Hearst’s warnings.  Perhaps if our government had insisted and had warned Tito to give Gen. Mihailovich a fair trial, Gen. Mihailovich would have been living today.

    All we Serbs–we Americans of Serbian ancestry– beg now, after Mihailovich’s death, to at least give the people of Yugoslavia a fair chance to choose their own government under the provisions of the Atlantic Charter and the San Francisco Charter.

    And we also wish to know why doesn’t our government find out why Tito’s forces are not persecuting and punishing (as they did General Mihailovich), the Ustashi and their leader, Ante Pavelic, who killed thousands of innocent people in Yugoslavia and were backed by Hitler and Mussolini?

    Keep up the good fight for freedom and justice to all peoples of the world, Mr. Hearst! 

                                     Jake Allex Mandusich


This photo is from the site of the Home of Heroes.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/states/pages_af/allex_jake.html 

     Click on the above site to read more.

     

 

In his report to the Christian Science Monitor on April 21, 1941, R. H. Markham wrote: 

“The Serbs are the kind of people who succumb fighting and not fawning.  They first met the invading Turk in the fourteenth century.  They first defied Sultanic masters in the nineteenth century.  They, first of all southeast European people-except the Greeks-refused supinely to place their heads in Nazi yokes.  As the centuries pass, the Serbs will sing of this defiance.  All succeeding generations will rejoice that their fathers in 1941 dared defy oppressors.  And men who love freedom, during all the coming ages, will think of the Serbs as they do of the Spartans at Thermopylae.  Let him who knows whether Socrates was wise in not running away, say whether the Serbs were wise in refusing to say ‘Heil Hitler.’”

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 Poster Print made by Mike Sujdovic
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Drazin Duh Govori:  Draza’s Soul Speaks
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One of the BEST books written on the subject!
This one was given to Milan Karlo by Nick Lalich, who is featured prominently in the book, published 1968.
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This photo from the SRBOBRAN highlights a portion of the HALYARD MISSION EXHIBIT that was on display at the Serbian Heritage Museum in Windsor, Canada, featuring items from the Gacesa/Bizic collections and more.  It was put together by Museum Director, Dr. Stanislava Markovich and her assistant, Mrs. Svetlana Miskovic. 
 
The first photo’s caption said: “An article on the rescue appeared in the March 26, 1946 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The paper states:  ‘So finally, the 15th Air Force sent Lt. Musulin and Capt. Lalich to contact Gen. Mihailovich.  They parachuted into Yugoslavia.  Gen. Mihailovich at once sent out word for the American flyers to be brought in.  They came afoot, in carts, any old way.  With the help of Mihailovich and 1,000 of his people, an air strip was built in seven days and seven nights.  And in the first 12 hours, 288 American airmen were flown back to their own lines—not to mention Italians, Frenchmen and Russians.”  (The rescue continued much longer.)
 
Another part of the article talks about the frightful Nazi reprisals.  “Every time a German was killed, 100 Yugoslavs (Serbs) died.  In one town alone, Kragujevac in Serbia, 3,600 men, women and children were slaughtered.” 
 
Also on display at the museum at the time, were notecards made from children’s art from the Srpska Krajina and Republic of Srpska on loan from the New York Belgrade Society.  The museum was selling postcards of selected scenes from the exhibit for a donation of $10.00 plus postage.  This was one way we tried to help our Serbian children whose needs were all but forgotten by the rest of the world.
 
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Dorothy Paunovich’s Family Photos
Sent:  9/8/08 
 

Serbian Chetniks under the command of Capt. Zvonko Vuckovich.  2nd from left, top row-Donald J. Smith, American airman; Top row, man touching his hair-Charlie Davis, American airman; Kneeling, 3rd from left, Mihailo Paunovich, Chetnik. 
 

Mihailo Paunovich and 2 others at Flight School.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Mihailo and his Flight Instructor  
Mihailo and his daughter, Eleanore, then Captain  (now Colonel) in the U.S. Air Force!
 
Update:  4.23.09  Going through some old papers, I found that U.S. General Donald Smith, the airman rescued by Col. Eleanore Paunovich’s father in 1944, was an Honorary Guard at the Funeral of King Peter II in Libertyville, IL.  Supposedly, King Peter II was the first Monarch buried on U.S. soil.
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CHECK OUT THE LATEST ON THE RESCUE MISSION!
Escondido, California
THE PAPER by editor Lyle E. Davis
 

Thank you, Mr. Lyle E. Davis!
 
 
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Here’s a wonderful WWII website from the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will get you into the “feel” of WWII with the sirens, codes, quizzes, and so much more.  This is using technology in a wonderful way to teach students more about math, science and history!
 


If you like codes, you’ll find a great one here to help stump your friends!  It’s a fun learning experience! I liked venturing into the Photography “Dark Room” and listening to WWII questions on the “Radio.”

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From Aleksandra Rebic, who got the info from Mirko Blesich, who found the article in Major Borislav J. Todorovich’s book called “A Forgotten Army.”

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2010/11/forgotten-army-of-mihailovich-us.html

Honorable Hugh Butler before the U.S. Senate
February 12, 1945
 

U.S. Senator from Nebraska 1941-1954
 
“There is no blinking at the fact that a state of civil war exists in Yugoslavia. That gallant land which was the first in southeastern Europe to challenge the monstrous power of Hitler’s war machine is now torn in two camps. There is the Communist domain, ruled over by Tito who has just refused the requests of the British and American Governments to allow British and American correspondents to see for themselves what is going on there. And there is the camp of Mihailovich, who is pleading for Allied missions and press representatives to come and see for themselves what he and his people stand for.

“Above all, we owe it to the American people to let them know what the 500 American airmen have found out, what has long been known but buried in certain high bureaus in Washington, namely, that in southern Europe there stands ready an army of over 300,000 men, eager to join the fight against the common enemy and to shorten the war, if only we would give them guns and ammunition and perhaps some food rations. And let us remember that THIS FORGOTTEN ARMY is fighting not for communism, but for self-government and for freedom.”
 
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Here is the Hearst Newspapers Editorial of March 29, 1946

    “A shameful betrayal.  If the United States Government does less than its utmost to prevent the planned murder of Gen. Draja (Draza) Mihailovich by Tito’s Communists, it will have committed an act of betrayal that the American people will have to remember with shame forever….. General Mihailovich was our firend and ally….Mihailovich’s only offense is that he resisted communist Russia in defense of our country’s freedom.”

Click to read more about William Randolph Hearst, to whom Jake Allex Mandusich wrote on the Wikipedia site below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst 

 

Ally Betrayed

Hold to your cause with God, and the people will hold to that cause because it means freedom, and without freedom a man is better dead.”

Draza Mihailovich 

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Hitler called the spontaneous uprising of the Serbs against the Germans “primitive simplicity of their minds.”  Leigh White, author of The Long Balkan Night (1946) spoke in New York in Freedom House, October 23, 1942:

  “Hitler was right, but not in quite the sense he intended.  They still retain the primitive virtues and the simple dignity which many of the more sophisticated peoples have lost; people who were not too civilized to quibble over the price of their national honor, who were not too civilized to have fought against the German and Italian aggressors even though they knew they could never win.  At one time, I wondered if Yugoslavia’s national honor, if any country’s honor, could possibly be worth the price the Yugoslavs so willingly paid.  Like most people, I’ve done a lot of thinking in the last year or two.  And it’s taken me a year to understand what the peasants of Yugoslavia understood instinctively; that national honor has no price; that it cannot be measured in terms of any currency, even the currency of blood.  The lesson of Yugoslavia is simply this: that there are many things worse than death; that many times it is preferable to die;  and that it is always preferable to die than compromise the national honor.”

    Quoting David Martin:  “At one stroke the revolution of March 27 disrupted Germany’s economic hinterland, invalidated her dispositions, disorganized her timetable and destroyed the myth of the Nazi New Order.  And, what is perhaps most important, the example of this small nation defying the might of the unconquered Wehrmacht—preferring all of the horrors of war and subjugation to the loss of its spiritual freedom—did more than anything else up until that time to inspire the conquered peoples of Europe to resist.

    “Instead of incorporating Yugoslavia peacefully into the New Order, Nazis were compelled to deal with it as an enemy nation.  Instead of adding to their reserves of available manpower, they were compelled to divert thirty-three divisions for the conquest of Yugoslavia and to maintain an army of occupation that included eight or nine German divisions and a somewhat larger number of satellite divisions.  Instead of launching their attack on Russia in mid-May, as soon as the roads had hardened, they were compelled to postpone it for almost five whole weeks of the strategically priceless dry weather season.”

    “The Germans were able to overcome the Yugoslav army in twelve days,” he continued.  “But the revolution of March 27 may have cost them the war.”

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Read the tribute Alexandra Rebic wrote in Sloboda’s LIBERTY magazine (the Official Publication of the Serbian National Defense Council in America) in their July 25, 2000 edition, in memory of the famed General.

http://www.snd-us.com/Liberty/sm_1774.htm 

 

Read what HistoryNet-supposedly the World’s Largest History Magazine publisher-said about the Rescue  Behind Enemy Lines here:

http://www.historynet.com/rescue-behind-enemy-lines.htm/5 

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 Arthur Jibilian, the OSS radioman who helped rescue 513 U.S. Airman saved by the Serbs,  remembers sitting around the campfires at night with the Chetniks and Draza Mihailovich and the U.S. airmen singing this song before they got picked up from behind German-occupied enemy lines. 

Jibby said he never did learn what it meant, but always enjoyed singing it.  Milan Opacich translated this for us:

OKO NAS SU ZGARISTA PUSTA
( Around us are the burned and forsaken)
I ZIDOVI CRNI I SIVI
(With walls that are black and gray)

Chorus: OVU PESMU IZ NASIH USTA
(This song out of our mouths)
PEVAJU MRTVI NE ZIVI
(Sing the dead not the living)

A SAD BRACO PUNIMO CASE
(And now brothers we fill up the glasses)
DA U BLAZIMO SMRTI GORCINU
(So that we can spite death’s bitterness)

Chorus: URA ZA CETNIKE NASE
(Hooray for our Chetniks)
KOJI CE SUTRA DA GINU
(Who tomorrow will die)

U BOJ POLAZIMO SMELO
(Into the battle we go daringly)
DA OSVETIMO BRACU SVOJU
(To get revenge for our brothers)

Chorus: JER KOD KUCE OSTAJU ONI
(Because those left at home are only)
KOJI SE SMRTI BOJE
(Those who are afraid of death)

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Dorothy Paunovich of St. Sava’s in Merrillville, wrote: “My father-in-law, Mihailo Paunovich, was a Chetnik involved in the rescue efforts.  He became close friends with a Charlie Davis and a Donald Smith, but after they said their good-byes, he never knew what happened to them, until he was listening to a radio advertisement for an upcoming Vidovdan program in Chicago in the early 1970’s.  He heard that a General Donald F. Smith was going to be the main speaker and that caught his attention. He didn’t think it could be the one he had taken care of, but asked his daughter to call to O’Hare and ask if this Donald Smith was shot down and taken care of, and saved by Serbian Chetniks.  When the secretary responded with a “Yes,” Mihailo said, “Put that S.O.B. on the phone!” as he grabbed the phone from his daughter.  They both cried tears of joy and found out that they lived only about 60 miles from each other.  Maj. Gen. Donald Smith lived in Arlighton Heights, IL, and Mihailo lived in Crown Point, IN.  The very next Sunday, we enjoyed a Serbian feast at my father-in-law’s home.  Gen. Smith was stationed at O’Hare, in charge of the Illinois Air National Guard, and Mihailo was a successful business man, owning a Shell Gas Station in Gary.  The two kept in close touch, enjoyed many meals together, Slavas, weddings, etc. until illness set in.

Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich, General Donald J. Smith, and Mihailo Paunovich.
 
Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and Donald Smith. 

Finding each other after 30 years! Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and (American General!) Donald Smith!
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General  Daniel (“Chappie”) James and Mihailo at NORAD.
 
Read about the VERY famous
General Daniel Chappie James, Jr.  by clicking the link above.  He was the FIRST African American promoted to the rank of 4 Star General. 
He was another of the famous Tuskeegee Air Men.
The Tuskeegee Airmen were said to have flown cover for the planes that came in and rescued the airmen in Operation Halyard.
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 Most of us are familiar with the TIME magazine cover with General Draza Mihailovich, but here are two more sites to check out, courtesy of our Patty Martinovich (formerly of Chicago) in Vancouver:
 
 
 
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Open letter—April 9, 1999
To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia

“We Found Out The Truth About the Serbs…When We Were Shot Down”
World War II Rescued American Airmen Defend Serbs

By +Richard L. Felman
 
(from Aleksandra Rebic’s blogsite, see below)


(from Over 500 MlAs Saved By The Serbian People During WWII

During World War II, we were in the Army Air Corps list as “Missing in Action” in the very same area you are now serving.  If we may, we would like to relay to you a frank, soldier-to-soldier message about our personal experience while there—something which politicians who sent you there have not told you and something which you have not read or seen in the anti-Serb media.

In 1944, the members of our committee were flying bombing missions out of Italy over Southern Europe.  During that time over 500 of us were shot down over enemy-occupied Yugoslavia and saved from certain death by the Serbian people.  Ours was the greatest rescue of American lives from behind enemy lines in history but has been kept under wraps all these years because of pressure from foreign sources. [Emphasis added]

While we were there, those of us who were wounded were given whatever medical supplies they had even at the deprivation of their own troops.   If there was one piece of bread in the house, or one egg, it went to the American airmen while the Serb went hungry.

If there was one bed or one blanket, it went to us while the Serb slept on the bare ground.  No risk of sacrifice was too great to insure our safety and well being.  One experience which is forever seared in my memory is the time a village with 200 women and children was burned to the ground by the Germans because the Serbs would not tell them where they were hiding us.  To this day, I can smell the terrible stench of their burning flesh.  One does not forget such things.

The most incredible part of our rescue was that before each mission, our bomber crews were briefed by the highest levels of American intelligence that if shot down over Yugoslavia, we were to stay away from the Serbian people as they were collaborating with the Germans and “cutting off the ears of American airmen” before turning them over. Only after we were shot down did we find out the amazing thoroughness with which the truth about the Serbs was being distorted. [Emphasis added]

Further compounding this deception is the fact that while the Serbs were our allies in WWII, Croatians and Muslims (who we are favoring today) were allies of the Nazis, shooting at us and responsible for killing many of our fellow American fliers.  In view of the lies we were told about the Serbs during World War II, we could not help but wonder if our foreign policy there today is the same anti-Serb bias we encountered 52 years ago.

Could our career diplomats sacrifice former friends and reward former enemies in the name of political expediency?  Could it be because in the world community there are over one billion Muslims and only 9 million Serbian Orthodox Christians with the same proportionate power in the global economy?  Could it be because the Serbs have no oil wells and no unlimited oil money?

Could it be because the Croatians and Muslims outspend the Serbs 50 to one on lobbyists, media firms and campaign contributions?  Could this be why, “atrocities” are manufactured to make the Serbs look bad while gaining sympathy for their opponents?  Could this be why the Serbs are branded “aggressors” in land they have lived on for over 600 years?

Could our policy have something to do with the fact there are 540 members of Congress, none of whom are Orthodox Christians?  Could the State Department’s bitter bias, against General Draza Mihailovich, the anti-Communist guerrilla leader who saved us, be based on the fact he was a Serb?

Could these be the reasons the State Department has covered up the truth of our rescue all these years and opposed our petition to express   gratitude for saving over 500 American lives (a petition which is supported by the 8 million veterans of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign  Wars and the Air Force Association and which has been approved by the United States Senate.)?

Could it be these are the reasons the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has also denied our petition by saying to us here are “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” who oppose it?

Are we mad?  You can bet your next month’s paycheck that we are mad!  We did not leave our families, risk our lives and watch our buddies get their arms, legs and heads blown off so that “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” could tell us what we could or could not do in our own country.

Now that the spring thaw has set in, temperatures and tempers will start to rise in the volatile area you now find yourselves.  All we ask is that in your dealings with the local people you be made aware of the eyewitness experience of your fellow comrades-in-arms.  By speaking out now we have nothing to gain except a burning moral passion to tell the truth, a sworn duty to protect our national honor, a patriotic desire to express heart felt gratitude to those on foreign soil who save American lives while they are fighting in defense of our glorious country.

Now that you have been sent to foreign soil and asked to risk your lives we feel you should know the truth and not be “suckered in” by the rhetoric of highly paid public relations firms, foreign lobbyists and self-serving politicians who know absolutely nothing of the region’s history.

We might also add that had it not been for the Serbian people, Air Force General Donald J. Smith, our chairman and one our rescued airmen, would not have survived the war and been able to dedicate 40 years of honorable service to his country.

Had it not been for the Serbian people, technical Sgt. Curtis “Bud” Diles, another of our airmen, would not be alive today in Dayton, Ohio, enjoying retirement with his four children and 12 grandchildren.

There are hundreds of us with stories just like those.   Some of the greatest testimony to the many sacrifices made on our behalf us the many thousands of American children who are alive today solely because the Serbian people saved over 500 of their grandfathers during World War II.  Some of them could very well be serving with you today in Bosnia.

I was one of three rescued American airmen who returned last year to the former Yugoslavia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of victory in Europe with the people who saved us and to visit the cow pasture that  served as a landing strip from which we were rescued.  The most moving  experience of our sentimental trip was being cheered by over 50,000 Serbs who gathered at a mountain top to welcome us and who kept chanting “USA, USA”.

As American military men, we have a proud tradition of “duty, honor and country” to uphold and a fierce sense of loyalty to those with whom we fought side by side in combat.  We never forget their kindness nor do we return their battlefield sacrifices for us by bombing their women and children.  The Serbian people helped us when we were desperate and in trouble. Now that the situation is reversed we can do no less.

Please keep these untarnished truths in mind as you now serve our country and all it stands for, and may God bless you all as we pray for your safe return.

This war will not last long.  If for no other reason, it appears the US Forces are already running low on missiles.  And, Clinton’s blustering threats of “escorting the Albanian Kosovars back to their home” is silliness.

So far Clinton’s war has failed to even find ONE of Milosevic’s mobile units to shoot at.  How does he plan on personally escort back the reported 1,000,000 Albanians his spokespersons claim have fled the country?   The Serbs tied up 10 divisions of Hitler’s Crack troops—even after they lost the war.

If he continues the kind of bombing he conducted last couple of nights, he is going to lose the humanitarian war on CNN.  —Pictures of mothers and newborn premature babies being evacuated from the hospital 100 yards from the Interior Ministry’s spectacular blaze, a father on the street being interviewed saying it was “easy for Clinton to drop bombs on the children from the sky—but we will see what kind of man he is when he comes to our soil” or the flames from a residential area hit in last night’s bombing raids, are far more dramatic and horrifying than watching Albanian refugees who are riding trains to the border and walking across.

Pictures of bombs on civilian targets.  So far this week, over 1000 people are reported to have died so far in the bombing raids. That is a far higher death toll than Christiane Amanpour has been able to muster up in her drive to sell the Albanian side to a jaded, suspicious American public.

The world is seeing the results of the bombs.  The effort to portray the Serbs, as US News and World Report does in its April 12, 1999, issue on “Balkan Hell” as crazed killers is largely verbal so far.

Stories of “summary executions,” US News and World Report noted, were hard to “prove” but are “quite credible given the Serbs’ vicious record.  These stories are being challenged by those, such as Col. Felman, USAF Ret., who have had personal experiences with the Serbs.

We are in a whole new kind of warfare, folks, and it appears that Milosevic has pretty much won it. It already sounds like the Clinton administration is trying to figure out who it can blame for the debacle.

(Now deceased….)
    Richard L. Felman Major USAF (Ret), President
    National Committee of American Airmen
    Rescued by General Mlhailovich, Inc.
    PO Box 17478
    Tuscon, Arizona 85731
 

WWII, Draza Mihailovich & Operation Halyard, Page 3

Over 500 U.S. Airmen were saved by the SERBS!

 “V” for VICTORY!  

V … _

 “Zora puca, bice dana!”


Click on lower right hand corner to enlarge letter above.

The book FREE YUGOSLAVIA CALLING by Dr. Svetislav-Sveta Petrovitch, was written in 1941.  Fiorello Henry LaGuardia, the 99th Mayor of New York City, and widely regarded as one of the BEST mayors the city ever had, wrote the forward, with the words, “Zora puca, bit ce’ dana,” meaning “the dawn in breaking, the day will come.”

“Yes,” he said, “the Day will come to the Yugoslavs— as well as to the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, and to all others suffering under the knout of the Nazi jailers– when peace and freedom shall reign over their land which I know so well.

“The Day of Victory will come to these people whose will to live as free men proved to be stronger than the iron heels of the dictators.

This book, the first one to come out under the ‘V-for-Victory” symbol, confirms my faith in the survival of these brave people.  The daring exploits of the Yugoslav Chetniks against the Nazi invaders, so vividly described by Dr. Petrovitch, and the stiff resistance by the undismayed men and women in other countries, must evoke our admiration and confidence in liberty-loving mankind.

“Every liberty loving person knows that we must not abandon these struggling people who carry on the fight against tyranny so that democracy may prevail in all lands, including the United States.  We must keep the fires of hope burning in the hearts of millions of suffering people throughout the world, the fires which a monster without a heart tries but fails to extinguish.

 “I call upon all Americans to unite and join humanity struggling against Hitler so that his poisonous ideas may never take hold on these shores.  “Zora puca, bit’ ce’ dana.”  September 20, 1941, Mayor of New York City.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Map of Europe in early 1940’s…. 


 

Wehrmacht map of Jugoslavia 1940

 I have a copy of this valuable historical map, but this particular image came courtesy of J.P. Mayer when he was refuting something written against the Serbs, and used this German map from 1940 as evidence to show where the Serbs lived in Yugoslavia then.  

(Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge map.)


(Click map of Yugoslavia on bottom right hand corner to enlarge)

Because so many of our dear readers are sharing their memoirs and photos with us of the WWII Operation Halyard Mission, we must add another page to our website dedicated to making sure the true story is known to a much wider audience.

At this time, my sincere gratitude goes to Melanie and Tim Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA for sharing info about their Uncle Bob Marjanovich with us. 

Tim and Melanie (Tomich) Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA
 

 
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Also, to a new friend from Connecticut, Tech Ed (Industrial Arts) teacher Ted Connolly, whose late father Tom Connolly, was one of the airmen rescued by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks, the OSS, and the American flyers.  Their stories are jaw-dropping exciting…. 

++++++++++++

Melanie is the daughter of the late Milan and Dara (Dorothy) Marjanovich Tomich, who had saved this information for posterity. 

 What small treasure does Melanie hold?  Here it is!

 

Here’s her Uncle Bobby Marjanovich (far left) with Jibby in the middle and General Draza Mihailovich!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bob, May (another sister), and Dara’s father (Melanie’s grandfather) was a priest who died at quite a young age.  His mother sent Bob to study the priesthood in Belgrade in 1939, where he had received a scholarship.  On April 7, 1941, Germany dropped bombs on Belgrade, which was an open city, instantly killing 17,000 civilians and wounding thousands of others.  In his mad dash for safety, Bob was taken in and given shelter by strangers, but eventually found himself meeting up with the famous Maksimovich Brothers, a popular singing quartet he had met when they toured throughout America in 1936, making famous the song “O Marijana” throughout the USA. 

The 4 Maksimovic Brothers (also shown here with the newsman, S. Popovic) found Bob & took him home to their Mother, a retired 70-yr. old schoolteacher.  Later, they all joined General Draza Mihailovich in Ravna Gora.

 

Bobby was listed as missing for almost three years….

This Oct. 27, 1943 edition of the SRBOBRAN featured a front page reprint of a story that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Bob’s worried mother finally hearing that he was alive from a radio broadcast from Mihailovich headquarters.
 

 “The dapper yong man pictured above with his sister is Robert (Bogdan) Marjanovich, one of the valiant CHetniks fighting the Nazi hordes in the mountains of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Draza Mihailovich.”  Dorothy was a manager of the Kroger Store in Leetsdale, PA.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
On Nov. 3,1944 at his schoolhouse headquarters in Okruglica, Capt. Nick Lalich prepared room for the 16 incoming Americans.  It was there that Lalich also heard that the American theological student, Robert Marjanovich, who had served as a translator with the Halyard Mission in Pranjani would be arriving soon.  Marjanovich somehow was able to cross from Serbia into Bosnia and finally join Lalich at Okruglica.  Marjanovich was supposed to be in charge of the arriving fliers, while Jibby continued monitoring the radio. 

General Mihailovich talking to his men, 1944
Courtesy of Ted Connolly’s collection.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Dec. 11, the Halyard Mission left Mihailovich after he again refused safe passage to Italy.  “This is my land and my people.  I will stay to the end, no matter what.”   Mihailovich took off his dagger and gave it to Lalich as a gift for George Vuynovich who helped guide the Halyard Mission from his post in Bari. The General ordered his Colonel Mirko Lalatovic to take off his dagger which was presented to Lalich as a gift.  General Mihailovich then ripped off the patch from his left sleeve and gave it to Lalich as a parting gesture of friendship.
 
Nick said that he un-shouldered his carbine, and placed it over the General’s shoulder. Then he announced, “The Allies never gave you any weapons, so let me be the first.”
 
Two of Draza’s commanders, Col. Jovan Crvencenin and Major Bogicevic were blind, and Lalich readily agreed to take them to Italy at Mihailovich’s request.  As the two groups parted, Lalich, Jibilian, Bobby Marjanovich and the 16 fliers all embraced the general in appreciation for his help in saving the fliers.  They had an escort of 40 Chetniks, plus Major Blagojevic who spoke perfect English and act as a translator (he had been educated in England), and Sane (Sha-ne), an Olympic skier who would guide them across the treacherous Zivjezda Mts. in the dead of winter.
 

December 12, 1944, Ozren Mountains/Monastery
 
They nearly starved to death before finding food and shelter at a home near Dubostica River.  By Dec. 17, they arrived at the Ozren Monastery on Sunday, just in time for church services.  At the conclusion of the service, Nick Lalich put over $100 on the altar, and everyone heard the villagers whisper, “To su Amerikanci,” or “Those are Americans,” and were welcomed to stay for dinner. The group was overjoyed as it would be a relief from the danger they had faced over the last few days crossing the snowy mountains.  Finally, they reached Bojanic, their destination, where they found 9 more American fliers who had been cared for by Mr. Panic.
 
In Boljanic, Jibby was able to find some parts in town to get his radio working again, and sent a message that the group was ready for evacuation.
 
Mr. Panic had asked Lalich how Americans celebrated Christmas and Nick descibed Christmas trees and Christmas dinners. Soon, they found that the villagers of Boljanic had cut a small pine tree and decorated it with tinsel that had been dropped from Allied planes to jam German radar.  The airmen thought it was the best Christmas tree they had ever seen!
 
 It was a good Christmas afterall!
 
Tom Connolly (TMC) is to the far left of the photo, Farnham, Thomas, Shay, Stoloff, Teal and Holcher.
Nick Lalich is in the middle.
 
Also, on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 1944), the mission received word to prepare for a supply drop.  The men ran out onto the airstrip and heard the roar of a B-25, and even though the skies were so cloudy, saw six large containers come through the skies. (See actual photos from Ted Connolly, Tom’s son) on the top right hand side of this page.)
 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is the farmhouse where Tom Connolly & his crew stayed.  Visit the Kosovo Men’s Choir page on this site and see how we stayed at DrvenGrad that looks just like this…. we felt like Heidi…. high in the mountains in houses just like this!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Letter written by Tom Connolly about his rescue.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


 This map from the collection of Ted Connolly, son of +Tom Connolly, one of the 513 rescued U.S. airmen marks a map of the region where the crew of the STRICTLY G.I airplane landed.  Marked in the margin here is the name of airman Percy Peterson, who was flying with the crew for the first time, 11/19/44. Unfortunately, he was killed.  

 Much, much more coming!  Stay tuned.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 In another vein, it is important that we recall the efforts of Major Richard Felman to insure the story of Operation Halyard was always at the fore.

Thanks to the Serbian Unity Congress, we have this wonderful story by Sandy Marquette about a fine, fine man, Dick Felman.

http://www.serbianunity.net/culture/history/wwii/felman.html

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Another big loss for the Serbian People was Professor Dragoslav Djordjevich of California. The following tribute is from the Serbian Unity Congress, of which he was a Founding Member.
 
Dragoslav GeorgevIch, 
98,
 true 
patriot 
both

of
 Serbia 
and
America,
 died
 November
29, 
2008

in 
Monterey,
 California,
 exactly
 sixty 
years
 after 
arriving

in 
the
 United
 States.



Born 
in
 Obrenovac,
 Serbia,
on
 August 
9,
1910,
 he

graduated 
from 
the
 Yugoslav 
Military
 Academy 
in

Belgrade,
 Serbia 
(then
 Yugoslavia) 
and 
was
 a
 captain

attending
 the
 General 
Staff
 School 
when 
Germany

attacked
 Yugoslavia 
in
 April 
of
 1941.




After
 four 
years
 as
 a
 prisoner 
of
 war 
in
 Germany
 and
 another
 four
 as
 a
 displaced
 person
 in the British‐administered 
zone 
of

occupation 
post‐World
 War 
II,
 he
 refused 

to 
return
 to
 his
 native Serbia,
 which
 had 
become 
Communist
 after
 the
 War.



He
 decided
 to 
emigrate
 to
 the
 United 
States,

arriving
 in New 
York 
City
 on
 Thanksgiving
 Day 
in
 1948.


Dragoslav
 Georgevich 
spent
 nearly 
30 years 
teaching

Serbo‐Croatian 
at
 the
 Army 
Language 
School 
in

Monterey,
California,
 which 
later 
became 
the 
Defense

Language
 Institute,
 where
 he
 retired
 as 
the
 Chairman
 of 
the
 Serbo‐Croatian
 Department.

 He
 earned
 two
 post-graduate 
degrees,
 in
 history 
and 
linguistics 
at
 San 
Jose 
State 
University.


He
 wrote several books, including the notable “Na Raskrsnici” (At the Cross) which chronicled his converstations with Prince Paul Karadjordjevich, the Regent of Yugoslavia during the critical and fateful years between 1935 and 1941.


Shortly 
after
 arriving 
in 
the
 US,
 he and other Serbian patriots founded the “Cultural Club Saint Sava” in Chicago, which quickly became a beacon of Serbian ideas and aspirations, and for decades was in the forefront of Serbian Anti-Communist struggle. 



Dragoslav
Georgevich
 was 
also 
part 
of 
the
 genesis
 of 
the
 Serbian
 Unity 
Congress.

 Realizing
 that
 Communist
 Yugoslavia
 was 
on
 the
 verge 
of
 collapse,
 he 
and 
his
 son,
 Miroslav
 (Michael)Djordjevich) met in 

early
1989
 with
 Prince
 Andrej 
Karadjordjevic 
to
 discuss
 what
 could 
be 
done
 to 
revive
 Serbia 
and
 protect
 Serbian 
interests  in a post‐Communist
 world.


They 
were 
captivated by 
the
 idea of a new organization consisting primarily of young professionals of Serbian heritage who would actively help Serbia in transition from Titoism to Democracy. 
The 
concept
 resulted 
in
 the 
founding 
of
 the
 Serbian
 Unity
 Congress,
 SUC,
 in
 1990.

 Michael
 became 
the
 first
 president 
of
 the
 SUC;

Dragoslav
 Georgevich
 worked 
tirelessly
 to
 solidify 
grassroots 
support 
for
 SUC
 among 
the
 Serbian
 Diaspora
 in
 the
 ensuing
 years.



 
In Memorium -Slava mu!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Finally!  Here’s a photo of J.B. Allin, the photographer with the Halyard Mission, talking to Nick Lalich and Dr. Carpenter. Thank you to Dr. Jonathan Clemente for sharing this photo with us!

(Photo was enhanced.  No color photos then!) 

Jibby says that Dr. Clemente is a valuable contributor to the OSS listserv and is writing a book about the Medical conditions of Operation Halyard and other missions.

Here’s what I found about Dr. Clemente on the Charlotte Radiology site:

Jonathan D. Clemente, M.D.

Medical School: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Residency: New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Fellowship: Diagnostic Neuroradiology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Board Certification: American Board of Radiology, Certificate of Added Qualifications, Neuroradiology
Societies: RSNA, ARRS, NYRS, ACR, NC-ACR, NCMS, MCMS, Senior Member of the American Society of Neuroradiology, American Society of Head and Neck Radiology
Specialties: Neuroradiology

 And he’s so nice to share!  Lots of (patients!) patience too!  Thanks so much!


 

JP Allin & Lalich.Rebich photo.jpg

Here are the two guys again, JP Allin and Nick Lalich, at a reception in Chicago for the Rescued Airmen sponsored by Aleksandra Rebic and her father, Rade Rebic in May of 1994.  Thanks for sharing, Aleks!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Here’s Mike Devyak and Lt. Col. McDowell on the move again…..


 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A photo shared on Veteran’s Day, (11/11/15) by Stephanie Lalich Adams of 3 American Serbs OSS heroes:  Lt. Joe Veselinovich, Lt. Mike Rajacich, and her father, Lt. Nick Lalich from WWII, Operation HALYARD.

(Click on bottom right hand corner of either photo above to enlarge)
 
THE FIRST GUERRILLAS of EUROPE, The True Stories of General Mihailovic’s Warriors by Milos Achin is another excellent book on WWII.  The author was educated at the Belgrade Military Academy and served in the Yugoslav and British RAF.
 
A Yugoslav Air Force officer, he refused to accept the official capitulation in April, 1941, and joined in at the very outset General Draza Mihailovich’s resistance group, the first guerrillas organized in a then-conquered Europe, and rose from the rank of commander of a detachment to commanding officer of a corps.  He was a captain in the YAH (Yugoslav Army in the Homeland), an editor and writer for the Underground Press, and editor-in-chief of the underground radio station, “Liberty or Death.”
 
Milos’ wife was the former prima dona of the Yugoslav Opera House.
++++++++++++++++++ 

Air drop on Christmas 1944

Thanks to Ted Connolly of Connecticut for sharing with all of us these photos from his late father’s (Tom Connelly’s) files. Be sure to place your pointer over the photo to enlarge seeing these packages drop by parachute.



 
This is the first time I saw these kind of photos, but I always knew the story! 
 
Inside the six large containers was food and clothing.  The Americans gave most of it away to their friends in Boljanic, but there was enough left for a Christmas dinner.
 
Lalich radioed to Bari:
“Now we believe in Santa Claus!”
++++++++++++++++++ 
 
It is interesting to note that Ted Connolly is an Industrial Arts teacher at Wilson High School in Wilson, Connecticut. And before becoming an officer with the OSS, Nick Lalich was an Industrial Arts teacher in Cleveland’s high school.
 ++++++++++++++++++
Connolly, Farnham, Stolof, Shay, 1944
++++++++++++++++++

The name of Connolly’s airplane, “STRICTLY G.I.!”
+++++++++++++++++++
 
Trying to build a fire to let the rescue planes know where they are!
 

A  letter to Tom Connolly’s Mom stating on December 9, 1944, he’s been missing since November 11.
(Click to enlarge all photos.)
++++++++++++++++++

On Dec. 27, two days after the airdrop, two C-47’s were heard.  The planes arrived in Boljanic at the appointed hour, one of the pilots being Col. Kraigher, who had come to bring the airmen home.  Col. Kraigher had been with the Halyard Mission earlier, with the A.C.R.U., and there was much rejoicing.

George Vuynovich had loaded the planes with supplies as a gift to all the people of Boljanic and the Chetniks (Nationalist troops), who had escorted Halyard to the airstrip.  Lalich, Jibby, Marjanovich, the 25 American fliers and two blind Serbian officers flew out of Yugoslavia.


Nick Lalich reported that the Halyard Mission had successfully evacuated 604 people, of whom 513 were American airmen shot down over Yugoslavia. 

With much gratitude to General Draza Mihailovich and his followers who showed our American Airmen kindness and hospitality, and guarded them at huge risk to themselves and their families (sometimes their lives and fortunes) this page is humbly dedicated.

We also take time to recognize the courageous efforts of both the Serbs and the members of the Halyard Mission to make sure the U.S. airmen got safely home.

++++++++++++++++++


Rescued airmen finally get some well-deserved rest!
Sgt. Martin Wosal, Sgt. Thomas M. Connolly, Jr. of Boston, and Sgt. Roscoe E. Teal of Seward, Nebraska, after their rescue from behind German lines in Yugoslavia where they crashed during combat.
++++++++++++++++++
 
Thank you to George Vujnovich and his lovely wife, to George Musulin, Nick Lalich, Mike Rajasich, Col. George Kraigher of the 15th Air Force, Eli Popovich and Arthur Jibilian, radioman, for volunteering to rescue the American Airmen who had bailed out of their badly damaged aircraft over German-occupied lines in the Axis-controlled Balkans.
 
The U.S. airmen had been on missions to bomb the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, with the aim of halting the vital flow of oil to the German war machines. 
 
The Ploesti Oil Fields Operation was successful, but at a tremendous human cost to American fliers.
 
Read more about the Ploesti air raids here:
 
  
Men like Tom Connolly and his crew were grateful to the villagers who found, fed and protected them, and got them safely into the hands of those in charge of Operation HALYARD, of the A.C.R.U., The Air Crew Rescue Unit plan.  “Halyard” was chosen as the code name, as a reference to a rope used to hoist a flag or sail, in this case, pluck the fliers out from behind enemy lines from their mountain sanctuaries.
 
Read more about General Mihailovich and the Ploesti Oil Fields at Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogspot.
 
 
++++++++++++++++++
 
Be sure to read Carl Savich’s report on the Rescue of the US Airmen during WWII, which includes Richard Felman’s Reminisces about the Halyard Mission and the Evacuation from Pranjani. This is found on the Serbian Unity Congress’ website.
 
 
You will find information above about Carl Walpusk, my great neighbor, as he was with Dick Felman and his crew. Carl Walpusk is shown on the 1st Draza page, extensively, when he was flown up to Ypsilanti, MI by the EAA#582 Air Group!
+++++++++++++++++++

Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge photo
 

The airmen above signed the back of this photo postcard:
Bernard Z.???;
Bernard Merwald from Omaha, Nebraska; Mac F. Lucas from Crannell, California;  Harold T. Brown from Turtle Creek, PA; H. Arthur Ulmer from Hicksville, Long island, NY; Robert from Brooklyn NY, and Edgar M. Jacobus Jr. from E. Orange, NY.
 
 Harvey. Henry & Bob Ulmer
Update from Carol Ulmer Kaier, Jan. 8, 2011 via email. Carol brings us this photo of her father Harvey, her uncle, Henry  Arthur Ulmer, one of the rescued airmen on the postcard with his signature on back, and her Uncle Rob Ulmer.  Unfortunately, Rob (the eldest) was shot down and killed while her Uncle Art (Henry) was missing.  At that point, her father decided to go back home to be with his Mom. Carol says her Uncle Art kept a diary while he was MIA from July 3, 1944 until October 17, 1944.  It was fascinating to read, she said, and is currently asking her Uncle to share it with all of us!
++++++++++++++++++

from Jibby
++++++++++++++++++

 +++++++++++++++++++

Chetnik guerrillas sabotaging RR tracks to derail German supply lines.
collection of Ted Connolly.
 
 +++++++++++++++++++
 Mihailovich in camp
++++++++++++++++++
 Collection of T. Connolly
++++++++++++++++++

Shay, far left, Tom Connolly mid left, Nick Lalich, and Bobby Marjanovich with duffle bag. Airlift.
++++++++++++++++++
From the collection of Ted Connolly 2/19/09
with much appreciation!
 

Tom Connolly’s Survival Maps

Out of the pouch….
Don’t forget to click on the lower right hand corner of the image to enlarge it.
++++++++++++++++++
From Dr. Jonathan Clemente come these photos!
 

Jibby, Lalich, Dr. Carpenter
 
This photo was enhanced, as there was no color photography then! 🙂
+++++++++++++++++++

WWII Operation Halyard Photos continued.....

Operation Halyard photos from Ted Connolly and Arthur Jibilian….


 Gathering up the chutes….

 

 

 


 

Draza Mihailovich and Villagers

 

Doc helping check medical supplies….


 

General Draza Mihailovich and his Religious Leaders


Reviewing the troops…..


Hilton Hotel….


All Aboard!

 

Shoes left for the locals….


 


 


Here is Tom Connolly with a cane for his injured foot, and the other crew members behind….


Courageous pilots flew into the cleared fields to rescue their fellow Americans.  Imagine doing this with the limited equipment they had at their disposal!  No GPS systems like we have now!.


 Last day in Serbia….. the author of the essay is in this photo… along with Nick Lalich in the middle.


Greeted in Bari, Italy!  12-28-44.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Serbs were ALWAYS Allies of the United States of America.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

February 1, 2012: Info from Nikola Simanic, a Facebook friend, who sent us a photo of his grandfather, as a Chetnik, kneeling in front, left, with an American airman who was a professor, but Nikola didn’t know his name, and the other airman was a Greek captain. 

Young Nikola says he is from Ilijas (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) and is now living in Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska!  He said he found me on the Halyard Mission page.  I’ll wait to see if more information develops here.  Thanks, Nikola!

Update: Feb. 9, 2012:  2. comandant of backround and president of the district of Visoko, Sreto Erić.

“My grandfather’s name was Bogdan Simanić (1913 – 2008) and he was the Chetniks Battalion Commandant of Vareš.  Our family’s house was on the Han Karaula close to Okruglica place. This photo is from Okruglica place or Nišići plateau !
 
Other peoples of picture are ;
stand up (off left side) :
1. Captain Drago Miljanović from Sarajevo,
2. Americans airman, professor,
3. Conduct of airmen, Radoslav Zekić from Olovo,
4. Captain of Greek army, airman.
 
Down kneeling in front, left :
1.  My grandfather , Battalion commandant, Bogdan Simanić and
2.  President of the district of Visoko: Sreto Eric’.
 
Great information to have!  Thank you, Nikola!  
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

+++++++++++++++++++


Plotting the next course of action….

+++++++++++++++++++

“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Communists in the country sat on their hands.  Later it was a different story.  As soon as the Germans invaded their “ally” Russia,
the Communists became anti-German.  Politics being
what they are, what little help had gone to Mihailovich went to Tito instead.  Except the help was
many times what it had been.  It wasn’t until several years later that the western allies realized what Stalin
was all about.

Both the Chetniks and the Partisans were fighting the Germans, and they also were fighting each other. 
When the Chetniks saw us coming down in parachutes, they thought we were Russian paratroopers
invading their space.  Had I said yes to the question “Russki?”  I wouldn’t be writing this now.


No one spoke English, but they convinced me that we needed to get away from where we were in a
hurry.  We walked, ran, and jogged for a few miles until we came to a safe house.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at the small farmhouse and the first person I saw was “Shorty” Shay, our tail gunner.  He had some minor injuries from flak but was in pretty good shape.  We were both excited to see one an-
other and very happy to be alive.
A couple of hours later there was more excitement when Tom Connelly, our engineer, arrived with only an injured leg.  The next one to arrive was Roscoe Teal, our nose gunner.  We all enjoyed the reunion,
and eagerly ate the food and drinks offered by our benefactors.  After hours of communicating with
sign language and a combination of German, Serbian and my high school French, we finally went to sleep
fully-clothed except for shoes — all four of us in the same bed.


The next morning, after some warm goat’s milk and dark bread, Tom and I left with some Chetniks to go to the plane and bury Pete.  When we were within a mile or so of where the plane hit, we were warned that it wasn’t safe ahead.  A “Ustashi” patrol was in
the area looking for us.  The Ustashi were Croatian sympathizers who fought both the Chetniks and the
Partisans and committed atrocities against any German enemy.
We returned to the farmhouse.  Shortly after our return, we were reunited with Marv Stoloff, our navi-
gator, and Franz Holscher, our ball-turret gunner.  Later, we met Carrol Sanderson, the waist gunner,
and Gene Thomas.  We didn’t catch up to Art Farnham for a few more days.


It was time to move to an area considered safer and one that was a minor local headquarters.  We had an
escort of uniformed soldiers in addition to the armed peasants who made up a major part of the Resis-
tance.  There were a couple of commissioned officers on horseback with us.  We walked and also rode in
ox carts and I even had the chance, along with Franz, to ride one of the horses. That night, we slept in a safe-house and spent some
time enjoying a new-found drink — Slivovitz.  It is made from plums, looks like vodka, and is smooth
going down, but kicks like a mule!  We were enjoying our new friends and the prospect of evading the
Germans. We had all landed in the same general area, but there
was some local fighting going on that slowed things down a little bit.  Now that our crew was almost complete, we were anxious to travel to the headquartters to see if help was available for our escape.


We were in a very primitive part of the country.  Oxen were used as farm animals for plowing and hauling things in carts.  Except for the mounted officers we didn’t see a horse the entire time that we were in Yugoslavia.  There was no electricity, and all plumbing was the outhouse-type, — when they had
one.  Water came from a well, and food was very scarce.. We ate lots of boiled cabbage for the next several
weeks.  There was virtually no meat, but we did have warm goat’s milk in the mornings with a slice of dark
bread.  Between the light diet and all the exercise, I lost about 20 pounds in six weeks, but except for a
slight case of malnutrition, I never felt better in my life. It was dangerous because the Germans occupied the country, but they couldn’t be everywhere.  They were
in every important part, and controlled the cities, the
highways, the rail lines, and whatever else they deemed critical.  However, they couldn’t be in every
house, on every farm, hill or mountain.  That was to our advantage.  So although we were in danger, we never had to fight the war 24-hours-a-day like in the old Errol Flynn movies.


To sum up our situation: we were in a strange country, we didn’t speak the language and we knew no one.  We had no food or transportation except our feet, and we were 300+ miles from the sea, where we could begin a very long 100-mile swim home.
We needed help almost right away.  If we didn’t get it in a day or two we wouldn’t survive.  We were lucky and landed in a rural area where the native people had temporary control and we were relatively safe..  The Germans may have known we were around, but it would have taken some real effort to find us.  Luckily, they were busy moving troops north to relieve other divisions who would shortly begin the “Battle of the Bulge.”


We finally got to the local headquarters and found the only English-speaking person in the area.  That was when we learned where we were and who we were with.  We also learned that they had a short-wave radio and had advised Mihailovich’s headquarters that we were with them.  It looked like help might be on the way.


It was suggested that we split up and stay at different houses for safety.  We decided we’d rather stay together, even though it meant all of us sleeping on the floor of a small bedroom on a blanket of straw. That is when we met the Panic family and my good friend Yugo. Marko Panic was the head of the house.  His oldest son Milosh was married and had a young son and lots of aunts and a brother named Yugo.  Yugo was my age and a bachelor, and like all Serbians, was filled with great respect for Americans. 


They all thought we were Supermen.


All through the war, they witnessed the Germans as they beat Belgium, Norway, France, then drove the
British into the sea at Dunkirk.  Although they had some problems with the Russians, they would have
reached Moscow if people like the Chetniks didn’t tie down four divisions in Yugoslavia who were needed at the Eastern Front.”

Be sure to read the rest of Bob Eckman’s story in the #461 LIBERATOR….Vol. 23, No.2, 2006!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Let the facts speak for themelves!

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

+++++++++++++++++++


Plotting the next course of action….

+++++++++++++++++++

“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Communists in the country sat on their hands.  Later it was a different story.  As soon as the Germans invaded their “ally” Russia,
the Communists became anti-German.  Politics being
what they are, what little help had gone to Mihailovich went to Tito instead.  Except the help was
many times what it had been.  It wasn’t until several years later that the western allies realized what Stalin
was all about.

Both the Chetniks and the Partisans were fighting the Germans, and they also were fighting each other. 
When the Chetniks saw us coming down in parachutes, they thought we were Russian paratroopers
invading their space.  Had I said yes to the question “Russki?”  I wouldn’t be writing this now.


No one spoke English, but they convinced me that we needed to get away from where we were in a
hurry.  We walked, ran, and jogged for a few miles until we came to a safe house.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at the small farmhouse and the first person I saw was “Shorty” Shay, our tail gunner.  He had some minor injuries from flak but was in pretty good shape.  We were both excited to see one an-
other and very happy to be alive.
A couple of hours later there was more excitement when Tom Connelly, our engineer, arrived with only an injured leg.  The next one to arrive was Roscoe Teal, our nose gunner.  We all enjoyed the reunion,
and eagerly ate the food and drinks offered by our benefactors.  After hours of communicating with
sign language and a combination of German, Serbian and my high school French, we finally went to sleep
fully-clothed except for shoes — all four of us in the same bed.


The next morning, after some warm goat’s milk and dark bread, Tom and I left with some Chetniks to go to the plane and bury Pete.  When we were within a mile or so of where the plane hit, we were warned that it wasn’t safe ahead.  A “Ustashi” patrol was in
the area looking for us.  The Ustashi were Croatian sympathizers who fought both the Chetniks and the
Partisans and committed atrocities against any German enemy.
We returned to the farmhouse.  Shortly after our return, we were reunited with Marv Stoloff, our navi-
gator, and Franz Holscher, our ball-turret gunner.  Later, we met Carrol Sanderson, the waist gunner,
and Gene Thomas.  We didn’t catch up to Art Farnham for a few more days.


It was time to move to an area considered safer and one that was a minor local headquarters.  We had an
escort of uniformed soldiers in addition to the armed peasants who made up a major part of the Resis-
tance.  There were a couple of commissioned officers on horseback with us.  We walked and also rode in
ox carts and I even had the chance, along with Franz, to ride one of the horses. That night, we slept in a safe-house and spent some
time enjoying a new-found drink — Slivovitz.  It is made from plums, looks like vodka, and is smooth
going down, but kicks like a mule!  We were enjoying our new friends and the prospect of evading the
Germans. We had all landed in the same general area, but there
was some local fighting going on that slowed things down a little bit.  Now that our crew was almost complete, we were anxious to travel to the headquartters to see if help was available for our escape.


We were in a very primitive part of the country.  Oxen were used as farm animals for plowing and hauling things in carts.  Except for the mounted officers we didn’t see a horse the entire time that we were in Yugoslavia.  There was no electricity, and all plumbing was the outhouse-type, — when they had
one.  Water came from a well, and food was very scarce.. We ate lots of boiled cabbage for the next several
weeks.  There was virtually no meat, but we did have warm goat’s milk in the mornings with a slice of dark
bread.  Between the light diet and all the exercise, I lost about 20 pounds in six weeks, but except for a
slight case of malnutrition, I never felt better in my life. It was dangerous because the Germans occupied the country, but they couldn’t be everywhere.  They were
in every important part, and controlled the cities, the
highways, the rail lines, and whatever else they deemed critical.  However, they couldn’t be in every
house, on every farm, hill or mountain.  That was to our advantage.  So although we were in danger, we never had to fight the war 24-hours-a-day like in the old Errol Flynn movies.


To sum up our situation: we were in a strange country, we didn’t speak the language and we knew no one.  We had no food or transportation except our feet, and we were 300+ miles from the sea, where we could begin a very long 100-mile swim home.
We needed help almost right away.  If we didn’t get it in a day or two we wouldn’t survive.  We were lucky and landed in a rural area where the native people had temporary control and we were relatively safe..  The Germans may have known we were around, but it would have taken some real effort to find us.  Luckily, they were busy moving troops north to relieve other divisions who would shortly begin the “Battle of the Bulge.”


We finally got to the local headquarters and found the only English-speaking person in the area.  That was when we learned where we were and who we were with.  We also learned that they had a short-wave radio and had advised Mihailovich’s headquarters that we were with them.  It looked like help might be on the way.


It was suggested that we split up and stay at different houses for safety.  We decided we’d rather stay together, even though it meant all of us sleeping on the floor of a small bedroom on a blanket of straw. That is when we met the Panic family and my good friend Yugo. Marko Panic was the head of the house.  His oldest son Milosh was married and had a young son and lots of aunts and a brother named Yugo.  Yugo was my age and a bachelor, and like all Serbians, was filled with great respect for Americans. 


They all thought we were Supermen.


All through the war, they witnessed the Germans as they beat Belgium, Norway, France, then drove the
British into the sea at Dunkirk.  Although they had some problems with the Russians, they would have
reached Moscow if people like the Chetniks didn’t tie down four divisions in Yugoslavia who were needed at the Eastern Front.”

Be sure to read the rest of Bob Eckman’s story in the #461 LIBERATOR….Vol. 23, No.2, 2006!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Let the facts speak for themelves!

WWII, Draza Mihailovich, "Operation Halyard," p.5

From the book: Govori i Izjave Generala Draze Mihailovca, Chicago, 1966 which is one of many books scheduled to go to Pranjani, Serbia for a WWII Research Library there:

“No people in Europe have a more heroic record in this war than the Serbs. Among them, no hero is more glorious than General Draza Mihailovic.”

Watson Kirkconnell

 

From Wikipedia:  Watson Kirkconnell was a Canadian scholar, university administrator and translator. He was President of Acadia University, and in 1968, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his services at home and abroad as an educator, scholar and writer”. [1] In 1936, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

YouTube Video of this event <—— 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MAY 11, 2009 University of Pittsburgh


 

 

Seal of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

USAF Lt. Col. John Cappello, Air Attache to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, and 4 Representatives from the Euro-Atlantic Initiative (Daniel Sunter, Bojan T. Dragicevic, Zlatko Stojilovic, and Tom Vukadinovic) were welcomed to Pittsburgh, PA, USA, May 11, 2009!

George Vujnovich, George Musulin, and Robert Marjanovich were all recognized by Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA, for their roles in the heroic and successful evacuation of over 500 American Airmen from German-occupied Serbia.

Update:  94 yr. old George Vujnovich was inaugurated into the Ambridge Area High School (PA) HALL OF FAME on June 8, 2009  in the 1st such recognition by the school.  Unable to attend due to his advanced age and the distance involved, Mim Bizic and Carl Walpusk (in his WWII uniform) accepted the award on George Vujnovich’s behalf.


Click in lower right hand corner to enlarge.

 

WHEREAS, during the summer of 1944, United States bombers targeted the Romanian oil fields in Ploesti that supplied the German war effort, and many heavily damaged planes never made it back; and
 
WHEREAS, more than 1,000 United States airmen were forced to bail out over German-occupied Serbia and were trapped behind enemy lines where they were dependent upon the villagers to hide them from the Germans; and ………..(several more paragraphs!)
 
            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, on behalf of the 1.2 million residents of Allegheny County, do welcome Lt. Col. Cappello and his team to Pittsburgh and thank them for bringing further recognition to Operation Halyard.
 
            FURTHERMORE, I do hereby recognize the important role that Major Vujnovich, Captain Musulin, and Mr. Marjanovich played in what is considered one of the greatest rescues of American servicemen from behind enemy lines.

 


Lt. Col. John Cappello is happy with the crowd he addressed on Monday night, May 11 at 7:30 PM. L-R in the front row:  Dr. Nenad Janicijevich who was responsible for millions of dollars of relief medicines reaching Serbia and Bosnia,  Brian Hayden who serves on the Serb National Federation Board, and Col. Carl Walpusk, rescued airman from Moon Twp., PA.

 

The venue was changed from meeting in the Yugoslav Nationality Room to the English Nationality Room at the University, due to the increased number of interested attendees.  Almost all of the 65 available seats were filled with interested listeners.


George Topich showing Sally Stone the photos from the dedication of the Draza Mihailovich bronze bust at the Serb National Federation Headquarters.  The photo shows His Grace Bishop Mitrofan who flew to Belgrade that very day for a Sabor meeting.  With His Grace is Carl Walpusk, rescued airman, who also attended the ceremonies then.  Carl was in the audience at Pitt too.  Like most of the other remaining airmen, Carl has been defending Draza Mihailovich and the Chetniks and the Serbian villagers since 1946! 

George later wrote: “Enjoyed the evening.
     This project can assist tremendously in finally getting some good press for us Serbians.  I hope we all can pull together to move it forward to completion and reaching Western media. Thanks for your efforts.”


 Nick Terbo (Nikola Tesla’s nephew and representing the TESLA MEMORIAL SOCIETY), SNF President George Martich and SNF VP George Topich.  The photo below shows a smiling Nick Lalich between the two SNF representatives.

+++++++++++++++++++


Delegation ready to go home after a successful night!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Debbie Studen-Pavlovich, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University, was one of those attendees who enjoyed the evening. 

Deb wrote:  SUPERB PROGRAM!

“It was a wonderful event that you planned for Lt. Col. Capello and his Serbian contingent.  They certainly received a warm welcome from all of the Pittsburgh Serbs.  Thanks so much for making the time to organize everything and bring it together.  I really appreciate your efforts.  It was good that Maxine Bruhns was also there for the presentation. Would you please send me Lt. Col. Cappello’s e-mail address?   I would like to thank him for his perseverance with this important piece of history for proper recognition.

++++++++++++++

 Cheri Bobik sent this note:  

“Just to let you know that we truly enjoyed the program last night.  As usual, you did an outstanding job making everyone feel welcome.  Because of you, Mr. Vuich,  Col. Cappello and the Serbian filmmaker’s determination, ‘The
Forgotten 500′ will never be forgotten!”

+++++++++++++++

Dr. Natalie Pavlovich, retired nursing professor from Duquesne University, left several phone messages letting us all know how excited and pleased she was with the program. 

Then she added“I know that the Colonel is going to be a General someday.  He has it all!  Great manner, fabulous speaker, sense of humor, etc.  His mother has to be real proud of him!  They were ALL so nice!  It was a great evening and I’m so glad I came!”

+++++++++++++++++

The Proclamation from Dan Onorato, Executive Director of Allegheny County was read at the beginning of the lecture.  But the end belonged to U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire who wrote:

Dear Friends,

I am sorry I cannot be with you tonight as you learn about the amazing story of Operation Halyard. Although the story of how the Draza Mihailovich’s Chetniks and the Serbian people worked with American forces to rescue more than 500 American Airmen or 600 Allied Airmen is not widely known, many scholars consider it to be one of the greatest rescues of the 20th Century. I am sure you will all be proud when you learn about the vital role three western Pennsylvanians played in making the Halyard Rescue possible.

The Serbian community in western Pennsylvania has long been a dynamic and important part of our region’s larger community. I want to thank Mim Bizic and everyone who has helped put tonight’s event together and introduce the story of Operation Halyard to a wider audience. I hope this story will inspire all of you as it has inspired me.

Sincerely,
Congressman Jason Altmire

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Special Kudos to

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire,

Allegheny Co. Executive Director Dan Onorato

and their remarkable staffers,

especially Michelle DorothyTess Mullen and Megan Dardanell

to Maxine Bruhns-head of the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh for her generosity

and Eli Shorak of the Chancellor’s Office at the University for securing the room for the presentation,

along with his executive assistant, Susan.

To Brian Hayden, Susan Hayden, Dan August and Adam Loverich for technical assistance

for Marko Doncich leading the assembly in “Hristos Voskrese” during this Easter season.

For Mike and Steffie Bozic sharing their VIEW

To Dave Vuich, for coordinating the Belgrade visit and traveling from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh

and to Carl Walpusk, one of the 513 rescued American airmen, who never tires of letting others know what good people the SERBS are!

To Rachel Weaver, editor of the Sewickley HERALD, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Here’s Rachel’s story on THE FORGOTTEN 500 that appeared on Thursday, May 21, 2009.  It had more than 175 hits on the first day as news traveled across America!  Thank you, Rachel, Sewickley HERALD, and Frank Craig,Tribune-Review.

You can look for it here;

IF it doesn’t work, try this on your own:

http://www.yoursewickley.com/sewickleyherald/article/forgotten-500

To Sewickley attorney Rich Brandt and his wonderful Real-estate agent wife, Kathy Brandt for suggesting the Serbian book collection of the late Aleksandar Crepajac and his wife Wilma Crepajac be given to me by their great-niece, Annegret Rachuba of Germany.  Although there have been several requests for individual books, I think this is the wisest use of them.  If the book is not in the Joe Buley Library in the Monastery at Gray’s  Lake, IL, it will go there first. (The Joe Buley Library was sent 102 books via the St. Elijah Choir bus to Joliet, IL/in care of Fr. Lunich and Fr. Kazich). However, if a copy already exists in the USA, it will go to Serbia.

 More than 130 books from the Crepajac collection will be given to the proposed Library to be built by Pranjani Field in Serbia, where most of the American Airmen were rescued. 

Col. Cappello and his crew already mailed out 3 packed boxes and several more boxes are yet to shipped! 

This material collected by Major Aleksandar Crepajac could serve as a basis for a WWII special research library where scholars could come and learn more about the displaced people who had to scatter to the four corners of the earth during/after the war, and how they left their marks on history.

The +Crepajac Memorial Library Collection is truly serving as a living link between the American and Serbian people on the two Continents, separated by Oceans, connected by Love.

Col. Cappello & University of Pittsburgh Hostess Mim Bizic with the Proclamation from Allegheny County Director of Commissioners, Don Onorato, on behalf of the 1.2 million residents of Allegheny County, including those from the  City of Pittsburgh.

 


Dave Vuich from Washington, DC, introduced each member of the “Operation Halyard” Delegation from Belgrade.

“It is my wish that the Serbs in the Pittsburgh area will attend and participate in the events that you have organized not only to pay homage and respect to the young men, but a specific honor be bestowed upon Col. Cappello for his dedicated efforts to the Serbian people. Should my schedule so permit, I may join you all for this momentous occasion.
The following is a list of Col. Cappello’s most professional crew who represent an organization entitled: Euro-Atlantic Initiative (EAI):
 
    Daniel Sunter, Executive Director


    Bojan T. Dragicevic, Executive Producer

    Zlatko Stojilovic, Film Director


    Tomo Vukadinovic, Camerman
 
Thank you and the wonderful Pittsburgh Serbs for the courtesies and generosities extended.


Cappello and Sunter, Executive Director of the film project, watch the screen as rescued airman, Clare Musgrove of St. Joseph, MI, USA, tells his story. (See other photos of Musgrove on the “General Draza Mihailovich & Operation Halyard” page of this same website.)

Clare Musgrove always says he is alive because of the courage and heroism of the Serbian
people and Chetnik forces.  His enthusiasm and memory of the rescue
are incredibly clear.


George Topich brought his poster of General Mihailovich and other photos of the great rescue produced by Mike Sudjevic years ago, to be signed by the  well-received presenters on   May 11, 2009!

+++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich brought along this old photo featuring Dave, USAF Ret. Col. Dick Felman, “Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, Medal of Honor recipient),”  USAF Ret. General Don Smith (one of the rescued airmen himself!), and Mike Sudjevic, whose late father was one of General Mihailovich’s Chetniks, and who has one of the greatest collections of memories of the rescued airmen on film and tape from years ago.


This framed photo was presented to John Cappello from Dave Vuich with the following inscription: “To an honorable and dedicated warrior, John Cappello.  Best wishes for continued success.”

John was a fighter pilot in just such an airplane as this B-1 bomber.

++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich and Col. Carl Walpusk at the home of Mike and Steffie Bozic after the presentation.  The Belgraders enjoyed the view of Pittsburgh lit up at night from atop of Mt. Washington.


Col. Cappello and Zarko with Pittsburgh Mt. Washington hostess, Steffie Bozic. Daniel Sunter in background.

Mike Bozic, retired executive businessman of several national companies, shows his guests his Serbian family history on the walls of his study, along with photos of Mike and his wife/family with many U.S. Presidents, famous sports figures, etc.


 Mike shows Tomo, Bojan and Daniel special photos of his family.  The delegation was pleased to see Mike’s grandfather’s gusle and other Serbian artifacts.  American Serbs are very proud of their Serbian heritage.

++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich from Washington, DC, was the first to arrive.


Daniel Sunter, Euro-American Initiative Executive Director of the Film Project OPERATION HALYARD.


In front of the Serbian Spruce.

Cappello, Stolijovic, Vukadinovic, Sunter, Dragicevic


 “Dobro Nam Dosli!”

++++++++++++++++++

Special patch created for OPERATION HALYARD project

 Special little booklet with a synopsis of the story, complete with historical photos and a DVD of some interviews conducted.

 (Click right hand corner of photo to enlarge.)  Text of book by USAF Lt. Col. John Cappello.  DVD by EAI Initiative.


 Col. Cappello with a Marine Contingent attending St. Sava’s Day activities at the school in Pranjani where the Marines distributed toys, books and supplies.

Draza (<---click here) & Operation Halyard....

OSS Nick Lalich & General Draza Mihailovich enjoy a special moment of friendship in 1944…..

At the age of 7 yeas old, I knew about the famous rescue of the 500+ American airmen by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks because my father, Milan Karlo, published Nick Lalich’s complete day-by-day diary in his magazine called American SERB LIFE in 1948.  The magazine was short-lived due to the money investment involved, but it served its purpose nobly, standing as a strong sentinel down through the years, a beacon of undisputed proof, no matter the attempts to hide the information from the American people, and indeed the world.

These two covers of the May and June 1948 issues featured St. George and Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich. Nick Lalich’s diary was published in a series of articles due to the length and wonderful photos included.

The articles were entitled:  “I Was With Mihailovich”

Here’s a close-up of the U.S. pilots sleeping in a loft.

Most of the time, the villagers gave the pilots their own beds, and the Serbs slept on the floor.  They fed the airmen even though there would be nothing left for themselves or their family members! The US fliers loved the Serbian villagers and couldn’t understand how America could have been so bamboozled by the English moles into supporting Tito instead of Mihailovich. 

The airman in the middle is Curtis (Bud) Diles, now of Dayton, Ohio.  This is his whole crew. Bud said recently in an interview in Ypsilanti, “My 15 grandchildren, my 3 Great-grandchildren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Serbs!  I may be old, and I may be forgetful, but I will never forget the man nor the Serbians who cared for me in 1944.”

*The photo ‘The Serbs have saved more than 600 American Fliers’ holds vivid memories for me. I learned of the photos existence fifty years later while visiting in Chicago. Obviously, all the fliers were exhausted and sound asleep in the photo. Having said that, obviously we did not know of the photographers presence. While in Chicago in 1993, I met the photographer, quite by accident. He was as much surprised to meet me as I was to meet him. His name?… J.B. Allin, who was attached to the Halyard Mission. This same photo appeared on page 49 in the November/December issue of Serb World, U.S.A.

“Nick” Lalich was a very good friend of mine in 1944 and continued to be a life-long friend until his recent death.

“The same photo has appeared in many publications during the past sixty years.

“However, I have never seen the men in the photo identified. I knew all of them, quite well.

“They were the enlisted men of my B-24 Liberator Bomber Crew, shot down by German anti-aircraft fire over Belgrade on Sept. 8, 1944. Only two of them are still living, including myself.

“Left to right in the photo, they are Howard Ford, ball turret gunner; Gerald Wagner, radio operator; Curt Diles, nose turret gunner; Rudolph Schmidt, Flight Engineer; and Leland Porter, tail gunner. One of our crew, James Barker, was captured by the Germans and spent the balance of the war as a German prisoner.

“The American Srbobran has published many of my articles over the past six decades.

“A faithful Serbian supporter,

Curt Diles
Dayton, Ohio
July 4, 2005

TIME Magazine had Chica Draza Mihailovich on the cover of their magazine and people around the world hailed the leader and his heroic resistance fighters in 1941, the FIRST to stand up to Hitler’s Germany.

My copy of the LIBERTY magazine from April 25, 1942.  “The Story of Draja  (Draza) Mihailovitch  (Mihailovic/Mihailovich) -Fighter for Freedom.”

 

The caption reads: “The headache: General Draja Mihailovitch, Yugoslav War Minister and Chetnik commander in chief.” (p.18-LIBERTY magazine)

A photo of some of the airmen with Nick Lalich  with hat.  Radioman  Arthur (“Jibby”)  Jibilian is  kneeling in light-colored jacket in front.  To Lalich’s right in a “sjakaca” hat is Bobby Marjanovich of Aliquippa, PA, who was studying for the priesthood in Belgrade, and was rescued by the Maksimovich Brothers singers when the unexpected bombing of the city by the Germans began.

 The ACRU & Medical Team.  Note George Musulin (3rd from left), hugging Nick Lalich in the back row.  The “Milosh Obilich-Kosovo 1389-1937” button from Wilmerding belonged to him! (See Kosovo page) Don’t ever let ANYONE ever steal your history! Pittsburgh’s Musulin was the person initially dropped behind the lines in charge of the Mission, replaced by Lalich. Jibby in the front middle.
Thanks to my cousin, Lou Astorino, I was able to secure this photo of George Musulin being on the 1938 Pirate (now Steelers) Football Team, working for Art Rooney before working for the OSS!  George is in the 2nd row from the top, next to the end on the right hand side.  George was replaced by Nick Lalich as the head person in charge of the Operation Halyard Mission, as he caught onto double-agent dealing English dirty spy tricks and they wanted him replaced.  
Read the book:  THE FORGOTTEN 500 to learn more!
 

Here’s Jibby at the Museum in Serbia, when a few of the remaining airmen visited there.  Many thanks to Jibby for sharing some photos!  To read more about the FORGOTTEN 500, order the book.  You’ll be glad you did!

Last mission out!  Back safely in Bari, Italy!  To the far right is George Vuynovich, who was born on Pittsburgh’s South Side right behind from where the American Serbian Club is now!  He graduated from Ambridge High School and was an SNF Stipendist in 1934.  He married a beautiful girl from Serbia while there.  To read more about how “George” led the mission to rescue the men, read the book!

Here’s Jibby in a May 10, 1999 paper: “I LOVE THE SERBS!”  And the Serbs love Jibby, too! He’s the last surviving member of the team that rescued the 512 airmen that was in Yugoslavia.  George Vuynovich, the officer in charge in Bari, Italy, lives in New York. Nick Petrovich, an 18-yr. old  guard with Chica Draza, lives in Mexico.

Former U.S. Airman Carl Walpusk and his lovely wife Virginia, with a statue of Draza Mihailovich, the man who saved him!

Debbie, Vangie, Jibby, Sam, Sue, Mim, 6/14/08, American Flag Day, Metcalf Field.  Serbian flag to acknowledge the contribution of the Serbs and Chetniks to the rescue of the 513 airmen.

Jibby is right in front of this photo, next to tall Captain Nick Lalich in this WWII photo.  Thanks, Jib! 

Thanks to Steve Crum, of the AOPA Flight Training School at Metcalf Field (TDC), and photographer for  the Toledo Television station, we have these  photos of Jibby and his special day!  Here’s Jibby in front of a C-47, like the kind used to rescue the U.S. airmen.  This plane was at the not-so-far away Yankee Air Museum.

  • Ready for take-off!
    The Truth About Draza Mihailovich!

  • Be sure to read about General Draza Mihailovich being honored in the U.S. Congress on the Helen Delich Bentley “page” found here on this website!  

    Mim Bizic

Who can believe the next events described here?  God bless the EAA #582 airmen from Metcalf Field in Toledo, Ohio!  The pilots, led by their President Bill Hilzel, gave of their time, treasures and talents.  They picked up several rescued airmen and me from various places around the USA and flew us to the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Monday, June 23, 2008, to meet Jibby and WTOL 11 reporter for Toledo’s News Leader, Jennifer Boresz.  It was an incredible experience!

Jibby and Clare are holding 2 different issues of my father’s magazine published in 1948 called AMERICAN SERB LIFE.  The day-by-day rescue of the airmen was documented in the diary of Nick Lalich that my father published in his short-lived publication due to monetary issues.  What a thrill it was for me to see them holding these!  It was living history at its best!

Remember the photo of the  airmen sleeping in a hay loft published in my father’s book up above?  The fellow in the middle is our Curtis (“Bud”) Diles shown here!  He wanted us to see the documentation he has on his Serb rescuers.  Bud has written many letters to the editors and has given several lectures on his debt of gratitude to the Serbian people, even during unpopular times.  He’s a true-blue friend!  Why?  He says his 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchldren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his Serb rescuers! 

Here’s a good story—-one day Bud’s grandson came home and showed a TIME-LIFE book he had taken out of his school library to his mother with a photo of the airmen in the hayloft.  Imagine his surprise when Theresa, his mother, replied, “That’s your Grandfather in the middle!”

Can you guess  how I felt being next to these great heroes?  I’ve “known” Jibby since I was 7 years old. And I met Bud and Clare before, but I didn’t know until THIS day, that Bud was the man in the haystack!  Bud had us on a role as he joked, “Every day we risked our lives running from the enemy and almost starving to death, and this photo of “sleeping on the job” is my legacy?”  That’s why we’re all smiling!

 “……..and here’s anothing thing,” Bud Diles tells Jennifer while Jibby is all ears……

Jibby wants to make sure he gets a “good shot!”

Goodbye, Yankee Air  Museum!  What a great time!
(Middle, far left, is where all the action took place!) 

What a scene to remember!

Jibby in front-back left to right- Bud Diles, Carl Walpusk and Clare Musgrave!

++++++++++++++++++

Here’s a bit from History!

Bud Diles’ daughter, Theresa, remembered that this picture appeared in a 1995 issue of the American SRBOBRAN.  Note the movie we all saw:  Chetniks, the Fighting Guerrillas! (<—-Read review)

Here’s another review by Carl Savich—

http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/098.shtm

Mike Sudjovic, from California (far right above photo) has been collecting information about Operation Halyard for years!  The U.S. airman, G. B. Allin, the photographer for Operation Halyard, left him all of his original photographs when he passed away.  Interestingly enough, Bud Diles met Allinn at a Conference one year, almost by accident!

+++++++++++++++++

And one of my favorite photos!  Jibby says to stay tuned for more!  It’s not over yet!  WOW!

UPDATE AGAIN! 

December 7, 2008, Toledo, OH

The 180th Fighting Wing, Air National Guard

Recognition of Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian

This is a copy of the email I just sent to the WWII National Museum Headquarters, informing them of this wonderful program:

Dear Friends at the WWII Memorial Museum, A Christmas Present for You, TOO! 

 
I want to let you know that on Dec. 7, 2008, the OPERATION HALYARD mission was finally brought to the fore on U.S. Government military soil.  The place was the 180th Fighter Wing of Ohio’s National Guard in Toledo, Ohio.

The whole auditorium was packed for a Congressional presentation to Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian, radio man for the famed mission that was only recently declassified, and a book called the FORGOTTEN 500 was written about it.

From there, things started to snowball.

A member of the EAA#582 (Experimental Aircraft Association) read the book and shared it with another pilot. They found out that the radioman, Jibby, lived close to them.
Why, being airmen and being interested in Aviation History all their lives, why……they asked themselves, why did they not know about this?  How, if this is the largest rescue from behind Nazi Germany occupied lines in Yugoslavia could this be covered up for so long?

They started to make things happen.  The Toledo BLADE and TV Station WTOL joined in as interested community partners.

The Toledo based EAA#582  had a “Fly-by” for Jibby on Flag Day, June 14, 2008, which also just happened to be Father’s Day week-end.
 
Here was an American Hero if there ever was one that no one knew about, who helped save all of these 512 airmen so they could come home and become fathers and grandfathers.
The role of the Serbs, the people who rescued, fed and defended the airmen with their lives was briefly mentioned there too, when I appeared with my father’s magazines from 1948 which I talk about later in this letter.  On the field were 512 American flags, each one representing an American flier who was rescued and came home.

Not even two weeks later, several of the rescued American fliers, including a fellow who lives by me, tail gunner Carl Walpusk, and I were flown to Ypsilanti Air Museum where the men were interviewed by TV reporter, Jennifer Boresz.
Those clips professionally done by WTOL can be found on their TV site and are so interesting to hear.

But this latest tribute was out of this world.  Something I could never imagine happening, did!  It took place on U.S. Government military soil and the secret hushed-up story was revealed to all present, including so many of our young American airmen and women.  A band played inspirational music at the beginning.

Bill Hirzel, President of the EAA gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation by Dan Weise, also from the EAA.  I then gave a presentation on behalf of the Serbs who rescued, fed, and guarded the airmen, sometimes at GREAT cost to themselves and the expense of their own lives.
 
Next, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur spoke, followed by U.S. Representative Robert Latta.  Marcy Kaptur and OHIO led the way in making sure the WWII Memorial was built in Washington, DC.  Bob Latta was EXCELLENT in explaining the details of the bombing mission over the Ploesti Oil fields as he’s a true military historian too.

Then Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner spoke and presented Jibby with an Ohio flag.
Maj Gen Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. did a great job, also, in explaining the mission, followed by Col. Mark Bartman, another excellent presentation explaining the connections of the base with the activities of the day.
 
Jibby himself finally spoke, refusing to sit in a chair.  He was excellent in his remarks and saying how we owed an apology and a great deal of thanks to the Serbian people for what they did.

Bill David and Brian Mahon from the EAA who worked so hard to bring this day to fruition also spoke briefly.  They recognized the organizational contributions of Capt. Gary Bentley from the 180th Fighter Wing for his tremendous efforts also.

Bill Hirzel recognized others in the crowd, including V. Rev. V. Sokolovich, retired priest from Cleveland, who showed a photo of his father as the Priest confessor to General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik troops.  His father was killed by the Communists a few days after the mock trial of Draza Mihailovich because he was with Draza.  Another American Serb, Dr. Ljubomir Vujovic, came in from New York, representing the Tesla Memorial Society and spoke about life with the Chetniks. Mr. Dushan Mandich, representative of the American Chetniks, was also present.

I want you to know that I knew about this famous rescue from the time I was seven years old.  My father published the complete diary of OSS Capt. Nick Lalich, the person in charge of this mission, word for word, in my dad’s short-lived magazine AMERICAN SERB LIFE in the May, June issues of 1948.  Nick, Jibby and George “Gov” Musulin were always my real-life heroes.  I was so happy when the book finally came out last year.  After 60 years of being hushed up!

Well, I was almost delirious with happiness on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008.  It was all so exciting! 
 
From Nick Lalich’s diary, I know that on Dec. 7, 1944, five more YANKS were brought into their camp for rescue. There was a lull of 3 days before another 10 airmen showed up.  Day after day they awaited the final rescue, and finally on Dec. 27, 1944, the remaining troops were flown “home” to Bari, Italy, and the welcoming arms of OSS coordinator George Vuynovich, who helped organize this fantastic rescue.

I just want to shout this from the highest rooftops!  
It was such a wonderful affair people present didn’t realize that the supposedly 1/2 hour presentation went on for 2 hours, because everyone loved it!

This is a part of WWII history, and I wanted you to be aware of it.

I’m enclosing a amateur (my FIRST imovie effort) video of the day for you to see for yourselves…….
 
 
Thank you!  Mim Bizic
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Here’s Brian McMahon of the EAA#582 with Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor.  Brian worked hard on this program because he and Jibby went to the same high school and Brian wanted to ensure Jibby’s place in history!  Brian told the TV stations that a movie is next!

Beautiful shot!  Bill David (EAA Newsletter Editor and so much more!) Brian McMahon in a WWII uniform from his brother’s collection, and EAA#582 President Bill Hirzel.  To the far right is EAA#582 Dan Weise who has become a real student of this operation, and our Honoree, Arthur Jibilian! They all worked so hard to make this affair a success!  And it was!

 What a great day!  12/7/08!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

News Flash! Jibby receives greetings from young fans in Australia!

Lenora (6.5), Doris (2) and Helena (8)

Drawing of the Halyard Mission by Helena & Lenora.  God bless these young ones!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jibby answers:

I received the drawing that you girls sent.  WOW…..I am impressed!!  Thank you so much.  I showed it to many people and they are talking about putting it in THE AMERICAN SRBOBRAN. Again, thank you…..you are all beautiful girls, and I know that your parents are proud of you.
 
Big hugs
Arthur

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s a wonderful editorial by Bob Chirdon from

TV Station WTOL about Jibby’s event.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogsite on General Draza Mihailovich 3/13/09 MKB

THE HALYARD MISSION

By Lt. Com. Richard M. Kelly, USNR

Blue Book Magazine Vol. 83, No. 4

August 1946
 

“The thing that impressed me most about the set-up was the truly amazing security of the Chetniks soldiers and peasants. The American airmen had been assembled from an area covering many thousands of square miles.

Thousands of people knew of their presence in the area. They had been brought together at great risk and at a high cost by the Chetniks.

Men had been tortured to death and villages destroyed, by the Germans in an effort to locate them.

These poor suffering people, who had been deserted by the American and British governments, and who were under merciless attack from both the Germans and Tito’s Partisans, would have received more money than they could ever dream of earning in their entire lives by tipping off the Germans to the presence of the Americans.

But in spite of all that, not one American was betrayed. Their sense of honor and secrecy for the welfare of their beloved Americans was so great that they never even discussed their presence among themselves. Without this heartshaking loyalty, our entire mission would have been fruitless, and not one airman would have had a chance to escape. “

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Look what happened to our EMMY Nominee:

Jennifer Boresz,

June 7, 2009! 

First Place Award

for BEST FEATURE REPORTING 2009

from the Ohio Associated Press for her story:

THE HEROES OF OPERATION HALYARD. 

We’re all excited for Jennifer and wish her many, many more well-deserved awards! 

Not only the people in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, OH are singing her praises, but the WHOLE USA & MORE! Congratulations, Jennifer Boresz and also to your whole WTOL team of Toledo, Ohio

Also kudos once again to the unselfish EAA#582 airmen who made sure all the rescued airmen, Jibby and Jen got to the Yankee Air Museum for the Interview!  And me too! I’m so glad Carl Walpusk and I got to witness this event FIRST HAND!

My little American/Serbian flags are now famous!

Mim xoxoxo  We Love you, Jen!

(See Jennifer Boresz is all the photos above at the Yankee Air Museum in 2008!)

 

Jen wrote in an email:

“This is my first time being nominated for an Emmy and I am thrilled that it is for this story. Thanks again for all of your help and congratulations!”

Here’s what Jibby had to say:

“Dear Jen, the story has now reached the heart of the nation.  Thank you, thank you, so much.
 
Jen, I had a feeling that you were destined for great accomplishments…..and you are proving me right.
 
Kudos to both of you and WTOL!!!!  You may be assured that we will all do our best to keep this story “live” until Mihailovich’s name is cleared and the Serbs receive recognition for their care of our boys.”
 
God bless,
Art

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rescued Airman Curtis Diles of Dayton, Ohio,

wrote to me about Jen:

“Tonight, June 5, 2009, when I opened my email, my PC monitor lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Even with Jennifer’s news of being nominated for an Emmy.  If those “Forgotten 500” Airmen were still among the living, she would be a “Shoe-In!” 

I must tell you my reaction to her nomination.

As a twelve year old in my home in Portsmouth, Oh, i was a newspaper carrier and was delighted every time to see a News Story so important it demanded an EXTRA EDITION. 

The EXTRA caused a lot of excitement for everyone and also meant more money in my pocket.

Today, I would like to see an EXTRA EDITION printed in every newspaper in our country with the message:

READ ALL ABOUT IT!  During WWII the AAF ACRU known as “Operation HALYARD” along with the former Serbian leader Draza Mihailovich rescued more than 500 Airmen from beneath the noses of the German enemy.

Perhaps Jennifer’s nomination will act as a catalyst for Col. John Cappello’s coming story about Halyard.

Also, I can’t help but think…. “If spirits can smile, Capt. Nick Lalich is leading the way!”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Update:  Jennifer can be seen in the train movie,

UNSTOPPABLE

 where she fittingly plays the role of a TV announcer (3rd one.)

Congratulations, Jen!  We’re all proud of you!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“I.M. Draza Mihailovich (Murdered July 16, 1946)

by L. Aaronson, British Poet (1917-1948)

Much thanks to David Vuich and Aleksandra Rebic for sharing this find with us.

Where are the thunderers who once could speak


The Language of the Prophets, when the weak


Were broken and the good oppressed? Where are those


Whose words were cleansing fire, till there arose


The phoenix-armies from the martyrs’ dust


To make the word the deed, oppose the lust


Of tyrants and proclaim the prophets true?


Where is the gratitude our fathers knew


And sanctuary and penance for wrong power?


Did Milton fail the martyrs, Gladstone cower


Before the ruthless? Was the public pen


Careful of epithet? And public men —


Were they afraid to say: “Alas we erred


And now confess our error. Let the word


Go out, perhaps to save a soul and save


Our souls“? Today the coward and the knave


Are kings. These are mean times. If it be doom,


Our tongues, at least, are free and there is room


For utterance that salves us if not saves.


Why should we ape the silence of graves?


And even these have epitaphs as tongues.


Since power is dumb before the powerful wrongs


Let one small voice salute the Serbian.


With shame at first, then prayer for that brave man.


L. Aaronson
July 1946

Covered Up for Years to Appease Tito and His Communists.

David Martin published his book ALLY BETRAYED in 1946, debunking WWII propaganda and dealing with international mysteries.  The book asks the crucial questions:

  1. Why did the Allied press which had made a great hero of Mihailovich as a resister of Axis invaders of Jugoslavia begin to play him down after 1942?
  2. What was Tito’s past? And where was the radio station located that heralded his appearance in Yugoslavia?
  3. What decision was reached at Teheran with respect to Tito and Mihailovich?
  4. How was the ALLIED military intelligence about Jugoslavia falsified?
  5. Why did Churchill say of Jugoslavia, “I was deceived and badly informed.”

David Martin was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1914.  Before the war he wrote on Canadian affairs for Current History, The Nation, The New Republic, the New Leader and other journals.  He joined the Canadian Air Force in October, 1942, became a pilot and flew on the Burmese frontier, being Honorably discharged in 1946.

David Martin devoted his entire life to defending the truth and Mihailovich.

In his 1990 book THE WEB OF DISINFORMATION: CHURCHILL’S YUGOSLAV BLUNDER, David Martin fully uncovered the tragic tale “found in secret British files that were only recenty and inadvertently declassified.  He reveals that Churchill and others were deceived- by Communist moles and sypathizers who had infiltrated the military intelligence services.  The prime mover was the famous Cambridge spy set that included Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Macclean and “Sir” Anthony Blunt.  Martin names the “Fifth Man”: James Klugman, most brilliant mole of them all.”

The National Geographic TRAVELER magazine of March 2005 says Blunt’s exposure in 1979 as a Soviet spy, after being knighted in 1956 and appointed art adviser to the Queen, was a major embarrassment to the Crown.

The book flap description of the book THE PHILBY CONSPIRACY (1968) by Bruce Page, David Leitch and Phillip Knightley, states: “That a son of the British establishment could, during a thrity year career in his country’s secret service, at the same time be a dedicated Communist agent would seem too far-fetched even for fiction.

“And yet, Kim Philby, like those almost unbelievable spies Burgess and Maclean, IS real and his story is true. He was the link-man between the British service and the American Central Intelligence Agency from which position he was able to betray EVERY most important secret of Western intelligence.

“Stupid, credulous, smug and torpid as the Establishment may have been, it erred on the side of trust.” (John LeCarre, Foreward.)

++++++++++++++++++

I remember attending a 1991 Conference in Toronto entitled “Serbia: The Ally that Lost.” David Martin was one of the four main speakers. By this time, the distinguished journalist, political analyst and staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee suffered badly from Parkinson’s disease and could hardly stand, shaking badly.  His wife, Virginia, sitting next to him, offered to read his speech.  He declined.  Writhing in pain as he stood, he threw his shoulders back and proclaimed that he OWED it to the Serbs and Draza Mihailovich to read it himself! 

“Vejcnaja Pamjat” to a wonderful man!

Airmen rally for Mihailovich

These “Yanks” above were showing their gratitude at the Stevens Hotel rally: John Scroggs of Kansas City, Robert Eckman, David O’Connell, Don Parkerson, John Fox, Peoria; Capt. Nick Lalich, Cleveland; Fred Zuecher, Milwaukee; William Rogers, Manteno; Thomas Pettigrew, David Labissoniers, Milwaukee; Del Salmon, Charles Cracz, Neal Janosky, Milwaukee.

+++++++++++++++ 

Charles Gracz who then lived on 1411 N. Bosworth Avenue, was quoted in the Chicago HERALD AMERICAN on Thursday April 4, 1946 as saying, “If ever there was anyone loyal to the highest American traditions, it is General Mihailovich and his Chetniks.

+++++++++++++++ 

The Evening Star, Wash, DC 4/29/1946

“The 20 United States fliers were accompanied by wo Canadian veterans.  They represent 600 airmen rescued by Mihailovich’s forces. 

+++++++++++++++ 

Donald Parkerson, Chicago Vet and his wife check out his Chetnik shoe, grateful to be home, thanks to the Serbs!

+++++++++++++++++ 

Oaklander Ex-Lieutenant Allen Carrico helped wreck the German Supply Train with the Chetniks and more! (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/29/1946.

++++++++++++++++ 

“I’m alive today because of Mihailovich,” former flier David J. O’Connell, Jr, age 24.

“When briefed, we were told to expect Marshall Tito’s men to help, instead, it was General Mihailovich’s men who saved them and kept them under cover, moving them from village to village and finally assembling the group to carve out an air strip.”

+++++++++++++++ 

The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph on April 3, 1946 reported in the paper how BOTH these Pennsylvania State Troopers were rescued by Mihailovich and his Chetniks:

Virginia Walpush remembered the story and quickly found it for me in a book of the gathered stories of the Airmen.  “Here,” she said.  Here’s your U.S. B-24 Pilot Paul Mato and his waist gunner, Carl Walpusk!”

 Thank you, Jibby, on behalf of ALL of us!

Here’s looking at  super  American-Serb History!

Jibby always  looks out for the Serbs!  I’ve heard him personally tell about the debt of gratitude America owes the Serbs MANY times myself during Interviews and talks with non-Serbs.  He’s a true friend!

++++++++++++ 

June 23, 2008

Yankee Air Museum

Here’s Jennifer interviewing Carl  Walpusk, Jibby,  Clare Musgrave and Curt (Bud) Diles, 3 of the 512 airmen rescued by the OSS team where Jibby was the radioman!  They’re shown here in front of a C-47, the type of aircraft that took the American airmen back home!

Nick Petrovich, 18 yr. old guard! 

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Mim’s Trophy:

One of the 512 American Flags (each representing an American Airman rescued in Operation Halyarad) – Metcalf Airfield in Toledo- that was in the field behind the podium.  The flag from Jibby was for the American Airman in Mim’s hometown rescued by Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks, and the OSS: Carl Walpusk! Read more about Carl above!

Flag for Carl from Jibby!   Photo by Savo Subotich who I met that day for the first time!

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 This incredible interview was aired so appropriately on July 4, 2008, on the 5:00 PM  news KTOL-TV. 

Jennifer Boresz and the cameraman and all the people at the Yankee Air Museum were wonderful to all of us!

Jennifer,  Jibby and the Airmen: Carl, Bud and Clare!To see and hear this historical interview, click on this site below.  You are in for a real PATRIOTIC treat!

 http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=862

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Oh, our Jennifer, our Jennifer!

 Here’s her BLOG about that day in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

God bless her!

The Serbs love YOU, too, Jen!

http://www.toledo11.com/blogs/index.php?blog=19&title=the_heroes_of_operation_halyard&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 

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I was happy to see the Serbs getting some long overdue credit. Hopefully this will be the start of something.

Rade V., Pittsburgh 

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Update!  9/18/08 MKB

41 Ohio National Guardsmen receive traditional Serbian welcome of bread & salt, Sept. 62008 at Pranjani!

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One of the greatest pleasures I had while on my recent trip to Serbia was meeting Lt. Col. John Cappello, USAF Air Attache´, his wife, and members of his staff at the home of Ms. Jennifer Brush, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the USA in Belgrade. 

There, I was able to present him with a copy of the American SRBOBRAN, that featured 4 pages of the Tribute to OSS Radioman, Arthur Jibilian, in Toledo, Ohio that I had written up, along with the guest reporter, Jennifer Boresz, of WTOL.  It was Jennifer who interviewed several of the rescued airmen in Ypsilanti, Michigan for her TV station.

Being in the Air Force, Lt. Col. Cappello immediately recognized the importance of Operation Halyard and is currently working on several projects (Museum/Library, etc.) to help the Serbs from that area as a   “Thank You”   for their sacrifices.

  He also helped organize the following event!

On September 6, 41 members of the Ohio National Guard participated in the U.S. – Serbia State Partnership Program, arriving in Serbia on an Ohio Air National Guard aircraft. The Ohio delegation included members of the Ohio National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, the Ohio Air National Guard, and Senior Non Commissioned Officers from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard. The Guardsmen met their counterparts from the Serbian Armed Forces and participated in joint activities, including an exercise that simulates the support by military forces to a municipality following a natural disaster.

The joint exchanges provided the opportunity to share information between personnel of the Serbian military and the Ohio National Guard and to develop future opportunities for ongoing State Partnership Program activities.


On September 7th, the delegation had the honor to commemorate the historical military cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia during World War II and visit the village of Pranjani, the location of the Halyard Mission.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, also accompanied the delegation.

Operation Halyard:

“During the summer of 1944 approximately 1, 000 U.S. airmen bailed out over German-occupied Yugoslavia, a significant number of them landing in Serbia. In a series of daylight and night airlifts, a team made up of troops of General Mihailovic’s Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) evacuated over 300 U.S. airmen from the village of Pranjani. The rescue of the U.S. airmen involved small unit actions against German troops and put at risk entire Serb villages that sheltered the U.S. personnel. U.S. airmen bear testimony to the significant sacrifices of local Serb villagers who fed, cared for and protected them, in some cases up to six months.”

The Halyard Mission is considered one of the greatest rescues of American airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare.


Thank you, Col. Cappello!

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December 7, 2008

Photos from Toledo, OHIO

Jibby receives WWII framed poster from U.S. Cong. Marcy Kaptur, who, along with her fellow Ohioans led the way for the memorial to be builtIn the background is her Congressional Aide, Dan Foote.
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Oh, the excitement with Dan and the Military Band Members! 

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The Sokolovich family had a story to share. V.Rev.Fr. V. Sokolovich’s father was Priest Confessor to General Draza Mihailovich.  He was killed a few days after Draza’s mock trail for his beliefs. 

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And here is the Man of the Hour being interviewed-Arthur Jibilian. Sitting next to him is his wife, Jo. 

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Bob Chirdon is the General Manager of WTOL. He gave an excellent editorial on TV and you can hear it here below.  Tremendous job!  we were all so grateful for this!

 Fremont Veteran to get Congressional Award

and here’s the actual

WTOL coverage of the Event

In this film above, Brian McMahon, the organizer of this event, says the next step is to make a movie and his top choices for the film are Harrison Ford, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise!

You’ll see how Brian and Jibby went to the same High School, hence his initial interest! 

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U.S. Congressman Bob Latta was VERY impressive with his knowledge of the importance of the Ploesti Oil Fields to the Allied success and his ability to explain the mission so well.

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Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner brought an Ohio flag for Jibby.  It was great to learn that Teresa was a former teacher.  

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Here’s Maj. Gen. Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. giving yet another award to Jibby.

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Fr. Sokolovich’s father, who was one of the 40 priests made saints after being killed for being with the Chetniks.

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Bless this young Guardsman. She said, “I want to be just like you and have all the vim and energy you do when I get to be your age!”

And I want to have Jibby’s energy and mind at HIS age!

We ALL had a good time!

I LOVE OHIO!

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AUSTRALIA KNOWS TOO!

Here’s a brief explanation from Helena’s, Lenora’s and Doris’ dad about the card to Jibby:

My name is Dragan R. and my wife’s name is Tihana. I was born in Sydney but lived in Serbia (Village called Cestereg) since I was six month old baby. I came back to Australia when I was 23 years old. My wife Tihana lost everything in a War. She was born in Hodbina, village near Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’re both Serbians and we celebrate St.Nicholas as our “Slava”(Family saint). Our daughter’s names are Greek’s origin in respect to the people(Greeks) who helped Serbia through the most difficult times in recent history.
 
As I said, I grew up in a Serbia (it was Yugoslavia then) and we as kids learned that Chetniks were on German’s side in the second World War and that Partisans were the only good ones. I always loved history at school, l and I’ve started to read the books here and I couldn’t believe what I’ve found during my research. It made me angry to find out that I’ve been brainwashed all my life. The biggest proof of all was to see how Chetniks proudly marching with our allies every Anzac day here in Australia.  Sadly, most of the brainwashed Serbian people are so ignorant and lazy to do research on their own and they still believe what they’ve been told as a kids.
 
During my research on the internet I came up on some articles by Aleksandra Rebic and Julia Gorin about “Halyard Mission”. I read all the articles about it and I was so proud of my people who risked and sacrificed their lives to save all those pilots. On Julia’s web site I’ve found the article about Arthur Jibilian and I’ve asked if she could give me his email address. As we all know Arthur, he was very happy to answer all my questions and inquiries about “Halyard Mission”. He even sent me all his photographs and letters from that time. To be honest, before I’ve get to know Arthur and Julia I was very angry at American people for what they did to us but then I’ve realized that true Americans are people like Arthur and his family, Julia and all those honest and brave American pilots who fought for the truth all those years. Thanks to them, my kids will grow up with love and respect, not with hatred.
 
I’ve told my daughters story about “Halyard Mission” and asked them if they can draw a Christmas card for Arthur. They come up with very cute drawing, and I’m very happy that Arthur liked it so much. I didn’t have that privilege to meet Arthur in person but I feel like I’d know him all my life. I’m very honored to call him a friend and I hope that I can fulfill my promise and make the film about “Halyard Mission”.
 Merry Christmas/ Happy New Year!

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 Update:  November 18, 2010


Look for this January 1, 2011 issue of Air & Space

SMITHSONIAN Magazine

to find more info on General Draza Mihailovich, his Serbian Chetniks, and the 500 rescued Airmen in an article entitled:

THE GREAT ESCAPE

by Phil Scott,

pp. 52-59.

“For U.S. airmen trapped in Yugoslavia during World War II, building a secret airstrip was their only way out.”

Thank you to Caroline Sheen and Roger Mola and of course author Phil Scott, of the Air & Space Magazine, but also to the photo contributors:

Lt. Col. John Cappello,

Ted Connolly

Debi Jibilian

Aleksandra Rebic

 and Mim Bizic

Here’s the link to the magazine’s website that features the article:

http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/The-Great-Escape.html

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George Vujnovich in 2004, in Serbia.  On Oct. 17, 2010, George Vujnovich was recognized by the U.S. Government with the BRONZE STAR for all of his efforts in rescuing the 500+ U.S. Airmen from his post in Bari, Italy.


Capt. Vujnovich’s daughter, Xenia, speaking about her Dad at the award ceremonies in NYC on Oct. 17, 2010.

To view the image larger, just click the bottom right hand corner of the photo above.

October 13, 2015:

NEW YouTube Documentary on the Life of George Vujnovic and the Heroic Rescue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

Be sure to see this! <3

Called: “The Last Hero of the Halyard Mission.”

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Click on the lower right hand side of this image to read all about Milton Friend going to Serbia to testify about General Draza Mihailovich.


From the TEMPLE Daily Telegram, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

AIRMAN SEEKS JUSTICE FOR LASTE SERB GENERAL

Belgrade, Serbia (AP)

An American whose U.S. Air Force bomber was shot down over the Balkans during WWII is on a new mission in the region:  Correct a historic injustice against a former Serb guerrilla leader.

In the summer of 1944, Lt. Col. Milton Friend’s B-24 Liberator was downed by German fighter planes over central Serbia.  He said Gen. Draza Mihailovich saved his life in the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines during a war.

The former Air Force navigator, 88, is to testify at a Belgrade court today at a hearing to exonerate the Serb general whom Yugoslav communists sentenced as a Nazi collabor and executed in 1946.

“Mihailovich was “not a villian, but a hero!” Friend said Thursday.

About 500 U.S. pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbian between 1942 and 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Adolf Hitler’s oil fields in Romania, according to U.S. Government field station files.

Along with the Americans, some 100 British, French and Canadian airmen also were saved in the rescue operation.

Friend said the airmen were hidden in villages by Serbian guerrilla fighters, known as Chetniks, were were led by Mihailovich.  The prewar military officer launched the first Balkan resistance against the Nazis in 1941.

(Read the complete article by clicking on the photo image of the article above.)

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UPDATE:  Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for this post about the 71st Anniversary Celebration of the Rescue Mission that took place

September 25, 2015:

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2015/10/halyard-mission-71st-anniversary.html

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 New Documentary onGeorge Vujnovic on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

More @ Draza Mihailovich:

Going through some saved American SRBOBRANS, I found this interesting piece republished on July 17, 1996, p. 9:  In Memory of General Draza Mihailovich, by Jake Allex Mandusich, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee……

 

Chicago, July 20, 1946

TO:  Col. E. C. Lapping, Managing Editor of the Chicago Herald-American, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Sir:

    This is a letter of thanks to your great publisher, Hon. William Randolph Hearst, to you and your great newspaper, The Chicago Herald-American, for the stand taken in behalf of Yugoslavia’s new martyr, General Draza Mihailovich.

    He was lynched (Wednesday) July 17, (1946) by Tito and his Communist followers, as your paper indicated on its editorial page Saturday, July 20.  This editorial, defending the rights of Gneral Mihailovich and showing how our government failed in saving him, will be a historic document in the eyes of all freedom loving Yugoslavs, who are still fighting and praying to oust the Communist aggressors from their homeland.

    I am writing this letter as a citizen of the United States and for which I fought in WWI as a sergeant in the United States Army.  For my services, my country of adoption bestowed on me the Congressional Medal of Honor.  I also received all the allied decorations of the last war.

    But I am writing this letter also because of the death of Gen. Mihailovich reached me right at home and in my heart.

    Here’s the reason.  My brother, Dushan, fought side-by-side with Gen. Mihailovich, and my blood-brother was killed as a Chetnik when he was tossing hand grenades at Nazi tanks invading my beloved former homeland.

    Also, my two nephews died fighting against the Nazis.  And because of this, and because my relatives in Yugoslavia refused to recognize the Communist rule, Tito took away their rights of citizenship.

    I felt that when Tito sentenced Gen. Mihailovich, he also sentenced my brother, Dushan, who lost his life fighting all the Nazis.  Was my brother guilty and all the American boys who fought the Nazis across the sea?

    The day General Mihilovich was executed by Tito’s forces will go down in Yugoslavia’s history as a day of ignominy, a day that will never be forgotten by those who are fighting for freedom in Yugoslavia.

    It’s too bad that our government did not listen to Mr. Hearst’s warnings.  Perhaps if our government had insisted and had warned Tito to give Gen. Mihailovich a fair trial, Gen. Mihailovich would have been living today.

    All we Serbs–we Americans of Serbian ancestry– beg now, after Mihailovich’s death, to at least give the people of Yugoslavia a fair chance to choose their own government under the provisions of the Atlantic Charter and the San Francisco Charter.

    And we also wish to know why doesn’t our government find out why Tito’s forces are not persecuting and punishing (as they did General Mihailovich), the Ustashi and their leader, Ante Pavelic, who killed thousands of innocent people in Yugoslavia and were backed by Hitler and Mussolini?

    Keep up the good fight for freedom and justice to all peoples of the world, Mr. Hearst! 

                                     Jake Allex Mandusich


This photo is from the site of the Home of Heroes.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/states/pages_af/allex_jake.html 

     Click on the above site to read more.

     

 

In his report to the Christian Science Monitor on April 21, 1941, R. H. Markham wrote: 

“The Serbs are the kind of people who succumb fighting and not fawning.  They first met the invading Turk in the fourteenth century.  They first defied Sultanic masters in the nineteenth century.  They, first of all southeast European people-except the Greeks-refused supinely to place their heads in Nazi yokes.  As the centuries pass, the Serbs will sing of this defiance.  All succeeding generations will rejoice that their fathers in 1941 dared defy oppressors.  And men who love freedom, during all the coming ages, will think of the Serbs as they do of the Spartans at Thermopylae.  Let him who knows whether Socrates was wise in not running away, say whether the Serbs were wise in refusing to say ‘Heil Hitler.’”

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 Poster Print made by Mike Sujdovic
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Drazin Duh Govori:  Draza’s Soul Speaks
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One of the BEST books written on the subject!
This one was given to Milan Karlo by Nick Lalich, who is featured prominently in the book, published 1968.
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This photo from the SRBOBRAN highlights a portion of the HALYARD MISSION EXHIBIT that was on display at the Serbian Heritage Museum in Windsor, Canada, featuring items from the Gacesa/Bizic collections and more.  It was put together by Museum Director, Dr. Stanislava Markovich and her assistant, Mrs. Svetlana Miskovic. 
 
The first photo’s caption said: “An article on the rescue appeared in the March 26, 1946 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The paper states:  ‘So finally, the 15th Air Force sent Lt. Musulin and Capt. Lalich to contact Gen. Mihailovich.  They parachuted into Yugoslavia.  Gen. Mihailovich at once sent out word for the American flyers to be brought in.  They came afoot, in carts, any old way.  With the help of Mihailovich and 1,000 of his people, an air strip was built in seven days and seven nights.  And in the first 12 hours, 288 American airmen were flown back to their own lines—not to mention Italians, Frenchmen and Russians.”  (The rescue continued much longer.)
 
Another part of the article talks about the frightful Nazi reprisals.  “Every time a German was killed, 100 Yugoslavs (Serbs) died.  In one town alone, Kragujevac in Serbia, 3,600 men, women and children were slaughtered.” 
 
Also on display at the museum at the time, were notecards made from children’s art from the Srpska Krajina and Republic of Srpska on loan from the New York Belgrade Society.  The museum was selling postcards of selected scenes from the exhibit for a donation of $10.00 plus postage.  This was one way we tried to help our Serbian children whose needs were all but forgotten by the rest of the world.
 
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Dorothy Paunovich’s Family Photos
Sent:  9/8/08 
 

Serbian Chetniks under the command of Capt. Zvonko Vuckovich.  2nd from left, top row-Donald J. Smith, American airman; Top row, man touching his hair-Charlie Davis, American airman; Kneeling, 3rd from left, Mihailo Paunovich, Chetnik. 
 

Mihailo Paunovich and 2 others at Flight School.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Mihailo and his Flight Instructor  
Mihailo and his daughter, Eleanore, then Captain  (now Colonel) in the U.S. Air Force!
 
Update:  4.23.09  Going through some old papers, I found that U.S. General Donald Smith, the airman rescued by Col. Eleanore Paunovich’s father in 1944, was an Honorary Guard at the Funeral of King Peter II in Libertyville, IL.  Supposedly, King Peter II was the first Monarch buried on U.S. soil.
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CHECK OUT THE LATEST ON THE RESCUE MISSION!
Escondido, California
THE PAPER by editor Lyle E. Davis
 

Thank you, Mr. Lyle E. Davis!
 
 
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Here’s a wonderful WWII website from the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will get you into the “feel” of WWII with the sirens, codes, quizzes, and so much more.  This is using technology in a wonderful way to teach students more about math, science and history!
 


If you like codes, you’ll find a great one here to help stump your friends!  It’s a fun learning experience! I liked venturing into the Photography “Dark Room” and listening to WWII questions on the “Radio.”

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From Aleksandra Rebic, who got the info from Mirko Blesich, who found the article in Major Borislav J. Todorovich’s book called “A Forgotten Army.”

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2010/11/forgotten-army-of-mihailovich-us.html

Honorable Hugh Butler before the U.S. Senate
February 12, 1945
 

U.S. Senator from Nebraska 1941-1954
 
“There is no blinking at the fact that a state of civil war exists in Yugoslavia. That gallant land which was the first in southeastern Europe to challenge the monstrous power of Hitler’s war machine is now torn in two camps. There is the Communist domain, ruled over by Tito who has just refused the requests of the British and American Governments to allow British and American correspondents to see for themselves what is going on there. And there is the camp of Mihailovich, who is pleading for Allied missions and press representatives to come and see for themselves what he and his people stand for.

“Above all, we owe it to the American people to let them know what the 500 American airmen have found out, what has long been known but buried in certain high bureaus in Washington, namely, that in southern Europe there stands ready an army of over 300,000 men, eager to join the fight against the common enemy and to shorten the war, if only we would give them guns and ammunition and perhaps some food rations. And let us remember that THIS FORGOTTEN ARMY is fighting not for communism, but for self-government and for freedom.”
 
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Here is the Hearst Newspapers Editorial of March 29, 1946

    “A shameful betrayal.  If the United States Government does less than its utmost to prevent the planned murder of Gen. Draja (Draza) Mihailovich by Tito’s Communists, it will have committed an act of betrayal that the American people will have to remember with shame forever….. General Mihailovich was our firend and ally….Mihailovich’s only offense is that he resisted communist Russia in defense of our country’s freedom.”

Click to read more about William Randolph Hearst, to whom Jake Allex Mandusich wrote on the Wikipedia site below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst 

 

Ally Betrayed

Hold to your cause with God, and the people will hold to that cause because it means freedom, and without freedom a man is better dead.”

Draza Mihailovich 

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Hitler called the spontaneous uprising of the Serbs against the Germans “primitive simplicity of their minds.”  Leigh White, author of The Long Balkan Night (1946) spoke in New York in Freedom House, October 23, 1942:

  “Hitler was right, but not in quite the sense he intended.  They still retain the primitive virtues and the simple dignity which many of the more sophisticated peoples have lost; people who were not too civilized to quibble over the price of their national honor, who were not too civilized to have fought against the German and Italian aggressors even though they knew they could never win.  At one time, I wondered if Yugoslavia’s national honor, if any country’s honor, could possibly be worth the price the Yugoslavs so willingly paid.  Like most people, I’ve done a lot of thinking in the last year or two.  And it’s taken me a year to understand what the peasants of Yugoslavia understood instinctively; that national honor has no price; that it cannot be measured in terms of any currency, even the currency of blood.  The lesson of Yugoslavia is simply this: that there are many things worse than death; that many times it is preferable to die;  and that it is always preferable to die than compromise the national honor.”

    Quoting David Martin:  “At one stroke the revolution of March 27 disrupted Germany’s economic hinterland, invalidated her dispositions, disorganized her timetable and destroyed the myth of the Nazi New Order.  And, what is perhaps most important, the example of this small nation defying the might of the unconquered Wehrmacht—preferring all of the horrors of war and subjugation to the loss of its spiritual freedom—did more than anything else up until that time to inspire the conquered peoples of Europe to resist.

    “Instead of incorporating Yugoslavia peacefully into the New Order, Nazis were compelled to deal with it as an enemy nation.  Instead of adding to their reserves of available manpower, they were compelled to divert thirty-three divisions for the conquest of Yugoslavia and to maintain an army of occupation that included eight or nine German divisions and a somewhat larger number of satellite divisions.  Instead of launching their attack on Russia in mid-May, as soon as the roads had hardened, they were compelled to postpone it for almost five whole weeks of the strategically priceless dry weather season.”

    “The Germans were able to overcome the Yugoslav army in twelve days,” he continued.  “But the revolution of March 27 may have cost them the war.”

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Read the tribute Alexandra Rebic wrote in Sloboda’s LIBERTY magazine (the Official Publication of the Serbian National Defense Council in America) in their July 25, 2000 edition, in memory of the famed General.

http://www.snd-us.com/Liberty/sm_1774.htm 

 

Read what HistoryNet-supposedly the World’s Largest History Magazine publisher-said about the Rescue  Behind Enemy Lines here:

http://www.historynet.com/rescue-behind-enemy-lines.htm/5 

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 Arthur Jibilian, the OSS radioman who helped rescue 513 U.S. Airman saved by the Serbs,  remembers sitting around the campfires at night with the Chetniks and Draza Mihailovich and the U.S. airmen singing this song before they got picked up from behind German-occupied enemy lines. 

Jibby said he never did learn what it meant, but always enjoyed singing it.  Milan Opacich translated this for us:

OKO NAS SU ZGARISTA PUSTA
( Around us are the burned and forsaken)
I ZIDOVI CRNI I SIVI
(With walls that are black and gray)

Chorus: OVU PESMU IZ NASIH USTA
(This song out of our mouths)
PEVAJU MRTVI NE ZIVI
(Sing the dead not the living)

A SAD BRACO PUNIMO CASE
(And now brothers we fill up the glasses)
DA U BLAZIMO SMRTI GORCINU
(So that we can spite death’s bitterness)

Chorus: URA ZA CETNIKE NASE
(Hooray for our Chetniks)
KOJI CE SUTRA DA GINU
(Who tomorrow will die)

U BOJ POLAZIMO SMELO
(Into the battle we go daringly)
DA OSVETIMO BRACU SVOJU
(To get revenge for our brothers)

Chorus: JER KOD KUCE OSTAJU ONI
(Because those left at home are only)
KOJI SE SMRTI BOJE
(Those who are afraid of death)

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Dorothy Paunovich of St. Sava’s in Merrillville, wrote: “My father-in-law, Mihailo Paunovich, was a Chetnik involved in the rescue efforts.  He became close friends with a Charlie Davis and a Donald Smith, but after they said their good-byes, he never knew what happened to them, until he was listening to a radio advertisement for an upcoming Vidovdan program in Chicago in the early 1970’s.  He heard that a General Donald F. Smith was going to be the main speaker and that caught his attention. He didn’t think it could be the one he had taken care of, but asked his daughter to call to O’Hare and ask if this Donald Smith was shot down and taken care of, and saved by Serbian Chetniks.  When the secretary responded with a “Yes,” Mihailo said, “Put that S.O.B. on the phone!” as he grabbed the phone from his daughter.  They both cried tears of joy and found out that they lived only about 60 miles from each other.  Maj. Gen. Donald Smith lived in Arlighton Heights, IL, and Mihailo lived in Crown Point, IN.  The very next Sunday, we enjoyed a Serbian feast at my father-in-law’s home.  Gen. Smith was stationed at O’Hare, in charge of the Illinois Air National Guard, and Mihailo was a successful business man, owning a Shell Gas Station in Gary.  The two kept in close touch, enjoyed many meals together, Slavas, weddings, etc. until illness set in.

Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich, General Donald J. Smith, and Mihailo Paunovich.
 
Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and Donald Smith. 

Finding each other after 30 years! Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and (American General!) Donald Smith!
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General  Daniel (“Chappie”) James and Mihailo at NORAD.
 
Read about the VERY famous
General Daniel Chappie James, Jr.  by clicking the link above.  He was the FIRST African American promoted to the rank of 4 Star General. 
He was another of the famous Tuskeegee Air Men.
The Tuskeegee Airmen were said to have flown cover for the planes that came in and rescued the airmen in Operation Halyard.
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 Most of us are familiar with the TIME magazine cover with General Draza Mihailovich, but here are two more sites to check out, courtesy of our Patty Martinovich (formerly of Chicago) in Vancouver:
 
 
 
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Open letter—April 9, 1999
To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia

“We Found Out The Truth About the Serbs…When We Were Shot Down”
World War II Rescued American Airmen Defend Serbs

By +Richard L. Felman
 
(from Aleksandra Rebic’s blogsite, see below)


(from Over 500 MlAs Saved By The Serbian People During WWII

During World War II, we were in the Army Air Corps list as “Missing in Action” in the very same area you are now serving.  If we may, we would like to relay to you a frank, soldier-to-soldier message about our personal experience while there—something which politicians who sent you there have not told you and something which you have not read or seen in the anti-Serb media.

In 1944, the members of our committee were flying bombing missions out of Italy over Southern Europe.  During that time over 500 of us were shot down over enemy-occupied Yugoslavia and saved from certain death by the Serbian people.  Ours was the greatest rescue of American lives from behind enemy lines in history but has been kept under wraps all these years because of pressure from foreign sources. [Emphasis added]

While we were there, those of us who were wounded were given whatever medical supplies they had even at the deprivation of their own troops.   If there was one piece of bread in the house, or one egg, it went to the American airmen while the Serb went hungry.

If there was one bed or one blanket, it went to us while the Serb slept on the bare ground.  No risk of sacrifice was too great to insure our safety and well being.  One experience which is forever seared in my memory is the time a village with 200 women and children was burned to the ground by the Germans because the Serbs would not tell them where they were hiding us.  To this day, I can smell the terrible stench of their burning flesh.  One does not forget such things.

The most incredible part of our rescue was that before each mission, our bomber crews were briefed by the highest levels of American intelligence that if shot down over Yugoslavia, we were to stay away from the Serbian people as they were collaborating with the Germans and “cutting off the ears of American airmen” before turning them over. Only after we were shot down did we find out the amazing thoroughness with which the truth about the Serbs was being distorted. [Emphasis added]

Further compounding this deception is the fact that while the Serbs were our allies in WWII, Croatians and Muslims (who we are favoring today) were allies of the Nazis, shooting at us and responsible for killing many of our fellow American fliers.  In view of the lies we were told about the Serbs during World War II, we could not help but wonder if our foreign policy there today is the same anti-Serb bias we encountered 52 years ago.

Could our career diplomats sacrifice former friends and reward former enemies in the name of political expediency?  Could it be because in the world community there are over one billion Muslims and only 9 million Serbian Orthodox Christians with the same proportionate power in the global economy?  Could it be because the Serbs have no oil wells and no unlimited oil money?

Could it be because the Croatians and Muslims outspend the Serbs 50 to one on lobbyists, media firms and campaign contributions?  Could this be why, “atrocities” are manufactured to make the Serbs look bad while gaining sympathy for their opponents?  Could this be why the Serbs are branded “aggressors” in land they have lived on for over 600 years?

Could our policy have something to do with the fact there are 540 members of Congress, none of whom are Orthodox Christians?  Could the State Department’s bitter bias, against General Draza Mihailovich, the anti-Communist guerrilla leader who saved us, be based on the fact he was a Serb?

Could these be the reasons the State Department has covered up the truth of our rescue all these years and opposed our petition to express   gratitude for saving over 500 American lives (a petition which is supported by the 8 million veterans of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign  Wars and the Air Force Association and which has been approved by the United States Senate.)?

Could it be these are the reasons the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has also denied our petition by saying to us here are “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” who oppose it?

Are we mad?  You can bet your next month’s paycheck that we are mad!  We did not leave our families, risk our lives and watch our buddies get their arms, legs and heads blown off so that “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” could tell us what we could or could not do in our own country.

Now that the spring thaw has set in, temperatures and tempers will start to rise in the volatile area you now find yourselves.  All we ask is that in your dealings with the local people you be made aware of the eyewitness experience of your fellow comrades-in-arms.  By speaking out now we have nothing to gain except a burning moral passion to tell the truth, a sworn duty to protect our national honor, a patriotic desire to express heart felt gratitude to those on foreign soil who save American lives while they are fighting in defense of our glorious country.

Now that you have been sent to foreign soil and asked to risk your lives we feel you should know the truth and not be “suckered in” by the rhetoric of highly paid public relations firms, foreign lobbyists and self-serving politicians who know absolutely nothing of the region’s history.

We might also add that had it not been for the Serbian people, Air Force General Donald J. Smith, our chairman and one our rescued airmen, would not have survived the war and been able to dedicate 40 years of honorable service to his country.

Had it not been for the Serbian people, technical Sgt. Curtis “Bud” Diles, another of our airmen, would not be alive today in Dayton, Ohio, enjoying retirement with his four children and 12 grandchildren.

There are hundreds of us with stories just like those.   Some of the greatest testimony to the many sacrifices made on our behalf us the many thousands of American children who are alive today solely because the Serbian people saved over 500 of their grandfathers during World War II.  Some of them could very well be serving with you today in Bosnia.

I was one of three rescued American airmen who returned last year to the former Yugoslavia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of victory in Europe with the people who saved us and to visit the cow pasture that  served as a landing strip from which we were rescued.  The most moving  experience of our sentimental trip was being cheered by over 50,000 Serbs who gathered at a mountain top to welcome us and who kept chanting “USA, USA”.

As American military men, we have a proud tradition of “duty, honor and country” to uphold and a fierce sense of loyalty to those with whom we fought side by side in combat.  We never forget their kindness nor do we return their battlefield sacrifices for us by bombing their women and children.  The Serbian people helped us when we were desperate and in trouble. Now that the situation is reversed we can do no less.

Please keep these untarnished truths in mind as you now serve our country and all it stands for, and may God bless you all as we pray for your safe return.

This war will not last long.  If for no other reason, it appears the US Forces are already running low on missiles.  And, Clinton’s blustering threats of “escorting the Albanian Kosovars back to their home” is silliness.

So far Clinton’s war has failed to even find ONE of Milosevic’s mobile units to shoot at.  How does he plan on personally escort back the reported 1,000,000 Albanians his spokespersons claim have fled the country?   The Serbs tied up 10 divisions of Hitler’s Crack troops—even after they lost the war.

If he continues the kind of bombing he conducted last couple of nights, he is going to lose the humanitarian war on CNN.  —Pictures of mothers and newborn premature babies being evacuated from the hospital 100 yards from the Interior Ministry’s spectacular blaze, a father on the street being interviewed saying it was “easy for Clinton to drop bombs on the children from the sky—but we will see what kind of man he is when he comes to our soil” or the flames from a residential area hit in last night’s bombing raids, are far more dramatic and horrifying than watching Albanian refugees who are riding trains to the border and walking across.

Pictures of bombs on civilian targets.  So far this week, over 1000 people are reported to have died so far in the bombing raids. That is a far higher death toll than Christiane Amanpour has been able to muster up in her drive to sell the Albanian side to a jaded, suspicious American public.

The world is seeing the results of the bombs.  The effort to portray the Serbs, as US News and World Report does in its April 12, 1999, issue on “Balkan Hell” as crazed killers is largely verbal so far.

Stories of “summary executions,” US News and World Report noted, were hard to “prove” but are “quite credible given the Serbs’ vicious record.  These stories are being challenged by those, such as Col. Felman, USAF Ret., who have had personal experiences with the Serbs.

We are in a whole new kind of warfare, folks, and it appears that Milosevic has pretty much won it. It already sounds like the Clinton administration is trying to figure out who it can blame for the debacle.

(Now deceased….)
    Richard L. Felman Major USAF (Ret), President
    National Committee of American Airmen
    Rescued by General Mlhailovich, Inc.
    PO Box 17478
    Tuscon, Arizona 85731
 

WWII, Draza Mihailovich & Operation Halyard, Page 3

Over 500 U.S. Airmen were saved by the SERBS!

 “V” for VICTORY!  

V … _

 “Zora puca, bice dana!”


Click on lower right hand corner to enlarge letter above.

The book FREE YUGOSLAVIA CALLING by Dr. Svetislav-Sveta Petrovitch, was written in 1941.  Fiorello Henry LaGuardia, the 99th Mayor of New York City, and widely regarded as one of the BEST mayors the city ever had, wrote the forward, with the words, “Zora puca, bit ce’ dana,” meaning “the dawn in breaking, the day will come.”

“Yes,” he said, “the Day will come to the Yugoslavs— as well as to the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, and to all others suffering under the knout of the Nazi jailers– when peace and freedom shall reign over their land which I know so well.

“The Day of Victory will come to these people whose will to live as free men proved to be stronger than the iron heels of the dictators.

This book, the first one to come out under the ‘V-for-Victory” symbol, confirms my faith in the survival of these brave people.  The daring exploits of the Yugoslav Chetniks against the Nazi invaders, so vividly described by Dr. Petrovitch, and the stiff resistance by the undismayed men and women in other countries, must evoke our admiration and confidence in liberty-loving mankind.

“Every liberty loving person knows that we must not abandon these struggling people who carry on the fight against tyranny so that democracy may prevail in all lands, including the United States.  We must keep the fires of hope burning in the hearts of millions of suffering people throughout the world, the fires which a monster without a heart tries but fails to extinguish.

 “I call upon all Americans to unite and join humanity struggling against Hitler so that his poisonous ideas may never take hold on these shores.  “Zora puca, bit’ ce’ dana.”  September 20, 1941, Mayor of New York City.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Map of Europe in early 1940’s…. 


 

Wehrmacht map of Jugoslavia 1940

 I have a copy of this valuable historical map, but this particular image came courtesy of J.P. Mayer when he was refuting something written against the Serbs, and used this German map from 1940 as evidence to show where the Serbs lived in Yugoslavia then.  

(Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge map.)


(Click map of Yugoslavia on bottom right hand corner to enlarge)

Because so many of our dear readers are sharing their memoirs and photos with us of the WWII Operation Halyard Mission, we must add another page to our website dedicated to making sure the true story is known to a much wider audience.

At this time, my sincere gratitude goes to Melanie and Tim Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA for sharing info about their Uncle Bob Marjanovich with us. 

Tim and Melanie (Tomich) Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA
 

 
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Also, to a new friend from Connecticut, Tech Ed (Industrial Arts) teacher Ted Connolly, whose late father Tom Connolly, was one of the airmen rescued by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks, the OSS, and the American flyers.  Their stories are jaw-dropping exciting…. 

++++++++++++

Melanie is the daughter of the late Milan and Dara (Dorothy) Marjanovich Tomich, who had saved this information for posterity. 

 What small treasure does Melanie hold?  Here it is!

 

Here’s her Uncle Bobby Marjanovich (far left) with Jibby in the middle and General Draza Mihailovich!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bob, May (another sister), and Dara’s father (Melanie’s grandfather) was a priest who died at quite a young age.  His mother sent Bob to study the priesthood in Belgrade in 1939, where he had received a scholarship.  On April 7, 1941, Germany dropped bombs on Belgrade, which was an open city, instantly killing 17,000 civilians and wounding thousands of others.  In his mad dash for safety, Bob was taken in and given shelter by strangers, but eventually found himself meeting up with the famous Maksimovich Brothers, a popular singing quartet he had met when they toured throughout America in 1936, making famous the song “O Marijana” throughout the USA. 

The 4 Maksimovic Brothers (also shown here with the newsman, S. Popovic) found Bob & took him home to their Mother, a retired 70-yr. old schoolteacher.  Later, they all joined General Draza Mihailovich in Ravna Gora.

 

Bobby was listed as missing for almost three years….

This Oct. 27, 1943 edition of the SRBOBRAN featured a front page reprint of a story that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Bob’s worried mother finally hearing that he was alive from a radio broadcast from Mihailovich headquarters.
 

 “The dapper yong man pictured above with his sister is Robert (Bogdan) Marjanovich, one of the valiant CHetniks fighting the Nazi hordes in the mountains of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Draza Mihailovich.”  Dorothy was a manager of the Kroger Store in Leetsdale, PA.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
On Nov. 3,1944 at his schoolhouse headquarters in Okruglica, Capt. Nick Lalich prepared room for the 16 incoming Americans.  It was there that Lalich also heard that the American theological student, Robert Marjanovich, who had served as a translator with the Halyard Mission in Pranjani would be arriving soon.  Marjanovich somehow was able to cross from Serbia into Bosnia and finally join Lalich at Okruglica.  Marjanovich was supposed to be in charge of the arriving fliers, while Jibby continued monitoring the radio. 

General Mihailovich talking to his men, 1944
Courtesy of Ted Connolly’s collection.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Dec. 11, the Halyard Mission left Mihailovich after he again refused safe passage to Italy.  “This is my land and my people.  I will stay to the end, no matter what.”   Mihailovich took off his dagger and gave it to Lalich as a gift for George Vuynovich who helped guide the Halyard Mission from his post in Bari. The General ordered his Colonel Mirko Lalatovic to take off his dagger which was presented to Lalich as a gift.  General Mihailovich then ripped off the patch from his left sleeve and gave it to Lalich as a parting gesture of friendship.
 
Nick said that he un-shouldered his carbine, and placed it over the General’s shoulder. Then he announced, “The Allies never gave you any weapons, so let me be the first.”
 
Two of Draza’s commanders, Col. Jovan Crvencenin and Major Bogicevic were blind, and Lalich readily agreed to take them to Italy at Mihailovich’s request.  As the two groups parted, Lalich, Jibilian, Bobby Marjanovich and the 16 fliers all embraced the general in appreciation for his help in saving the fliers.  They had an escort of 40 Chetniks, plus Major Blagojevic who spoke perfect English and act as a translator (he had been educated in England), and Sane (Sha-ne), an Olympic skier who would guide them across the treacherous Zivjezda Mts. in the dead of winter.
 

December 12, 1944, Ozren Mountains/Monastery
 
They nearly starved to death before finding food and shelter at a home near Dubostica River.  By Dec. 17, they arrived at the Ozren Monastery on Sunday, just in time for church services.  At the conclusion of the service, Nick Lalich put over $100 on the altar, and everyone heard the villagers whisper, “To su Amerikanci,” or “Those are Americans,” and were welcomed to stay for dinner. The group was overjoyed as it would be a relief from the danger they had faced over the last few days crossing the snowy mountains.  Finally, they reached Bojanic, their destination, where they found 9 more American fliers who had been cared for by Mr. Panic.
 
In Boljanic, Jibby was able to find some parts in town to get his radio working again, and sent a message that the group was ready for evacuation.
 
Mr. Panic had asked Lalich how Americans celebrated Christmas and Nick descibed Christmas trees and Christmas dinners. Soon, they found that the villagers of Boljanic had cut a small pine tree and decorated it with tinsel that had been dropped from Allied planes to jam German radar.  The airmen thought it was the best Christmas tree they had ever seen!
 
 It was a good Christmas afterall!
 
Tom Connolly (TMC) is to the far left of the photo, Farnham, Thomas, Shay, Stoloff, Teal and Holcher.
Nick Lalich is in the middle.
 
Also, on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 1944), the mission received word to prepare for a supply drop.  The men ran out onto the airstrip and heard the roar of a B-25, and even though the skies were so cloudy, saw six large containers come through the skies. (See actual photos from Ted Connolly, Tom’s son) on the top right hand side of this page.)
 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is the farmhouse where Tom Connolly & his crew stayed.  Visit the Kosovo Men’s Choir page on this site and see how we stayed at DrvenGrad that looks just like this…. we felt like Heidi…. high in the mountains in houses just like this!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Letter written by Tom Connolly about his rescue.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


 This map from the collection of Ted Connolly, son of +Tom Connolly, one of the 513 rescued U.S. airmen marks a map of the region where the crew of the STRICTLY G.I airplane landed.  Marked in the margin here is the name of airman Percy Peterson, who was flying with the crew for the first time, 11/19/44. Unfortunately, he was killed.  

 Much, much more coming!  Stay tuned.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 In another vein, it is important that we recall the efforts of Major Richard Felman to insure the story of Operation Halyard was always at the fore.

Thanks to the Serbian Unity Congress, we have this wonderful story by Sandy Marquette about a fine, fine man, Dick Felman.

http://www.serbianunity.net/culture/history/wwii/felman.html

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Another big loss for the Serbian People was Professor Dragoslav Djordjevich of California. The following tribute is from the Serbian Unity Congress, of which he was a Founding Member.
 
Dragoslav GeorgevIch, 
98,
 true 
patriot 
both

of
 Serbia 
and
America,
 died
 November
29, 
2008

in 
Monterey,
 California,
 exactly
 sixty 
years
 after 
arriving

in 
the
 United
 States.



Born 
in
 Obrenovac,
 Serbia,
on
 August 
9,
1910,
 he

graduated 
from 
the
 Yugoslav 
Military
 Academy 
in

Belgrade,
 Serbia 
(then
 Yugoslavia) 
and 
was
 a
 captain

attending
 the
 General 
Staff
 School 
when 
Germany

attacked
 Yugoslavia 
in
 April 
of
 1941.




After
 four 
years
 as
 a
 prisoner 
of
 war 
in
 Germany
 and
 another
 four
 as
 a
 displaced
 person
 in the British‐administered 
zone 
of

occupation 
post‐World
 War 
II,
 he
 refused 

to 
return
 to
 his
 native Serbia,
 which
 had 
become 
Communist
 after
 the
 War.



He
 decided
 to 
emigrate
 to
 the
 United 
States,

arriving
 in New 
York 
City
 on
 Thanksgiving
 Day 
in
 1948.


Dragoslav
 Georgevich 
spent
 nearly 
30 years 
teaching

Serbo‐Croatian 
at
 the
 Army 
Language 
School 
in

Monterey,
California,
 which 
later 
became 
the 
Defense

Language
 Institute,
 where
 he
 retired
 as 
the
 Chairman
 of 
the
 Serbo‐Croatian
 Department.

 He
 earned
 two
 post-graduate 
degrees,
 in
 history 
and 
linguistics 
at
 San 
Jose 
State 
University.


He
 wrote several books, including the notable “Na Raskrsnici” (At the Cross) which chronicled his converstations with Prince Paul Karadjordjevich, the Regent of Yugoslavia during the critical and fateful years between 1935 and 1941.


Shortly 
after
 arriving 
in 
the
 US,
 he and other Serbian patriots founded the “Cultural Club Saint Sava” in Chicago, which quickly became a beacon of Serbian ideas and aspirations, and for decades was in the forefront of Serbian Anti-Communist struggle. 



Dragoslav
Georgevich
 was 
also 
part 
of 
the
 genesis
 of 
the
 Serbian
 Unity 
Congress.

 Realizing
 that
 Communist
 Yugoslavia
 was 
on
 the
 verge 
of
 collapse,
 he 
and 
his
 son,
 Miroslav
 (Michael)Djordjevich) met in 

early
1989
 with
 Prince
 Andrej 
Karadjordjevic 
to
 discuss
 what
 could 
be 
done
 to 
revive
 Serbia 
and
 protect
 Serbian 
interests  in a post‐Communist
 world.


They 
were 
captivated by 
the
 idea of a new organization consisting primarily of young professionals of Serbian heritage who would actively help Serbia in transition from Titoism to Democracy. 
The 
concept
 resulted 
in
 the 
founding 
of
 the
 Serbian
 Unity
 Congress,
 SUC,
 in
 1990.

 Michael
 became 
the
 first
 president 
of
 the
 SUC;

Dragoslav
 Georgevich
 worked 
tirelessly
 to
 solidify 
grassroots 
support 
for
 SUC
 among 
the
 Serbian
 Diaspora
 in
 the
 ensuing
 years.



 
In Memorium -Slava mu!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Finally!  Here’s a photo of J.B. Allin, the photographer with the Halyard Mission, talking to Nick Lalich and Dr. Carpenter. Thank you to Dr. Jonathan Clemente for sharing this photo with us!

(Photo was enhanced.  No color photos then!) 

Jibby says that Dr. Clemente is a valuable contributor to the OSS listserv and is writing a book about the Medical conditions of Operation Halyard and other missions.

Here’s what I found about Dr. Clemente on the Charlotte Radiology site:

Jonathan D. Clemente, M.D.

Medical School: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Residency: New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Fellowship: Diagnostic Neuroradiology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Board Certification: American Board of Radiology, Certificate of Added Qualifications, Neuroradiology
Societies: RSNA, ARRS, NYRS, ACR, NC-ACR, NCMS, MCMS, Senior Member of the American Society of Neuroradiology, American Society of Head and Neck Radiology
Specialties: Neuroradiology

 And he’s so nice to share!  Lots of (patients!) patience too!  Thanks so much!


 

JP Allin & Lalich.Rebich photo.jpg

Here are the two guys again, JP Allin and Nick Lalich, at a reception in Chicago for the Rescued Airmen sponsored by Aleksandra Rebic and her father, Rade Rebic in May of 1994.  Thanks for sharing, Aleks!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Here’s Mike Devyak and Lt. Col. McDowell on the move again…..


 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A photo shared on Veteran’s Day, (11/11/15) by Stephanie Lalich Adams of 3 American Serbs OSS heroes:  Lt. Joe Veselinovich, Lt. Mike Rajacich, and her father, Lt. Nick Lalich from WWII, Operation HALYARD.

(Click on bottom right hand corner of either photo above to enlarge)
 
THE FIRST GUERRILLAS of EUROPE, The True Stories of General Mihailovic’s Warriors by Milos Achin is another excellent book on WWII.  The author was educated at the Belgrade Military Academy and served in the Yugoslav and British RAF.
 
A Yugoslav Air Force officer, he refused to accept the official capitulation in April, 1941, and joined in at the very outset General Draza Mihailovich’s resistance group, the first guerrillas organized in a then-conquered Europe, and rose from the rank of commander of a detachment to commanding officer of a corps.  He was a captain in the YAH (Yugoslav Army in the Homeland), an editor and writer for the Underground Press, and editor-in-chief of the underground radio station, “Liberty or Death.”
 
Milos’ wife was the former prima dona of the Yugoslav Opera House.
++++++++++++++++++ 

Air drop on Christmas 1944

Thanks to Ted Connolly of Connecticut for sharing with all of us these photos from his late father’s (Tom Connelly’s) files. Be sure to place your pointer over the photo to enlarge seeing these packages drop by parachute.



 
This is the first time I saw these kind of photos, but I always knew the story! 
 
Inside the six large containers was food and clothing.  The Americans gave most of it away to their friends in Boljanic, but there was enough left for a Christmas dinner.
 
Lalich radioed to Bari:
“Now we believe in Santa Claus!”
++++++++++++++++++ 
 
It is interesting to note that Ted Connolly is an Industrial Arts teacher at Wilson High School in Wilson, Connecticut. And before becoming an officer with the OSS, Nick Lalich was an Industrial Arts teacher in Cleveland’s high school.
 ++++++++++++++++++
Connolly, Farnham, Stolof, Shay, 1944
++++++++++++++++++

The name of Connolly’s airplane, “STRICTLY G.I.!”
+++++++++++++++++++
 
Trying to build a fire to let the rescue planes know where they are!
 

A  letter to Tom Connolly’s Mom stating on December 9, 1944, he’s been missing since November 11.
(Click to enlarge all photos.)
++++++++++++++++++

On Dec. 27, two days after the airdrop, two C-47’s were heard.  The planes arrived in Boljanic at the appointed hour, one of the pilots being Col. Kraigher, who had come to bring the airmen home.  Col. Kraigher had been with the Halyard Mission earlier, with the A.C.R.U., and there was much rejoicing.

George Vuynovich had loaded the planes with supplies as a gift to all the people of Boljanic and the Chetniks (Nationalist troops), who had escorted Halyard to the airstrip.  Lalich, Jibby, Marjanovich, the 25 American fliers and two blind Serbian officers flew out of Yugoslavia.


Nick Lalich reported that the Halyard Mission had successfully evacuated 604 people, of whom 513 were American airmen shot down over Yugoslavia. 

With much gratitude to General Draza Mihailovich and his followers who showed our American Airmen kindness and hospitality, and guarded them at huge risk to themselves and their families (sometimes their lives and fortunes) this page is humbly dedicated.

We also take time to recognize the courageous efforts of both the Serbs and the members of the Halyard Mission to make sure the U.S. airmen got safely home.

++++++++++++++++++


Rescued airmen finally get some well-deserved rest!
Sgt. Martin Wosal, Sgt. Thomas M. Connolly, Jr. of Boston, and Sgt. Roscoe E. Teal of Seward, Nebraska, after their rescue from behind German lines in Yugoslavia where they crashed during combat.
++++++++++++++++++
 
Thank you to George Vujnovich and his lovely wife, to George Musulin, Nick Lalich, Mike Rajasich, Col. George Kraigher of the 15th Air Force, Eli Popovich and Arthur Jibilian, radioman, for volunteering to rescue the American Airmen who had bailed out of their badly damaged aircraft over German-occupied lines in the Axis-controlled Balkans.
 
The U.S. airmen had been on missions to bomb the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, with the aim of halting the vital flow of oil to the German war machines. 
 
The Ploesti Oil Fields Operation was successful, but at a tremendous human cost to American fliers.
 
Read more about the Ploesti air raids here:
 
  
Men like Tom Connolly and his crew were grateful to the villagers who found, fed and protected them, and got them safely into the hands of those in charge of Operation HALYARD, of the A.C.R.U., The Air Crew Rescue Unit plan.  “Halyard” was chosen as the code name, as a reference to a rope used to hoist a flag or sail, in this case, pluck the fliers out from behind enemy lines from their mountain sanctuaries.
 
Read more about General Mihailovich and the Ploesti Oil Fields at Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogspot.
 
 
++++++++++++++++++
 
Be sure to read Carl Savich’s report on the Rescue of the US Airmen during WWII, which includes Richard Felman’s Reminisces about the Halyard Mission and the Evacuation from Pranjani. This is found on the Serbian Unity Congress’ website.
 
 
You will find information above about Carl Walpusk, my great neighbor, as he was with Dick Felman and his crew. Carl Walpusk is shown on the 1st Draza page, extensively, when he was flown up to Ypsilanti, MI by the EAA#582 Air Group!
+++++++++++++++++++

Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge photo
 

The airmen above signed the back of this photo postcard:
Bernard Z.???;
Bernard Merwald from Omaha, Nebraska; Mac F. Lucas from Crannell, California;  Harold T. Brown from Turtle Creek, PA; H. Arthur Ulmer from Hicksville, Long island, NY; Robert from Brooklyn NY, and Edgar M. Jacobus Jr. from E. Orange, NY.
 
 Harvey. Henry & Bob Ulmer
Update from Carol Ulmer Kaier, Jan. 8, 2011 via email. Carol brings us this photo of her father Harvey, her uncle, Henry  Arthur Ulmer, one of the rescued airmen on the postcard with his signature on back, and her Uncle Rob Ulmer.  Unfortunately, Rob (the eldest) was shot down and killed while her Uncle Art (Henry) was missing.  At that point, her father decided to go back home to be with his Mom. Carol says her Uncle Art kept a diary while he was MIA from July 3, 1944 until October 17, 1944.  It was fascinating to read, she said, and is currently asking her Uncle to share it with all of us!
++++++++++++++++++

from Jibby
++++++++++++++++++

 +++++++++++++++++++

Chetnik guerrillas sabotaging RR tracks to derail German supply lines.
collection of Ted Connolly.
 
 +++++++++++++++++++
 Mihailovich in camp
++++++++++++++++++
 Collection of T. Connolly
++++++++++++++++++

Shay, far left, Tom Connolly mid left, Nick Lalich, and Bobby Marjanovich with duffle bag. Airlift.
++++++++++++++++++
From the collection of Ted Connolly 2/19/09
with much appreciation!
 

Tom Connolly’s Survival Maps

Out of the pouch….
Don’t forget to click on the lower right hand corner of the image to enlarge it.
++++++++++++++++++
From Dr. Jonathan Clemente come these photos!
 

Jibby, Lalich, Dr. Carpenter
 
This photo was enhanced, as there was no color photography then! 🙂
+++++++++++++++++++

WWII Operation Halyard Photos continued.....

Operation Halyard photos from Ted Connolly and Arthur Jibilian….


 Gathering up the chutes….

 

 

 


 

Draza Mihailovich and Villagers

 

Doc helping check medical supplies….


 

General Draza Mihailovich and his Religious Leaders


Reviewing the troops…..


Hilton Hotel….


All Aboard!

 

Shoes left for the locals….


 


 


Here is Tom Connolly with a cane for his injured foot, and the other crew members behind….


Courageous pilots flew into the cleared fields to rescue their fellow Americans.  Imagine doing this with the limited equipment they had at their disposal!  No GPS systems like we have now!.


 Last day in Serbia….. the author of the essay is in this photo… along with Nick Lalich in the middle.


Greeted in Bari, Italy!  12-28-44.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Serbs were ALWAYS Allies of the United States of America.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

February 1, 2012: Info from Nikola Simanic, a Facebook friend, who sent us a photo of his grandfather, as a Chetnik, kneeling in front, left, with an American airman who was a professor, but Nikola didn’t know his name, and the other airman was a Greek captain. 

Young Nikola says he is from Ilijas (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) and is now living in Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska!  He said he found me on the Halyard Mission page.  I’ll wait to see if more information develops here.  Thanks, Nikola!

Update: Feb. 9, 2012:  2. comandant of backround and president of the district of Visoko, Sreto Erić.

“My grandfather’s name was Bogdan Simanić (1913 – 2008) and he was the Chetniks Battalion Commandant of Vareš.  Our family’s house was on the Han Karaula close to Okruglica place. This photo is from Okruglica place or Nišići plateau !
 
Other peoples of picture are ;
stand up (off left side) :
1. Captain Drago Miljanović from Sarajevo,
2. Americans airman, professor,
3. Conduct of airmen, Radoslav Zekić from Olovo,
4. Captain of Greek army, airman.
 
Down kneeling in front, left :
1.  My grandfather , Battalion commandant, Bogdan Simanić and
2.  President of the district of Visoko: Sreto Eric’.
 
Great information to have!  Thank you, Nikola!  
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

+++++++++++++++++++


Plotting the next course of action….

+++++++++++++++++++

“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Communists in the country sat on their hands.  Later it was a different story.  As soon as the Germans invaded their “ally” Russia,
the Communists became anti-German.  Politics being
what they are, what little help had gone to Mihailovich went to Tito instead.  Except the help was
many times what it had been.  It wasn’t until several years later that the western allies realized what Stalin
was all about.

Both the Chetniks and the Partisans were fighting the Germans, and they also were fighting each other. 
When the Chetniks saw us coming down in parachutes, they thought we were Russian paratroopers
invading their space.  Had I said yes to the question “Russki?”  I wouldn’t be writing this now.


No one spoke English, but they convinced me that we needed to get away from where we were in a
hurry.  We walked, ran, and jogged for a few miles until we came to a safe house.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at the small farmhouse and the first person I saw was “Shorty” Shay, our tail gunner.  He had some minor injuries from flak but was in pretty good shape.  We were both excited to see one an-
other and very happy to be alive.
A couple of hours later there was more excitement when Tom Connelly, our engineer, arrived with only an injured leg.  The next one to arrive was Roscoe Teal, our nose gunner.  We all enjoyed the reunion,
and eagerly ate the food and drinks offered by our benefactors.  After hours of communicating with
sign language and a combination of German, Serbian and my high school French, we finally went to sleep
fully-clothed except for shoes — all four of us in the same bed.


The next morning, after some warm goat’s milk and dark bread, Tom and I left with some Chetniks to go to the plane and bury Pete.  When we were within a mile or so of where the plane hit, we were warned that it wasn’t safe ahead.  A “Ustashi” patrol was in
the area looking for us.  The Ustashi were Croatian sympathizers who fought both the Chetniks and the
Partisans and committed atrocities against any German enemy.
We returned to the farmhouse.  Shortly after our return, we were reunited with Marv Stoloff, our navi-
gator, and Franz Holscher, our ball-turret gunner.  Later, we met Carrol Sanderson, the waist gunner,
and Gene Thomas.  We didn’t catch up to Art Farnham for a few more days.


It was time to move to an area considered safer and one that was a minor local headquarters.  We had an
escort of uniformed soldiers in addition to the armed peasants who made up a major part of the Resis-
tance.  There were a couple of commissioned officers on horseback with us.  We walked and also rode in
ox carts and I even had the chance, along with Franz, to ride one of the horses. That night, we slept in a safe-house and spent some
time enjoying a new-found drink — Slivovitz.  It is made from plums, looks like vodka, and is smooth
going down, but kicks like a mule!  We were enjoying our new friends and the prospect of evading the
Germans. We had all landed in the same general area, but there
was some local fighting going on that slowed things down a little bit.  Now that our crew was almost complete, we were anxious to travel to the headquartters to see if help was available for our escape.


We were in a very primitive part of the country.  Oxen were used as farm animals for plowing and hauling things in carts.  Except for the mounted officers we didn’t see a horse the entire time that we were in Yugoslavia.  There was no electricity, and all plumbing was the outhouse-type, — when they had
one.  Water came from a well, and food was very scarce.. We ate lots of boiled cabbage for the next several
weeks.  There was virtually no meat, but we did have warm goat’s milk in the mornings with a slice of dark
bread.  Between the light diet and all the exercise, I lost about 20 pounds in six weeks, but except for a
slight case of malnutrition, I never felt better in my life. It was dangerous because the Germans occupied the country, but they couldn’t be everywhere.  They were
in every important part, and controlled the cities, the
highways, the rail lines, and whatever else they deemed critical.  However, they couldn’t be in every
house, on every farm, hill or mountain.  That was to our advantage.  So although we were in danger, we never had to fight the war 24-hours-a-day like in the old Errol Flynn movies.


To sum up our situation: we were in a strange country, we didn’t speak the language and we knew no one.  We had no food or transportation except our feet, and we were 300+ miles from the sea, where we could begin a very long 100-mile swim home.
We needed help almost right away.  If we didn’t get it in a day or two we wouldn’t survive.  We were lucky and landed in a rural area where the native people had temporary control and we were relatively safe..  The Germans may have known we were around, but it would have taken some real effort to find us.  Luckily, they were busy moving troops north to relieve other divisions who would shortly begin the “Battle of the Bulge.”


We finally got to the local headquarters and found the only English-speaking person in the area.  That was when we learned where we were and who we were with.  We also learned that they had a short-wave radio and had advised Mihailovich’s headquarters that we were with them.  It looked like help might be on the way.


It was suggested that we split up and stay at different houses for safety.  We decided we’d rather stay together, even though it meant all of us sleeping on the floor of a small bedroom on a blanket of straw. That is when we met the Panic family and my good friend Yugo. Marko Panic was the head of the house.  His oldest son Milosh was married and had a young son and lots of aunts and a brother named Yugo.  Yugo was my age and a bachelor, and like all Serbians, was filled with great respect for Americans. 


They all thought we were Supermen.


All through the war, they witnessed the Germans as they beat Belgium, Norway, France, then drove the
British into the sea at Dunkirk.  Although they had some problems with the Russians, they would have
reached Moscow if people like the Chetniks didn’t tie down four divisions in Yugoslavia who were needed at the Eastern Front.”

Be sure to read the rest of Bob Eckman’s story in the #461 LIBERATOR….Vol. 23, No.2, 2006!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Let the facts speak for themelves!

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

+++++++++++++++++++


Plotting the next course of action….

+++++++++++++++++++

“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Communists in the country sat on their hands.  Later it was a different story.  As soon as the Germans invaded their “ally” Russia,
the Communists became anti-German.  Politics being
what they are, what little help had gone to Mihailovich went to Tito instead.  Except the help was
many times what it had been.  It wasn’t until several years later that the western allies realized what Stalin
was all about.

Both the Chetniks and the Partisans were fighting the Germans, and they also were fighting each other. 
When the Chetniks saw us coming down in parachutes, they thought we were Russian paratroopers
invading their space.  Had I said yes to the question “Russki?”  I wouldn’t be writing this now.


No one spoke English, but they convinced me that we needed to get away from where we were in a
hurry.  We walked, ran, and jogged for a few miles until we came to a safe house.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at the small farmhouse and the first person I saw was “Shorty” Shay, our tail gunner.  He had some minor injuries from flak but was in pretty good shape.  We were both excited to see one an-
other and very happy to be alive.
A couple of hours later there was more excitement when Tom Connelly, our engineer, arrived with only an injured leg.  The next one to arrive was Roscoe Teal, our nose gunner.  We all enjoyed the reunion,
and eagerly ate the food and drinks offered by our benefactors.  After hours of communicating with
sign language and a combination of German, Serbian and my high school French, we finally went to sleep
fully-clothed except for shoes — all four of us in the same bed.


The next morning, after some warm goat’s milk and dark bread, Tom and I left with some Chetniks to go to the plane and bury Pete.  When we were within a mile or so of where the plane hit, we were warned that it wasn’t safe ahead.  A “Ustashi” patrol was in
the area looking for us.  The Ustashi were Croatian sympathizers who fought both the Chetniks and the
Partisans and committed atrocities against any German enemy.
We returned to the farmhouse.  Shortly after our return, we were reunited with Marv Stoloff, our navi-
gator, and Franz Holscher, our ball-turret gunner.  Later, we met Carrol Sanderson, the waist gunner,
and Gene Thomas.  We didn’t catch up to Art Farnham for a few more days.


It was time to move to an area considered safer and one that was a minor local headquarters.  We had an
escort of uniformed soldiers in addition to the armed peasants who made up a major part of the Resis-
tance.  There were a couple of commissioned officers on horseback with us.  We walked and also rode in
ox carts and I even had the chance, along with Franz, to ride one of the horses. That night, we slept in a safe-house and spent some
time enjoying a new-found drink — Slivovitz.  It is made from plums, looks like vodka, and is smooth
going down, but kicks like a mule!  We were enjoying our new friends and the prospect of evading the
Germans. We had all landed in the same general area, but there
was some local fighting going on that slowed things down a little bit.  Now that our crew was almost complete, we were anxious to travel to the headquartters to see if help was available for our escape.


We were in a very primitive part of the country.  Oxen were used as farm animals for plowing and hauling things in carts.  Except for the mounted officers we didn’t see a horse the entire time that we were in Yugoslavia.  There was no electricity, and all plumbing was the outhouse-type, — when they had
one.  Water came from a well, and food was very scarce.. We ate lots of boiled cabbage for the next several
weeks.  There was virtually no meat, but we did have warm goat’s milk in the mornings with a slice of dark
bread.  Between the light diet and all the exercise, I lost about 20 pounds in six weeks, but except for a
slight case of malnutrition, I never felt better in my life. It was dangerous because the Germans occupied the country, but they couldn’t be everywhere.  They were
in every important part, and controlled the cities, the
highways, the rail lines, and whatever else they deemed critical.  However, they couldn’t be in every
house, on every farm, hill or mountain.  That was to our advantage.  So although we were in danger, we never had to fight the war 24-hours-a-day like in the old Errol Flynn movies.


To sum up our situation: we were in a strange country, we didn’t speak the language and we knew no one.  We had no food or transportation except our feet, and we were 300+ miles from the sea, where we could begin a very long 100-mile swim home.
We needed help almost right away.  If we didn’t get it in a day or two we wouldn’t survive.  We were lucky and landed in a rural area where the native people had temporary control and we were relatively safe..  The Germans may have known we were around, but it would have taken some real effort to find us.  Luckily, they were busy moving troops north to relieve other divisions who would shortly begin the “Battle of the Bulge.”


We finally got to the local headquarters and found the only English-speaking person in the area.  That was when we learned where we were and who we were with.  We also learned that they had a short-wave radio and had advised Mihailovich’s headquarters that we were with them.  It looked like help might be on the way.


It was suggested that we split up and stay at different houses for safety.  We decided we’d rather stay together, even though it meant all of us sleeping on the floor of a small bedroom on a blanket of straw. That is when we met the Panic family and my good friend Yugo. Marko Panic was the head of the house.  His oldest son Milosh was married and had a young son and lots of aunts and a brother named Yugo.  Yugo was my age and a bachelor, and like all Serbians, was filled with great respect for Americans. 


They all thought we were Supermen.


All through the war, they witnessed the Germans as they beat Belgium, Norway, France, then drove the
British into the sea at Dunkirk.  Although they had some problems with the Russians, they would have
reached Moscow if people like the Chetniks didn’t tie down four divisions in Yugoslavia who were needed at the Eastern Front.”

Be sure to read the rest of Bob Eckman’s story in the #461 LIBERATOR….Vol. 23, No.2, 2006!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Let the facts speak for themelves!

WWII, Draza Mihailovich, "Operation Halyard," p.5

From the book: Govori i Izjave Generala Draze Mihailovca, Chicago, 1966 which is one of many books scheduled to go to Pranjani, Serbia for a WWII Research Library there:

“No people in Europe have a more heroic record in this war than the Serbs. Among them, no hero is more glorious than General Draza Mihailovic.”

Watson Kirkconnell

 

From Wikipedia:  Watson Kirkconnell was a Canadian scholar, university administrator and translator. He was President of Acadia University, and in 1968, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his services at home and abroad as an educator, scholar and writer”. [1] In 1936, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

YouTube Video of this event <—— 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MAY 11, 2009 University of Pittsburgh


 

 

Seal of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

USAF Lt. Col. John Cappello, Air Attache to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, and 4 Representatives from the Euro-Atlantic Initiative (Daniel Sunter, Bojan T. Dragicevic, Zlatko Stojilovic, and Tom Vukadinovic) were welcomed to Pittsburgh, PA, USA, May 11, 2009!

George Vujnovich, George Musulin, and Robert Marjanovich were all recognized by Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA, for their roles in the heroic and successful evacuation of over 500 American Airmen from German-occupied Serbia.

Update:  94 yr. old George Vujnovich was inaugurated into the Ambridge Area High School (PA) HALL OF FAME on June 8, 2009  in the 1st such recognition by the school.  Unable to attend due to his advanced age and the distance involved, Mim Bizic and Carl Walpusk (in his WWII uniform) accepted the award on George Vujnovich’s behalf.


Click in lower right hand corner to enlarge.

 

WHEREAS, during the summer of 1944, United States bombers targeted the Romanian oil fields in Ploesti that supplied the German war effort, and many heavily damaged planes never made it back; and
 
WHEREAS, more than 1,000 United States airmen were forced to bail out over German-occupied Serbia and were trapped behind enemy lines where they were dependent upon the villagers to hide them from the Germans; and ………..(several more paragraphs!)
 
            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, on behalf of the 1.2 million residents of Allegheny County, do welcome Lt. Col. Cappello and his team to Pittsburgh and thank them for bringing further recognition to Operation Halyard.
 
            FURTHERMORE, I do hereby recognize the important role that Major Vujnovich, Captain Musulin, and Mr. Marjanovich played in what is considered one of the greatest rescues of American servicemen from behind enemy lines.

 


Lt. Col. John Cappello is happy with the crowd he addressed on Monday night, May 11 at 7:30 PM. L-R in the front row:  Dr. Nenad Janicijevich who was responsible for millions of dollars of relief medicines reaching Serbia and Bosnia,  Brian Hayden who serves on the Serb National Federation Board, and Col. Carl Walpusk, rescued airman from Moon Twp., PA.

 

The venue was changed from meeting in the Yugoslav Nationality Room to the English Nationality Room at the University, due to the increased number of interested attendees.  Almost all of the 65 available seats were filled with interested listeners.


George Topich showing Sally Stone the photos from the dedication of the Draza Mihailovich bronze bust at the Serb National Federation Headquarters.  The photo shows His Grace Bishop Mitrofan who flew to Belgrade that very day for a Sabor meeting.  With His Grace is Carl Walpusk, rescued airman, who also attended the ceremonies then.  Carl was in the audience at Pitt too.  Like most of the other remaining airmen, Carl has been defending Draza Mihailovich and the Chetniks and the Serbian villagers since 1946! 

George later wrote: “Enjoyed the evening.
     This project can assist tremendously in finally getting some good press for us Serbians.  I hope we all can pull together to move it forward to completion and reaching Western media. Thanks for your efforts.”


 Nick Terbo (Nikola Tesla’s nephew and representing the TESLA MEMORIAL SOCIETY), SNF President George Martich and SNF VP George Topich.  The photo below shows a smiling Nick Lalich between the two SNF representatives.

+++++++++++++++++++


Delegation ready to go home after a successful night!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Debbie Studen-Pavlovich, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University, was one of those attendees who enjoyed the evening. 

Deb wrote:  SUPERB PROGRAM!

“It was a wonderful event that you planned for Lt. Col. Capello and his Serbian contingent.  They certainly received a warm welcome from all of the Pittsburgh Serbs.  Thanks so much for making the time to organize everything and bring it together.  I really appreciate your efforts.  It was good that Maxine Bruhns was also there for the presentation. Would you please send me Lt. Col. Cappello’s e-mail address?   I would like to thank him for his perseverance with this important piece of history for proper recognition.

++++++++++++++

 Cheri Bobik sent this note:  

“Just to let you know that we truly enjoyed the program last night.  As usual, you did an outstanding job making everyone feel welcome.  Because of you, Mr. Vuich,  Col. Cappello and the Serbian filmmaker’s determination, ‘The
Forgotten 500′ will never be forgotten!”

+++++++++++++++

Dr. Natalie Pavlovich, retired nursing professor from Duquesne University, left several phone messages letting us all know how excited and pleased she was with the program. 

Then she added“I know that the Colonel is going to be a General someday.  He has it all!  Great manner, fabulous speaker, sense of humor, etc.  His mother has to be real proud of him!  They were ALL so nice!  It was a great evening and I’m so glad I came!”

+++++++++++++++++

The Proclamation from Dan Onorato, Executive Director of Allegheny County was read at the beginning of the lecture.  But the end belonged to U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire who wrote:

Dear Friends,

I am sorry I cannot be with you tonight as you learn about the amazing story of Operation Halyard. Although the story of how the Draza Mihailovich’s Chetniks and the Serbian people worked with American forces to rescue more than 500 American Airmen or 600 Allied Airmen is not widely known, many scholars consider it to be one of the greatest rescues of the 20th Century. I am sure you will all be proud when you learn about the vital role three western Pennsylvanians played in making the Halyard Rescue possible.

The Serbian community in western Pennsylvania has long been a dynamic and important part of our region’s larger community. I want to thank Mim Bizic and everyone who has helped put tonight’s event together and introduce the story of Operation Halyard to a wider audience. I hope this story will inspire all of you as it has inspired me.

Sincerely,
Congressman Jason Altmire

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Special Kudos to

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire,

Allegheny Co. Executive Director Dan Onorato

and their remarkable staffers,

especially Michelle DorothyTess Mullen and Megan Dardanell

to Maxine Bruhns-head of the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh for her generosity

and Eli Shorak of the Chancellor’s Office at the University for securing the room for the presentation,

along with his executive assistant, Susan.

To Brian Hayden, Susan Hayden, Dan August and Adam Loverich for technical assistance

for Marko Doncich leading the assembly in “Hristos Voskrese” during this Easter season.

For Mike and Steffie Bozic sharing their VIEW

To Dave Vuich, for coordinating the Belgrade visit and traveling from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh

and to Carl Walpusk, one of the 513 rescued American airmen, who never tires of letting others know what good people the SERBS are!

To Rachel Weaver, editor of the Sewickley HERALD, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Here’s Rachel’s story on THE FORGOTTEN 500 that appeared on Thursday, May 21, 2009.  It had more than 175 hits on the first day as news traveled across America!  Thank you, Rachel, Sewickley HERALD, and Frank Craig,Tribune-Review.

You can look for it here;

IF it doesn’t work, try this on your own:

http://www.yoursewickley.com/sewickleyherald/article/forgotten-500

To Sewickley attorney Rich Brandt and his wonderful Real-estate agent wife, Kathy Brandt for suggesting the Serbian book collection of the late Aleksandar Crepajac and his wife Wilma Crepajac be given to me by their great-niece, Annegret Rachuba of Germany.  Although there have been several requests for individual books, I think this is the wisest use of them.  If the book is not in the Joe Buley Library in the Monastery at Gray’s  Lake, IL, it will go there first. (The Joe Buley Library was sent 102 books via the St. Elijah Choir bus to Joliet, IL/in care of Fr. Lunich and Fr. Kazich). However, if a copy already exists in the USA, it will go to Serbia.

 More than 130 books from the Crepajac collection will be given to the proposed Library to be built by Pranjani Field in Serbia, where most of the American Airmen were rescued. 

Col. Cappello and his crew already mailed out 3 packed boxes and several more boxes are yet to shipped! 

This material collected by Major Aleksandar Crepajac could serve as a basis for a WWII special research library where scholars could come and learn more about the displaced people who had to scatter to the four corners of the earth during/after the war, and how they left their marks on history.

The +Crepajac Memorial Library Collection is truly serving as a living link between the American and Serbian people on the two Continents, separated by Oceans, connected by Love.

Col. Cappello & University of Pittsburgh Hostess Mim Bizic with the Proclamation from Allegheny County Director of Commissioners, Don Onorato, on behalf of the 1.2 million residents of Allegheny County, including those from the  City of Pittsburgh.

 


Dave Vuich from Washington, DC, introduced each member of the “Operation Halyard” Delegation from Belgrade.

“It is my wish that the Serbs in the Pittsburgh area will attend and participate in the events that you have organized not only to pay homage and respect to the young men, but a specific honor be bestowed upon Col. Cappello for his dedicated efforts to the Serbian people. Should my schedule so permit, I may join you all for this momentous occasion.
The following is a list of Col. Cappello’s most professional crew who represent an organization entitled: Euro-Atlantic Initiative (EAI):
 
    Daniel Sunter, Executive Director


    Bojan T. Dragicevic, Executive Producer

    Zlatko Stojilovic, Film Director


    Tomo Vukadinovic, Camerman
 
Thank you and the wonderful Pittsburgh Serbs for the courtesies and generosities extended.


Cappello and Sunter, Executive Director of the film project, watch the screen as rescued airman, Clare Musgrove of St. Joseph, MI, USA, tells his story. (See other photos of Musgrove on the “General Draza Mihailovich & Operation Halyard” page of this same website.)

Clare Musgrove always says he is alive because of the courage and heroism of the Serbian
people and Chetnik forces.  His enthusiasm and memory of the rescue
are incredibly clear.


George Topich brought his poster of General Mihailovich and other photos of the great rescue produced by Mike Sudjevic years ago, to be signed by the  well-received presenters on   May 11, 2009!

+++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich brought along this old photo featuring Dave, USAF Ret. Col. Dick Felman, “Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, Medal of Honor recipient),”  USAF Ret. General Don Smith (one of the rescued airmen himself!), and Mike Sudjevic, whose late father was one of General Mihailovich’s Chetniks, and who has one of the greatest collections of memories of the rescued airmen on film and tape from years ago.


This framed photo was presented to John Cappello from Dave Vuich with the following inscription: “To an honorable and dedicated warrior, John Cappello.  Best wishes for continued success.”

John was a fighter pilot in just such an airplane as this B-1 bomber.

++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich and Col. Carl Walpusk at the home of Mike and Steffie Bozic after the presentation.  The Belgraders enjoyed the view of Pittsburgh lit up at night from atop of Mt. Washington.


Col. Cappello and Zarko with Pittsburgh Mt. Washington hostess, Steffie Bozic. Daniel Sunter in background.

Mike Bozic, retired executive businessman of several national companies, shows his guests his Serbian family history on the walls of his study, along with photos of Mike and his wife/family with many U.S. Presidents, famous sports figures, etc.


 Mike shows Tomo, Bojan and Daniel special photos of his family.  The delegation was pleased to see Mike’s grandfather’s gusle and other Serbian artifacts.  American Serbs are very proud of their Serbian heritage.

++++++++++++++++++


Dave Vuich from Washington, DC, was the first to arrive.


Daniel Sunter, Euro-American Initiative Executive Director of the Film Project OPERATION HALYARD.


In front of the Serbian Spruce.

Cappello, Stolijovic, Vukadinovic, Sunter, Dragicevic


 “Dobro Nam Dosli!”

++++++++++++++++++

Special patch created for OPERATION HALYARD project

 Special little booklet with a synopsis of the story, complete with historical photos and a DVD of some interviews conducted.

 (Click right hand corner of photo to enlarge.)  Text of book by USAF Lt. Col. John Cappello.  DVD by EAI Initiative.


 Col. Cappello with a Marine Contingent attending St. Sava’s Day activities at the school in Pranjani where the Marines distributed toys, books and supplies.

Draza (<---click here) & Operation Halyard....

OSS Nick Lalich & General Draza Mihailovich enjoy a special moment of friendship in 1944…..

At the age of 7 yeas old, I knew about the famous rescue of the 500+ American airmen by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks because my father, Milan Karlo, published Nick Lalich’s complete day-by-day diary in his magazine called American SERB LIFE in 1948.  The magazine was short-lived due to the money investment involved, but it served its purpose nobly, standing as a strong sentinel down through the years, a beacon of undisputed proof, no matter the attempts to hide the information from the American people, and indeed the world.

These two covers of the May and June 1948 issues featured St. George and Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich. Nick Lalich’s diary was published in a series of articles due to the length and wonderful photos included.

The articles were entitled:  “I Was With Mihailovich”

Here’s a close-up of the U.S. pilots sleeping in a loft.

Most of the time, the villagers gave the pilots their own beds, and the Serbs slept on the floor.  They fed the airmen even though there would be nothing left for themselves or their family members! The US fliers loved the Serbian villagers and couldn’t understand how America could have been so bamboozled by the English moles into supporting Tito instead of Mihailovich. 

The airman in the middle is Curtis (Bud) Diles, now of Dayton, Ohio.  This is his whole crew. Bud said recently in an interview in Ypsilanti, “My 15 grandchildren, my 3 Great-grandchildren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Serbs!  I may be old, and I may be forgetful, but I will never forget the man nor the Serbians who cared for me in 1944.”

*The photo ‘The Serbs have saved more than 600 American Fliers’ holds vivid memories for me. I learned of the photos existence fifty years later while visiting in Chicago. Obviously, all the fliers were exhausted and sound asleep in the photo. Having said that, obviously we did not know of the photographers presence. While in Chicago in 1993, I met the photographer, quite by accident. He was as much surprised to meet me as I was to meet him. His name?… J.B. Allin, who was attached to the Halyard Mission. This same photo appeared on page 49 in the November/December issue of Serb World, U.S.A.

“Nick” Lalich was a very good friend of mine in 1944 and continued to be a life-long friend until his recent death.

“The same photo has appeared in many publications during the past sixty years.

“However, I have never seen the men in the photo identified. I knew all of them, quite well.

“They were the enlisted men of my B-24 Liberator Bomber Crew, shot down by German anti-aircraft fire over Belgrade on Sept. 8, 1944. Only two of them are still living, including myself.

“Left to right in the photo, they are Howard Ford, ball turret gunner; Gerald Wagner, radio operator; Curt Diles, nose turret gunner; Rudolph Schmidt, Flight Engineer; and Leland Porter, tail gunner. One of our crew, James Barker, was captured by the Germans and spent the balance of the war as a German prisoner.

“The American Srbobran has published many of my articles over the past six decades.

“A faithful Serbian supporter,

Curt Diles
Dayton, Ohio
July 4, 2005

TIME Magazine had Chica Draza Mihailovich on the cover of their magazine and people around the world hailed the leader and his heroic resistance fighters in 1941, the FIRST to stand up to Hitler’s Germany.

My copy of the LIBERTY magazine from April 25, 1942.  “The Story of Draja  (Draza) Mihailovitch  (Mihailovic/Mihailovich) -Fighter for Freedom.”

 

The caption reads: “The headache: General Draja Mihailovitch, Yugoslav War Minister and Chetnik commander in chief.” (p.18-LIBERTY magazine)

A photo of some of the airmen with Nick Lalich  with hat.  Radioman  Arthur (“Jibby”)  Jibilian is  kneeling in light-colored jacket in front.  To Lalich’s right in a “sjakaca” hat is Bobby Marjanovich of Aliquippa, PA, who was studying for the priesthood in Belgrade, and was rescued by the Maksimovich Brothers singers when the unexpected bombing of the city by the Germans began.

 The ACRU & Medical Team.  Note George Musulin (3rd from left), hugging Nick Lalich in the back row.  The “Milosh Obilich-Kosovo 1389-1937” button from Wilmerding belonged to him! (See Kosovo page) Don’t ever let ANYONE ever steal your history! Pittsburgh’s Musulin was the person initially dropped behind the lines in charge of the Mission, replaced by Lalich. Jibby in the front middle.
Thanks to my cousin, Lou Astorino, I was able to secure this photo of George Musulin being on the 1938 Pirate (now Steelers) Football Team, working for Art Rooney before working for the OSS!  George is in the 2nd row from the top, next to the end on the right hand side.  George was replaced by Nick Lalich as the head person in charge of the Operation Halyard Mission, as he caught onto double-agent dealing English dirty spy tricks and they wanted him replaced.  
Read the book:  THE FORGOTTEN 500 to learn more!
 

Here’s Jibby at the Museum in Serbia, when a few of the remaining airmen visited there.  Many thanks to Jibby for sharing some photos!  To read more about the FORGOTTEN 500, order the book.  You’ll be glad you did!

Last mission out!  Back safely in Bari, Italy!  To the far right is George Vuynovich, who was born on Pittsburgh’s South Side right behind from where the American Serbian Club is now!  He graduated from Ambridge High School and was an SNF Stipendist in 1934.  He married a beautiful girl from Serbia while there.  To read more about how “George” led the mission to rescue the men, read the book!

Here’s Jibby in a May 10, 1999 paper: “I LOVE THE SERBS!”  And the Serbs love Jibby, too! He’s the last surviving member of the team that rescued the 512 airmen that was in Yugoslavia.  George Vuynovich, the officer in charge in Bari, Italy, lives in New York. Nick Petrovich, an 18-yr. old  guard with Chica Draza, lives in Mexico.

Former U.S. Airman Carl Walpusk and his lovely wife Virginia, with a statue of Draza Mihailovich, the man who saved him!

Debbie, Vangie, Jibby, Sam, Sue, Mim, 6/14/08, American Flag Day, Metcalf Field.  Serbian flag to acknowledge the contribution of the Serbs and Chetniks to the rescue of the 513 airmen.

Jibby is right in front of this photo, next to tall Captain Nick Lalich in this WWII photo.  Thanks, Jib! 

Thanks to Steve Crum, of the AOPA Flight Training School at Metcalf Field (TDC), and photographer for  the Toledo Television station, we have these  photos of Jibby and his special day!  Here’s Jibby in front of a C-47, like the kind used to rescue the U.S. airmen.  This plane was at the not-so-far away Yankee Air Museum.

  • Ready for take-off!
    The Truth About Draza Mihailovich!

  • Be sure to read about General Draza Mihailovich being honored in the U.S. Congress on the Helen Delich Bentley “page” found here on this website!  

    Mim Bizic

Who can believe the next events described here?  God bless the EAA #582 airmen from Metcalf Field in Toledo, Ohio!  The pilots, led by their President Bill Hilzel, gave of their time, treasures and talents.  They picked up several rescued airmen and me from various places around the USA and flew us to the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Monday, June 23, 2008, to meet Jibby and WTOL 11 reporter for Toledo’s News Leader, Jennifer Boresz.  It was an incredible experience!

Jibby and Clare are holding 2 different issues of my father’s magazine published in 1948 called AMERICAN SERB LIFE.  The day-by-day rescue of the airmen was documented in the diary of Nick Lalich that my father published in his short-lived publication due to monetary issues.  What a thrill it was for me to see them holding these!  It was living history at its best!

Remember the photo of the  airmen sleeping in a hay loft published in my father’s book up above?  The fellow in the middle is our Curtis (“Bud”) Diles shown here!  He wanted us to see the documentation he has on his Serb rescuers.  Bud has written many letters to the editors and has given several lectures on his debt of gratitude to the Serbian people, even during unpopular times.  He’s a true-blue friend!  Why?  He says his 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchldren wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his Serb rescuers! 

Here’s a good story—-one day Bud’s grandson came home and showed a TIME-LIFE book he had taken out of his school library to his mother with a photo of the airmen in the hayloft.  Imagine his surprise when Theresa, his mother, replied, “That’s your Grandfather in the middle!”

Can you guess  how I felt being next to these great heroes?  I’ve “known” Jibby since I was 7 years old. And I met Bud and Clare before, but I didn’t know until THIS day, that Bud was the man in the haystack!  Bud had us on a role as he joked, “Every day we risked our lives running from the enemy and almost starving to death, and this photo of “sleeping on the job” is my legacy?”  That’s why we’re all smiling!

 “……..and here’s anothing thing,” Bud Diles tells Jennifer while Jibby is all ears……

Jibby wants to make sure he gets a “good shot!”

Goodbye, Yankee Air  Museum!  What a great time!
(Middle, far left, is where all the action took place!) 

What a scene to remember!

Jibby in front-back left to right- Bud Diles, Carl Walpusk and Clare Musgrave!

++++++++++++++++++

Here’s a bit from History!

Bud Diles’ daughter, Theresa, remembered that this picture appeared in a 1995 issue of the American SRBOBRAN.  Note the movie we all saw:  Chetniks, the Fighting Guerrillas! (<—-Read review)

Here’s another review by Carl Savich—

http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/098.shtm

Mike Sudjovic, from California (far right above photo) has been collecting information about Operation Halyard for years!  The U.S. airman, G. B. Allin, the photographer for Operation Halyard, left him all of his original photographs when he passed away.  Interestingly enough, Bud Diles met Allinn at a Conference one year, almost by accident!

+++++++++++++++++

And one of my favorite photos!  Jibby says to stay tuned for more!  It’s not over yet!  WOW!

UPDATE AGAIN! 

December 7, 2008, Toledo, OH

The 180th Fighting Wing, Air National Guard

Recognition of Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian

This is a copy of the email I just sent to the WWII National Museum Headquarters, informing them of this wonderful program:

Dear Friends at the WWII Memorial Museum, A Christmas Present for You, TOO! 

 
I want to let you know that on Dec. 7, 2008, the OPERATION HALYARD mission was finally brought to the fore on U.S. Government military soil.  The place was the 180th Fighter Wing of Ohio’s National Guard in Toledo, Ohio.

The whole auditorium was packed for a Congressional presentation to Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian, radio man for the famed mission that was only recently declassified, and a book called the FORGOTTEN 500 was written about it.

From there, things started to snowball.

A member of the EAA#582 (Experimental Aircraft Association) read the book and shared it with another pilot. They found out that the radioman, Jibby, lived close to them.
Why, being airmen and being interested in Aviation History all their lives, why……they asked themselves, why did they not know about this?  How, if this is the largest rescue from behind Nazi Germany occupied lines in Yugoslavia could this be covered up for so long?

They started to make things happen.  The Toledo BLADE and TV Station WTOL joined in as interested community partners.

The Toledo based EAA#582  had a “Fly-by” for Jibby on Flag Day, June 14, 2008, which also just happened to be Father’s Day week-end.
 
Here was an American Hero if there ever was one that no one knew about, who helped save all of these 512 airmen so they could come home and become fathers and grandfathers.
The role of the Serbs, the people who rescued, fed and defended the airmen with their lives was briefly mentioned there too, when I appeared with my father’s magazines from 1948 which I talk about later in this letter.  On the field were 512 American flags, each one representing an American flier who was rescued and came home.

Not even two weeks later, several of the rescued American fliers, including a fellow who lives by me, tail gunner Carl Walpusk, and I were flown to Ypsilanti Air Museum where the men were interviewed by TV reporter, Jennifer Boresz.
Those clips professionally done by WTOL can be found on their TV site and are so interesting to hear.

But this latest tribute was out of this world.  Something I could never imagine happening, did!  It took place on U.S. Government military soil and the secret hushed-up story was revealed to all present, including so many of our young American airmen and women.  A band played inspirational music at the beginning.

Bill Hirzel, President of the EAA gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation by Dan Weise, also from the EAA.  I then gave a presentation on behalf of the Serbs who rescued, fed, and guarded the airmen, sometimes at GREAT cost to themselves and the expense of their own lives.
 
Next, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur spoke, followed by U.S. Representative Robert Latta.  Marcy Kaptur and OHIO led the way in making sure the WWII Memorial was built in Washington, DC.  Bob Latta was EXCELLENT in explaining the details of the bombing mission over the Ploesti Oil fields as he’s a true military historian too.

Then Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner spoke and presented Jibby with an Ohio flag.
Maj Gen Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. did a great job, also, in explaining the mission, followed by Col. Mark Bartman, another excellent presentation explaining the connections of the base with the activities of the day.
 
Jibby himself finally spoke, refusing to sit in a chair.  He was excellent in his remarks and saying how we owed an apology and a great deal of thanks to the Serbian people for what they did.

Bill David and Brian Mahon from the EAA who worked so hard to bring this day to fruition also spoke briefly.  They recognized the organizational contributions of Capt. Gary Bentley from the 180th Fighter Wing for his tremendous efforts also.

Bill Hirzel recognized others in the crowd, including V. Rev. V. Sokolovich, retired priest from Cleveland, who showed a photo of his father as the Priest confessor to General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik troops.  His father was killed by the Communists a few days after the mock trial of Draza Mihailovich because he was with Draza.  Another American Serb, Dr. Ljubomir Vujovic, came in from New York, representing the Tesla Memorial Society and spoke about life with the Chetniks. Mr. Dushan Mandich, representative of the American Chetniks, was also present.

I want you to know that I knew about this famous rescue from the time I was seven years old.  My father published the complete diary of OSS Capt. Nick Lalich, the person in charge of this mission, word for word, in my dad’s short-lived magazine AMERICAN SERB LIFE in the May, June issues of 1948.  Nick, Jibby and George “Gov” Musulin were always my real-life heroes.  I was so happy when the book finally came out last year.  After 60 years of being hushed up!

Well, I was almost delirious with happiness on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008.  It was all so exciting! 
 
From Nick Lalich’s diary, I know that on Dec. 7, 1944, five more YANKS were brought into their camp for rescue. There was a lull of 3 days before another 10 airmen showed up.  Day after day they awaited the final rescue, and finally on Dec. 27, 1944, the remaining troops were flown “home” to Bari, Italy, and the welcoming arms of OSS coordinator George Vuynovich, who helped organize this fantastic rescue.

I just want to shout this from the highest rooftops!  
It was such a wonderful affair people present didn’t realize that the supposedly 1/2 hour presentation went on for 2 hours, because everyone loved it!

This is a part of WWII history, and I wanted you to be aware of it.

I’m enclosing a amateur (my FIRST imovie effort) video of the day for you to see for yourselves…….
 
 
Thank you!  Mim Bizic
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Here’s Brian McMahon of the EAA#582 with Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor.  Brian worked hard on this program because he and Jibby went to the same high school and Brian wanted to ensure Jibby’s place in history!  Brian told the TV stations that a movie is next!

Beautiful shot!  Bill David (EAA Newsletter Editor and so much more!) Brian McMahon in a WWII uniform from his brother’s collection, and EAA#582 President Bill Hirzel.  To the far right is EAA#582 Dan Weise who has become a real student of this operation, and our Honoree, Arthur Jibilian! They all worked so hard to make this affair a success!  And it was!

 What a great day!  12/7/08!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

News Flash! Jibby receives greetings from young fans in Australia!

Lenora (6.5), Doris (2) and Helena (8)

Drawing of the Halyard Mission by Helena & Lenora.  God bless these young ones!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jibby answers:

I received the drawing that you girls sent.  WOW…..I am impressed!!  Thank you so much.  I showed it to many people and they are talking about putting it in THE AMERICAN SRBOBRAN. Again, thank you…..you are all beautiful girls, and I know that your parents are proud of you.
 
Big hugs
Arthur

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s a wonderful editorial by Bob Chirdon from

TV Station WTOL about Jibby’s event.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogsite on General Draza Mihailovich 3/13/09 MKB

THE HALYARD MISSION

By Lt. Com. Richard M. Kelly, USNR

Blue Book Magazine Vol. 83, No. 4

August 1946
 

“The thing that impressed me most about the set-up was the truly amazing security of the Chetniks soldiers and peasants. The American airmen had been assembled from an area covering many thousands of square miles.

Thousands of people knew of their presence in the area. They had been brought together at great risk and at a high cost by the Chetniks.

Men had been tortured to death and villages destroyed, by the Germans in an effort to locate them.

These poor suffering people, who had been deserted by the American and British governments, and who were under merciless attack from both the Germans and Tito’s Partisans, would have received more money than they could ever dream of earning in their entire lives by tipping off the Germans to the presence of the Americans.

But in spite of all that, not one American was betrayed. Their sense of honor and secrecy for the welfare of their beloved Americans was so great that they never even discussed their presence among themselves. Without this heartshaking loyalty, our entire mission would have been fruitless, and not one airman would have had a chance to escape. “

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Look what happened to our EMMY Nominee:

Jennifer Boresz,

June 7, 2009! 

First Place Award

for BEST FEATURE REPORTING 2009

from the Ohio Associated Press for her story:

THE HEROES OF OPERATION HALYARD. 

We’re all excited for Jennifer and wish her many, many more well-deserved awards! 

Not only the people in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, OH are singing her praises, but the WHOLE USA & MORE! Congratulations, Jennifer Boresz and also to your whole WTOL team of Toledo, Ohio

Also kudos once again to the unselfish EAA#582 airmen who made sure all the rescued airmen, Jibby and Jen got to the Yankee Air Museum for the Interview!  And me too! I’m so glad Carl Walpusk and I got to witness this event FIRST HAND!

My little American/Serbian flags are now famous!

Mim xoxoxo  We Love you, Jen!

(See Jennifer Boresz is all the photos above at the Yankee Air Museum in 2008!)

 

Jen wrote in an email:

“This is my first time being nominated for an Emmy and I am thrilled that it is for this story. Thanks again for all of your help and congratulations!”

Here’s what Jibby had to say:

“Dear Jen, the story has now reached the heart of the nation.  Thank you, thank you, so much.
 
Jen, I had a feeling that you were destined for great accomplishments…..and you are proving me right.
 
Kudos to both of you and WTOL!!!!  You may be assured that we will all do our best to keep this story “live” until Mihailovich’s name is cleared and the Serbs receive recognition for their care of our boys.”
 
God bless,
Art

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rescued Airman Curtis Diles of Dayton, Ohio,

wrote to me about Jen:

“Tonight, June 5, 2009, when I opened my email, my PC monitor lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Even with Jennifer’s news of being nominated for an Emmy.  If those “Forgotten 500” Airmen were still among the living, she would be a “Shoe-In!” 

I must tell you my reaction to her nomination.

As a twelve year old in my home in Portsmouth, Oh, i was a newspaper carrier and was delighted every time to see a News Story so important it demanded an EXTRA EDITION. 

The EXTRA caused a lot of excitement for everyone and also meant more money in my pocket.

Today, I would like to see an EXTRA EDITION printed in every newspaper in our country with the message:

READ ALL ABOUT IT!  During WWII the AAF ACRU known as “Operation HALYARD” along with the former Serbian leader Draza Mihailovich rescued more than 500 Airmen from beneath the noses of the German enemy.

Perhaps Jennifer’s nomination will act as a catalyst for Col. John Cappello’s coming story about Halyard.

Also, I can’t help but think…. “If spirits can smile, Capt. Nick Lalich is leading the way!”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Update:  Jennifer can be seen in the train movie,

UNSTOPPABLE

 where she fittingly plays the role of a TV announcer (3rd one.)

Congratulations, Jen!  We’re all proud of you!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“I.M. Draza Mihailovich (Murdered July 16, 1946)

by L. Aaronson, British Poet (1917-1948)

Much thanks to David Vuich and Aleksandra Rebic for sharing this find with us.

Where are the thunderers who once could speak


The Language of the Prophets, when the weak


Were broken and the good oppressed? Where are those


Whose words were cleansing fire, till there arose


The phoenix-armies from the martyrs’ dust


To make the word the deed, oppose the lust


Of tyrants and proclaim the prophets true?


Where is the gratitude our fathers knew


And sanctuary and penance for wrong power?


Did Milton fail the martyrs, Gladstone cower


Before the ruthless? Was the public pen


Careful of epithet? And public men —


Were they afraid to say: “Alas we erred


And now confess our error. Let the word


Go out, perhaps to save a soul and save


Our souls“? Today the coward and the knave


Are kings. These are mean times. If it be doom,


Our tongues, at least, are free and there is room


For utterance that salves us if not saves.


Why should we ape the silence of graves?


And even these have epitaphs as tongues.


Since power is dumb before the powerful wrongs


Let one small voice salute the Serbian.


With shame at first, then prayer for that brave man.


L. Aaronson
July 1946

Covered Up for Years to Appease Tito and His Communists.

David Martin published his book ALLY BETRAYED in 1946, debunking WWII propaganda and dealing with international mysteries.  The book asks the crucial questions:

  1. Why did the Allied press which had made a great hero of Mihailovich as a resister of Axis invaders of Jugoslavia begin to play him down after 1942?
  2. What was Tito’s past? And where was the radio station located that heralded his appearance in Yugoslavia?
  3. What decision was reached at Teheran with respect to Tito and Mihailovich?
  4. How was the ALLIED military intelligence about Jugoslavia falsified?
  5. Why did Churchill say of Jugoslavia, “I was deceived and badly informed.”

David Martin was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1914.  Before the war he wrote on Canadian affairs for Current History, The Nation, The New Republic, the New Leader and other journals.  He joined the Canadian Air Force in October, 1942, became a pilot and flew on the Burmese frontier, being Honorably discharged in 1946.

David Martin devoted his entire life to defending the truth and Mihailovich.

In his 1990 book THE WEB OF DISINFORMATION: CHURCHILL’S YUGOSLAV BLUNDER, David Martin fully uncovered the tragic tale “found in secret British files that were only recenty and inadvertently declassified.  He reveals that Churchill and others were deceived- by Communist moles and sypathizers who had infiltrated the military intelligence services.  The prime mover was the famous Cambridge spy set that included Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Macclean and “Sir” Anthony Blunt.  Martin names the “Fifth Man”: James Klugman, most brilliant mole of them all.”

The National Geographic TRAVELER magazine of March 2005 says Blunt’s exposure in 1979 as a Soviet spy, after being knighted in 1956 and appointed art adviser to the Queen, was a major embarrassment to the Crown.

The book flap description of the book THE PHILBY CONSPIRACY (1968) by Bruce Page, David Leitch and Phillip Knightley, states: “That a son of the British establishment could, during a thrity year career in his country’s secret service, at the same time be a dedicated Communist agent would seem too far-fetched even for fiction.

“And yet, Kim Philby, like those almost unbelievable spies Burgess and Maclean, IS real and his story is true. He was the link-man between the British service and the American Central Intelligence Agency from which position he was able to betray EVERY most important secret of Western intelligence.

“Stupid, credulous, smug and torpid as the Establishment may have been, it erred on the side of trust.” (John LeCarre, Foreward.)

++++++++++++++++++

I remember attending a 1991 Conference in Toronto entitled “Serbia: The Ally that Lost.” David Martin was one of the four main speakers. By this time, the distinguished journalist, political analyst and staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee suffered badly from Parkinson’s disease and could hardly stand, shaking badly.  His wife, Virginia, sitting next to him, offered to read his speech.  He declined.  Writhing in pain as he stood, he threw his shoulders back and proclaimed that he OWED it to the Serbs and Draza Mihailovich to read it himself! 

“Vejcnaja Pamjat” to a wonderful man!

Airmen rally for Mihailovich

These “Yanks” above were showing their gratitude at the Stevens Hotel rally: John Scroggs of Kansas City, Robert Eckman, David O’Connell, Don Parkerson, John Fox, Peoria; Capt. Nick Lalich, Cleveland; Fred Zuecher, Milwaukee; William Rogers, Manteno; Thomas Pettigrew, David Labissoniers, Milwaukee; Del Salmon, Charles Cracz, Neal Janosky, Milwaukee.

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Charles Gracz who then lived on 1411 N. Bosworth Avenue, was quoted in the Chicago HERALD AMERICAN on Thursday April 4, 1946 as saying, “If ever there was anyone loyal to the highest American traditions, it is General Mihailovich and his Chetniks.

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The Evening Star, Wash, DC 4/29/1946

“The 20 United States fliers were accompanied by wo Canadian veterans.  They represent 600 airmen rescued by Mihailovich’s forces. 

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Donald Parkerson, Chicago Vet and his wife check out his Chetnik shoe, grateful to be home, thanks to the Serbs!

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Oaklander Ex-Lieutenant Allen Carrico helped wreck the German Supply Train with the Chetniks and more! (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/29/1946.

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“I’m alive today because of Mihailovich,” former flier David J. O’Connell, Jr, age 24.

“When briefed, we were told to expect Marshall Tito’s men to help, instead, it was General Mihailovich’s men who saved them and kept them under cover, moving them from village to village and finally assembling the group to carve out an air strip.”

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The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph on April 3, 1946 reported in the paper how BOTH these Pennsylvania State Troopers were rescued by Mihailovich and his Chetniks:

Virginia Walpush remembered the story and quickly found it for me in a book of the gathered stories of the Airmen.  “Here,” she said.  Here’s your U.S. B-24 Pilot Paul Mato and his waist gunner, Carl Walpusk!”

 Thank you, Jibby, on behalf of ALL of us!

Here’s looking at  super  American-Serb History!

Jibby always  looks out for the Serbs!  I’ve heard him personally tell about the debt of gratitude America owes the Serbs MANY times myself during Interviews and talks with non-Serbs.  He’s a true friend!

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June 23, 2008

Yankee Air Museum

Here’s Jennifer interviewing Carl  Walpusk, Jibby,  Clare Musgrave and Curt (Bud) Diles, 3 of the 512 airmen rescued by the OSS team where Jibby was the radioman!  They’re shown here in front of a C-47, the type of aircraft that took the American airmen back home!

Nick Petrovich, 18 yr. old guard! 

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Mim’s Trophy:

One of the 512 American Flags (each representing an American Airman rescued in Operation Halyarad) – Metcalf Airfield in Toledo- that was in the field behind the podium.  The flag from Jibby was for the American Airman in Mim’s hometown rescued by Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks, and the OSS: Carl Walpusk! Read more about Carl above!

Flag for Carl from Jibby!   Photo by Savo Subotich who I met that day for the first time!

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 This incredible interview was aired so appropriately on July 4, 2008, on the 5:00 PM  news KTOL-TV. 

Jennifer Boresz and the cameraman and all the people at the Yankee Air Museum were wonderful to all of us!

Jennifer,  Jibby and the Airmen: Carl, Bud and Clare!To see and hear this historical interview, click on this site below.  You are in for a real PATRIOTIC treat!

 http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=862

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Oh, our Jennifer, our Jennifer!

 Here’s her BLOG about that day in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

God bless her!

The Serbs love YOU, too, Jen!

http://www.toledo11.com/blogs/index.php?blog=19&title=the_heroes_of_operation_halyard&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 

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I was happy to see the Serbs getting some long overdue credit. Hopefully this will be the start of something.

Rade V., Pittsburgh 

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Update!  9/18/08 MKB

41 Ohio National Guardsmen receive traditional Serbian welcome of bread & salt, Sept. 62008 at Pranjani!

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One of the greatest pleasures I had while on my recent trip to Serbia was meeting Lt. Col. John Cappello, USAF Air Attache´, his wife, and members of his staff at the home of Ms. Jennifer Brush, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the USA in Belgrade. 

There, I was able to present him with a copy of the American SRBOBRAN, that featured 4 pages of the Tribute to OSS Radioman, Arthur Jibilian, in Toledo, Ohio that I had written up, along with the guest reporter, Jennifer Boresz, of WTOL.  It was Jennifer who interviewed several of the rescued airmen in Ypsilanti, Michigan for her TV station.

Being in the Air Force, Lt. Col. Cappello immediately recognized the importance of Operation Halyard and is currently working on several projects (Museum/Library, etc.) to help the Serbs from that area as a   “Thank You”   for their sacrifices.

  He also helped organize the following event!

On September 6, 41 members of the Ohio National Guard participated in the U.S. – Serbia State Partnership Program, arriving in Serbia on an Ohio Air National Guard aircraft. The Ohio delegation included members of the Ohio National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, the Ohio Air National Guard, and Senior Non Commissioned Officers from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard. The Guardsmen met their counterparts from the Serbian Armed Forces and participated in joint activities, including an exercise that simulates the support by military forces to a municipality following a natural disaster.

The joint exchanges provided the opportunity to share information between personnel of the Serbian military and the Ohio National Guard and to develop future opportunities for ongoing State Partnership Program activities.


On September 7th, the delegation had the honor to commemorate the historical military cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia during World War II and visit the village of Pranjani, the location of the Halyard Mission.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, also accompanied the delegation.

Operation Halyard:

“During the summer of 1944 approximately 1, 000 U.S. airmen bailed out over German-occupied Yugoslavia, a significant number of them landing in Serbia. In a series of daylight and night airlifts, a team made up of troops of General Mihailovic’s Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) evacuated over 300 U.S. airmen from the village of Pranjani. The rescue of the U.S. airmen involved small unit actions against German troops and put at risk entire Serb villages that sheltered the U.S. personnel. U.S. airmen bear testimony to the significant sacrifices of local Serb villagers who fed, cared for and protected them, in some cases up to six months.”

The Halyard Mission is considered one of the greatest rescues of American airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare.


Thank you, Col. Cappello!

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December 7, 2008

Photos from Toledo, OHIO

Jibby receives WWII framed poster from U.S. Cong. Marcy Kaptur, who, along with her fellow Ohioans led the way for the memorial to be builtIn the background is her Congressional Aide, Dan Foote.
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Oh, the excitement with Dan and the Military Band Members! 

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The Sokolovich family had a story to share. V.Rev.Fr. V. Sokolovich’s father was Priest Confessor to General Draza Mihailovich.  He was killed a few days after Draza’s mock trail for his beliefs. 

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And here is the Man of the Hour being interviewed-Arthur Jibilian. Sitting next to him is his wife, Jo. 

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Bob Chirdon is the General Manager of WTOL. He gave an excellent editorial on TV and you can hear it here below.  Tremendous job!  we were all so grateful for this!

 Fremont Veteran to get Congressional Award

and here’s the actual

WTOL coverage of the Event

In this film above, Brian McMahon, the organizer of this event, says the next step is to make a movie and his top choices for the film are Harrison Ford, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise!

You’ll see how Brian and Jibby went to the same High School, hence his initial interest! 

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U.S. Congressman Bob Latta was VERY impressive with his knowledge of the importance of the Ploesti Oil Fields to the Allied success and his ability to explain the mission so well.

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Ohio State Senators Teresa Fedor and Mark Wagoner brought an Ohio flag for Jibby.  It was great to learn that Teresa was a former teacher.  

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Here’s Maj. Gen. Harry “AJ” Feucht, Jr. giving yet another award to Jibby.

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Fr. Sokolovich’s father, who was one of the 40 priests made saints after being killed for being with the Chetniks.

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Bless this young Guardsman. She said, “I want to be just like you and have all the vim and energy you do when I get to be your age!”

And I want to have Jibby’s energy and mind at HIS age!

We ALL had a good time!

I LOVE OHIO!

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AUSTRALIA KNOWS TOO!

Here’s a brief explanation from Helena’s, Lenora’s and Doris’ dad about the card to Jibby:

My name is Dragan R. and my wife’s name is Tihana. I was born in Sydney but lived in Serbia (Village called Cestereg) since I was six month old baby. I came back to Australia when I was 23 years old. My wife Tihana lost everything in a War. She was born in Hodbina, village near Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’re both Serbians and we celebrate St.Nicholas as our “Slava”(Family saint). Our daughter’s names are Greek’s origin in respect to the people(Greeks) who helped Serbia through the most difficult times in recent history.
 
As I said, I grew up in a Serbia (it was Yugoslavia then) and we as kids learned that Chetniks were on German’s side in the second World War and that Partisans were the only good ones. I always loved history at school, l and I’ve started to read the books here and I couldn’t believe what I’ve found during my research. It made me angry to find out that I’ve been brainwashed all my life. The biggest proof of all was to see how Chetniks proudly marching with our allies every Anzac day here in Australia.  Sadly, most of the brainwashed Serbian people are so ignorant and lazy to do research on their own and they still believe what they’ve been told as a kids.
 
During my research on the internet I came up on some articles by Aleksandra Rebic and Julia Gorin about “Halyard Mission”. I read all the articles about it and I was so proud of my people who risked and sacrificed their lives to save all those pilots. On Julia’s web site I’ve found the article about Arthur Jibilian and I’ve asked if she could give me his email address. As we all know Arthur, he was very happy to answer all my questions and inquiries about “Halyard Mission”. He even sent me all his photographs and letters from that time. To be honest, before I’ve get to know Arthur and Julia I was very angry at American people for what they did to us but then I’ve realized that true Americans are people like Arthur and his family, Julia and all those honest and brave American pilots who fought for the truth all those years. Thanks to them, my kids will grow up with love and respect, not with hatred.
 
I’ve told my daughters story about “Halyard Mission” and asked them if they can draw a Christmas card for Arthur. They come up with very cute drawing, and I’m very happy that Arthur liked it so much. I didn’t have that privilege to meet Arthur in person but I feel like I’d know him all my life. I’m very honored to call him a friend and I hope that I can fulfill my promise and make the film about “Halyard Mission”.
 Merry Christmas/ Happy New Year!

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 Update:  November 18, 2010


Look for this January 1, 2011 issue of Air & Space

SMITHSONIAN Magazine

to find more info on General Draza Mihailovich, his Serbian Chetniks, and the 500 rescued Airmen in an article entitled:

THE GREAT ESCAPE

by Phil Scott,

pp. 52-59.

“For U.S. airmen trapped in Yugoslavia during World War II, building a secret airstrip was their only way out.”

Thank you to Caroline Sheen and Roger Mola and of course author Phil Scott, of the Air & Space Magazine, but also to the photo contributors:

Lt. Col. John Cappello,

Ted Connolly

Debi Jibilian

Aleksandra Rebic

 and Mim Bizic

Here’s the link to the magazine’s website that features the article:

http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/The-Great-Escape.html

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George Vujnovich in 2004, in Serbia.  On Oct. 17, 2010, George Vujnovich was recognized by the U.S. Government with the BRONZE STAR for all of his efforts in rescuing the 500+ U.S. Airmen from his post in Bari, Italy.


Capt. Vujnovich’s daughter, Xenia, speaking about her Dad at the award ceremonies in NYC on Oct. 17, 2010.

To view the image larger, just click the bottom right hand corner of the photo above.

October 13, 2015:

NEW YouTube Documentary on the Life of George Vujnovic and the Heroic Rescue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

Be sure to see this! <3

Called: “The Last Hero of the Halyard Mission.”

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Click on the lower right hand side of this image to read all about Milton Friend going to Serbia to testify about General Draza Mihailovich.


From the TEMPLE Daily Telegram, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

AIRMAN SEEKS JUSTICE FOR LASTE SERB GENERAL

Belgrade, Serbia (AP)

An American whose U.S. Air Force bomber was shot down over the Balkans during WWII is on a new mission in the region:  Correct a historic injustice against a former Serb guerrilla leader.

In the summer of 1944, Lt. Col. Milton Friend’s B-24 Liberator was downed by German fighter planes over central Serbia.  He said Gen. Draza Mihailovich saved his life in the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines during a war.

The former Air Force navigator, 88, is to testify at a Belgrade court today at a hearing to exonerate the Serb general whom Yugoslav communists sentenced as a Nazi collabor and executed in 1946.

“Mihailovich was “not a villian, but a hero!” Friend said Thursday.

About 500 U.S. pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbian between 1942 and 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Adolf Hitler’s oil fields in Romania, according to U.S. Government field station files.

Along with the Americans, some 100 British, French and Canadian airmen also were saved in the rescue operation.

Friend said the airmen were hidden in villages by Serbian guerrilla fighters, known as Chetniks, were were led by Mihailovich.  The prewar military officer launched the first Balkan resistance against the Nazis in 1941.

(Read the complete article by clicking on the photo image of the article above.)

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UPDATE:  Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for this post about the 71st Anniversary Celebration of the Rescue Mission that took place

September 25, 2015:

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2015/10/halyard-mission-71st-anniversary.html

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 New Documentary onGeorge Vujnovic on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbMOglryTKs&feature=share

More @ Draza Mihailovich:

Going through some saved American SRBOBRANS, I found this interesting piece republished on July 17, 1996, p. 9:  In Memory of General Draza Mihailovich, by Jake Allex Mandusich, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee……

 

Chicago, July 20, 1946

TO:  Col. E. C. Lapping, Managing Editor of the Chicago Herald-American, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Sir:

    This is a letter of thanks to your great publisher, Hon. William Randolph Hearst, to you and your great newspaper, The Chicago Herald-American, for the stand taken in behalf of Yugoslavia’s new martyr, General Draza Mihailovich.

    He was lynched (Wednesday) July 17, (1946) by Tito and his Communist followers, as your paper indicated on its editorial page Saturday, July 20.  This editorial, defending the rights of Gneral Mihailovich and showing how our government failed in saving him, will be a historic document in the eyes of all freedom loving Yugoslavs, who are still fighting and praying to oust the Communist aggressors from their homeland.

    I am writing this letter as a citizen of the United States and for which I fought in WWI as a sergeant in the United States Army.  For my services, my country of adoption bestowed on me the Congressional Medal of Honor.  I also received all the allied decorations of the last war.

    But I am writing this letter also because of the death of Gen. Mihailovich reached me right at home and in my heart.

    Here’s the reason.  My brother, Dushan, fought side-by-side with Gen. Mihailovich, and my blood-brother was killed as a Chetnik when he was tossing hand grenades at Nazi tanks invading my beloved former homeland.

    Also, my two nephews died fighting against the Nazis.  And because of this, and because my relatives in Yugoslavia refused to recognize the Communist rule, Tito took away their rights of citizenship.

    I felt that when Tito sentenced Gen. Mihailovich, he also sentenced my brother, Dushan, who lost his life fighting all the Nazis.  Was my brother guilty and all the American boys who fought the Nazis across the sea?

    The day General Mihilovich was executed by Tito’s forces will go down in Yugoslavia’s history as a day of ignominy, a day that will never be forgotten by those who are fighting for freedom in Yugoslavia.

    It’s too bad that our government did not listen to Mr. Hearst’s warnings.  Perhaps if our government had insisted and had warned Tito to give Gen. Mihailovich a fair trial, Gen. Mihailovich would have been living today.

    All we Serbs–we Americans of Serbian ancestry– beg now, after Mihailovich’s death, to at least give the people of Yugoslavia a fair chance to choose their own government under the provisions of the Atlantic Charter and the San Francisco Charter.

    And we also wish to know why doesn’t our government find out why Tito’s forces are not persecuting and punishing (as they did General Mihailovich), the Ustashi and their leader, Ante Pavelic, who killed thousands of innocent people in Yugoslavia and were backed by Hitler and Mussolini?

    Keep up the good fight for freedom and justice to all peoples of the world, Mr. Hearst! 

                                     Jake Allex Mandusich


This photo is from the site of the Home of Heroes.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/states/pages_af/allex_jake.html 

     Click on the above site to read more.

     

 

In his report to the Christian Science Monitor on April 21, 1941, R. H. Markham wrote: 

“The Serbs are the kind of people who succumb fighting and not fawning.  They first met the invading Turk in the fourteenth century.  They first defied Sultanic masters in the nineteenth century.  They, first of all southeast European people-except the Greeks-refused supinely to place their heads in Nazi yokes.  As the centuries pass, the Serbs will sing of this defiance.  All succeeding generations will rejoice that their fathers in 1941 dared defy oppressors.  And men who love freedom, during all the coming ages, will think of the Serbs as they do of the Spartans at Thermopylae.  Let him who knows whether Socrates was wise in not running away, say whether the Serbs were wise in refusing to say ‘Heil Hitler.’”

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 Poster Print made by Mike Sujdovic
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Drazin Duh Govori:  Draza’s Soul Speaks
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One of the BEST books written on the subject!
This one was given to Milan Karlo by Nick Lalich, who is featured prominently in the book, published 1968.
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This photo from the SRBOBRAN highlights a portion of the HALYARD MISSION EXHIBIT that was on display at the Serbian Heritage Museum in Windsor, Canada, featuring items from the Gacesa/Bizic collections and more.  It was put together by Museum Director, Dr. Stanislava Markovich and her assistant, Mrs. Svetlana Miskovic. 
 
The first photo’s caption said: “An article on the rescue appeared in the March 26, 1946 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The paper states:  ‘So finally, the 15th Air Force sent Lt. Musulin and Capt. Lalich to contact Gen. Mihailovich.  They parachuted into Yugoslavia.  Gen. Mihailovich at once sent out word for the American flyers to be brought in.  They came afoot, in carts, any old way.  With the help of Mihailovich and 1,000 of his people, an air strip was built in seven days and seven nights.  And in the first 12 hours, 288 American airmen were flown back to their own lines—not to mention Italians, Frenchmen and Russians.”  (The rescue continued much longer.)
 
Another part of the article talks about the frightful Nazi reprisals.  “Every time a German was killed, 100 Yugoslavs (Serbs) died.  In one town alone, Kragujevac in Serbia, 3,600 men, women and children were slaughtered.” 
 
Also on display at the museum at the time, were notecards made from children’s art from the Srpska Krajina and Republic of Srpska on loan from the New York Belgrade Society.  The museum was selling postcards of selected scenes from the exhibit for a donation of $10.00 plus postage.  This was one way we tried to help our Serbian children whose needs were all but forgotten by the rest of the world.
 
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Dorothy Paunovich’s Family Photos
Sent:  9/8/08 
 

Serbian Chetniks under the command of Capt. Zvonko Vuckovich.  2nd from left, top row-Donald J. Smith, American airman; Top row, man touching his hair-Charlie Davis, American airman; Kneeling, 3rd from left, Mihailo Paunovich, Chetnik. 
 

Mihailo Paunovich and 2 others at Flight School.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Mihailo and his Flight Instructor  
Mihailo and his daughter, Eleanore, then Captain  (now Colonel) in the U.S. Air Force!
 
Update:  4.23.09  Going through some old papers, I found that U.S. General Donald Smith, the airman rescued by Col. Eleanore Paunovich’s father in 1944, was an Honorary Guard at the Funeral of King Peter II in Libertyville, IL.  Supposedly, King Peter II was the first Monarch buried on U.S. soil.
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CHECK OUT THE LATEST ON THE RESCUE MISSION!
Escondido, California
THE PAPER by editor Lyle E. Davis
 

Thank you, Mr. Lyle E. Davis!
 
 
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Here’s a wonderful WWII website from the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will get you into the “feel” of WWII with the sirens, codes, quizzes, and so much more.  This is using technology in a wonderful way to teach students more about math, science and history!
 


If you like codes, you’ll find a great one here to help stump your friends!  It’s a fun learning experience! I liked venturing into the Photography “Dark Room” and listening to WWII questions on the “Radio.”

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From Aleksandra Rebic, who got the info from Mirko Blesich, who found the article in Major Borislav J. Todorovich’s book called “A Forgotten Army.”

http://www.generalmihailovich.com/2010/11/forgotten-army-of-mihailovich-us.html

Honorable Hugh Butler before the U.S. Senate
February 12, 1945
 

U.S. Senator from Nebraska 1941-1954
 
“There is no blinking at the fact that a state of civil war exists in Yugoslavia. That gallant land which was the first in southeastern Europe to challenge the monstrous power of Hitler’s war machine is now torn in two camps. There is the Communist domain, ruled over by Tito who has just refused the requests of the British and American Governments to allow British and American correspondents to see for themselves what is going on there. And there is the camp of Mihailovich, who is pleading for Allied missions and press representatives to come and see for themselves what he and his people stand for.

“Above all, we owe it to the American people to let them know what the 500 American airmen have found out, what has long been known but buried in certain high bureaus in Washington, namely, that in southern Europe there stands ready an army of over 300,000 men, eager to join the fight against the common enemy and to shorten the war, if only we would give them guns and ammunition and perhaps some food rations. And let us remember that THIS FORGOTTEN ARMY is fighting not for communism, but for self-government and for freedom.”
 
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Here is the Hearst Newspapers Editorial of March 29, 1946

    “A shameful betrayal.  If the United States Government does less than its utmost to prevent the planned murder of Gen. Draja (Draza) Mihailovich by Tito’s Communists, it will have committed an act of betrayal that the American people will have to remember with shame forever….. General Mihailovich was our firend and ally….Mihailovich’s only offense is that he resisted communist Russia in defense of our country’s freedom.”

Click to read more about William Randolph Hearst, to whom Jake Allex Mandusich wrote on the Wikipedia site below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst 

 

Ally Betrayed

Hold to your cause with God, and the people will hold to that cause because it means freedom, and without freedom a man is better dead.”

Draza Mihailovich 

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Hitler called the spontaneous uprising of the Serbs against the Germans “primitive simplicity of their minds.”  Leigh White, author of The Long Balkan Night (1946) spoke in New York in Freedom House, October 23, 1942:

  “Hitler was right, but not in quite the sense he intended.  They still retain the primitive virtues and the simple dignity which many of the more sophisticated peoples have lost; people who were not too civilized to quibble over the price of their national honor, who were not too civilized to have fought against the German and Italian aggressors even though they knew they could never win.  At one time, I wondered if Yugoslavia’s national honor, if any country’s honor, could possibly be worth the price the Yugoslavs so willingly paid.  Like most people, I’ve done a lot of thinking in the last year or two.  And it’s taken me a year to understand what the peasants of Yugoslavia understood instinctively; that national honor has no price; that it cannot be measured in terms of any currency, even the currency of blood.  The lesson of Yugoslavia is simply this: that there are many things worse than death; that many times it is preferable to die;  and that it is always preferable to die than compromise the national honor.”

    Quoting David Martin:  “At one stroke the revolution of March 27 disrupted Germany’s economic hinterland, invalidated her dispositions, disorganized her timetable and destroyed the myth of the Nazi New Order.  And, what is perhaps most important, the example of this small nation defying the might of the unconquered Wehrmacht—preferring all of the horrors of war and subjugation to the loss of its spiritual freedom—did more than anything else up until that time to inspire the conquered peoples of Europe to resist.

    “Instead of incorporating Yugoslavia peacefully into the New Order, Nazis were compelled to deal with it as an enemy nation.  Instead of adding to their reserves of available manpower, they were compelled to divert thirty-three divisions for the conquest of Yugoslavia and to maintain an army of occupation that included eight or nine German divisions and a somewhat larger number of satellite divisions.  Instead of launching their attack on Russia in mid-May, as soon as the roads had hardened, they were compelled to postpone it for almost five whole weeks of the strategically priceless dry weather season.”

    “The Germans were able to overcome the Yugoslav army in twelve days,” he continued.  “But the revolution of March 27 may have cost them the war.”

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Read the tribute Alexandra Rebic wrote in Sloboda’s LIBERTY magazine (the Official Publication of the Serbian National Defense Council in America) in their July 25, 2000 edition, in memory of the famed General.

http://www.snd-us.com/Liberty/sm_1774.htm 

 

Read what HistoryNet-supposedly the World’s Largest History Magazine publisher-said about the Rescue  Behind Enemy Lines here:

http://www.historynet.com/rescue-behind-enemy-lines.htm/5 

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 Arthur Jibilian, the OSS radioman who helped rescue 513 U.S. Airman saved by the Serbs,  remembers sitting around the campfires at night with the Chetniks and Draza Mihailovich and the U.S. airmen singing this song before they got picked up from behind German-occupied enemy lines. 

Jibby said he never did learn what it meant, but always enjoyed singing it.  Milan Opacich translated this for us:

OKO NAS SU ZGARISTA PUSTA
( Around us are the burned and forsaken)
I ZIDOVI CRNI I SIVI
(With walls that are black and gray)

Chorus: OVU PESMU IZ NASIH USTA
(This song out of our mouths)
PEVAJU MRTVI NE ZIVI
(Sing the dead not the living)

A SAD BRACO PUNIMO CASE
(And now brothers we fill up the glasses)
DA U BLAZIMO SMRTI GORCINU
(So that we can spite death’s bitterness)

Chorus: URA ZA CETNIKE NASE
(Hooray for our Chetniks)
KOJI CE SUTRA DA GINU
(Who tomorrow will die)

U BOJ POLAZIMO SMELO
(Into the battle we go daringly)
DA OSVETIMO BRACU SVOJU
(To get revenge for our brothers)

Chorus: JER KOD KUCE OSTAJU ONI
(Because those left at home are only)
KOJI SE SMRTI BOJE
(Those who are afraid of death)

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Dorothy Paunovich of St. Sava’s in Merrillville, wrote: “My father-in-law, Mihailo Paunovich, was a Chetnik involved in the rescue efforts.  He became close friends with a Charlie Davis and a Donald Smith, but after they said their good-byes, he never knew what happened to them, until he was listening to a radio advertisement for an upcoming Vidovdan program in Chicago in the early 1970’s.  He heard that a General Donald F. Smith was going to be the main speaker and that caught his attention. He didn’t think it could be the one he had taken care of, but asked his daughter to call to O’Hare and ask if this Donald Smith was shot down and taken care of, and saved by Serbian Chetniks.  When the secretary responded with a “Yes,” Mihailo said, “Put that S.O.B. on the phone!” as he grabbed the phone from his daughter.  They both cried tears of joy and found out that they lived only about 60 miles from each other.  Maj. Gen. Donald Smith lived in Arlighton Heights, IL, and Mihailo lived in Crown Point, IN.  The very next Sunday, we enjoyed a Serbian feast at my father-in-law’s home.  Gen. Smith was stationed at O’Hare, in charge of the Illinois Air National Guard, and Mihailo was a successful business man, owning a Shell Gas Station in Gary.  The two kept in close touch, enjoyed many meals together, Slavas, weddings, etc. until illness set in.

Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich, General Donald J. Smith, and Mihailo Paunovich.
 
Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and Donald Smith. 

Finding each other after 30 years! Charlie Davis, Mihailo Paunovich, and (American General!) Donald Smith!
 ++++++++++++++++++

General  Daniel (“Chappie”) James and Mihailo at NORAD.
 
Read about the VERY famous
General Daniel Chappie James, Jr.  by clicking the link above.  He was the FIRST African American promoted to the rank of 4 Star General. 
He was another of the famous Tuskeegee Air Men.
The Tuskeegee Airmen were said to have flown cover for the planes that came in and rescued the airmen in Operation Halyard.
++++++++++++++++++ 
 Most of us are familiar with the TIME magazine cover with General Draza Mihailovich, but here are two more sites to check out, courtesy of our Patty Martinovich (formerly of Chicago) in Vancouver:
 
 
 
++++++++++++++++++
Open letter—April 9, 1999
To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia

“We Found Out The Truth About the Serbs…When We Were Shot Down”
World War II Rescued American Airmen Defend Serbs

By +Richard L. Felman
 
(from Aleksandra Rebic’s blogsite, see below)


(from Over 500 MlAs Saved By The Serbian People During WWII

During World War II, we were in the Army Air Corps list as “Missing in Action” in the very same area you are now serving.  If we may, we would like to relay to you a frank, soldier-to-soldier message about our personal experience while there—something which politicians who sent you there have not told you and something which you have not read or seen in the anti-Serb media.

In 1944, the members of our committee were flying bombing missions out of Italy over Southern Europe.  During that time over 500 of us were shot down over enemy-occupied Yugoslavia and saved from certain death by the Serbian people.  Ours was the greatest rescue of American lives from behind enemy lines in history but has been kept under wraps all these years because of pressure from foreign sources. [Emphasis added]

While we were there, those of us who were wounded were given whatever medical supplies they had even at the deprivation of their own troops.   If there was one piece of bread in the house, or one egg, it went to the American airmen while the Serb went hungry.

If there was one bed or one blanket, it went to us while the Serb slept on the bare ground.  No risk of sacrifice was too great to insure our safety and well being.  One experience which is forever seared in my memory is the time a village with 200 women and children was burned to the ground by the Germans because the Serbs would not tell them where they were hiding us.  To this day, I can smell the terrible stench of their burning flesh.  One does not forget such things.

The most incredible part of our rescue was that before each mission, our bomber crews were briefed by the highest levels of American intelligence that if shot down over Yugoslavia, we were to stay away from the Serbian people as they were collaborating with the Germans and “cutting off the ears of American airmen” before turning them over. Only after we were shot down did we find out the amazing thoroughness with which the truth about the Serbs was being distorted. [Emphasis added]

Further compounding this deception is the fact that while the Serbs were our allies in WWII, Croatians and Muslims (who we are favoring today) were allies of the Nazis, shooting at us and responsible for killing many of our fellow American fliers.  In view of the lies we were told about the Serbs during World War II, we could not help but wonder if our foreign policy there today is the same anti-Serb bias we encountered 52 years ago.

Could our career diplomats sacrifice former friends and reward former enemies in the name of political expediency?  Could it be because in the world community there are over one billion Muslims and only 9 million Serbian Orthodox Christians with the same proportionate power in the global economy?  Could it be because the Serbs have no oil wells and no unlimited oil money?

Could it be because the Croatians and Muslims outspend the Serbs 50 to one on lobbyists, media firms and campaign contributions?  Could this be why, “atrocities” are manufactured to make the Serbs look bad while gaining sympathy for their opponents?  Could this be why the Serbs are branded “aggressors” in land they have lived on for over 600 years?

Could our policy have something to do with the fact there are 540 members of Congress, none of whom are Orthodox Christians?  Could the State Department’s bitter bias, against General Draza Mihailovich, the anti-Communist guerrilla leader who saved us, be based on the fact he was a Serb?

Could these be the reasons the State Department has covered up the truth of our rescue all these years and opposed our petition to express   gratitude for saving over 500 American lives (a petition which is supported by the 8 million veterans of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign  Wars and the Air Force Association and which has been approved by the United States Senate.)?

Could it be these are the reasons the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has also denied our petition by saying to us here are “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” who oppose it?

Are we mad?  You can bet your next month’s paycheck that we are mad!  We did not leave our families, risk our lives and watch our buddies get their arms, legs and heads blown off so that “ethnic groups in Yugoslavia” could tell us what we could or could not do in our own country.

Now that the spring thaw has set in, temperatures and tempers will start to rise in the volatile area you now find yourselves.  All we ask is that in your dealings with the local people you be made aware of the eyewitness experience of your fellow comrades-in-arms.  By speaking out now we have nothing to gain except a burning moral passion to tell the truth, a sworn duty to protect our national honor, a patriotic desire to express heart felt gratitude to those on foreign soil who save American lives while they are fighting in defense of our glorious country.

Now that you have been sent to foreign soil and asked to risk your lives we feel you should know the truth and not be “suckered in” by the rhetoric of highly paid public relations firms, foreign lobbyists and self-serving politicians who know absolutely nothing of the region’s history.

We might also add that had it not been for the Serbian people, Air Force General Donald J. Smith, our chairman and one our rescued airmen, would not have survived the war and been able to dedicate 40 years of honorable service to his country.

Had it not been for the Serbian people, technical Sgt. Curtis “Bud” Diles, another of our airmen, would not be alive today in Dayton, Ohio, enjoying retirement with his four children and 12 grandchildren.

There are hundreds of us with stories just like those.   Some of the greatest testimony to the many sacrifices made on our behalf us the many thousands of American children who are alive today solely because the Serbian people saved over 500 of their grandfathers during World War II.  Some of them could very well be serving with you today in Bosnia.

I was one of three rescued American airmen who returned last year to the former Yugoslavia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of victory in Europe with the people who saved us and to visit the cow pasture that  served as a landing strip from which we were rescued.  The most moving  experience of our sentimental trip was being cheered by over 50,000 Serbs who gathered at a mountain top to welcome us and who kept chanting “USA, USA”.

As American military men, we have a proud tradition of “duty, honor and country” to uphold and a fierce sense of loyalty to those with whom we fought side by side in combat.  We never forget their kindness nor do we return their battlefield sacrifices for us by bombing their women and children.  The Serbian people helped us when we were desperate and in trouble. Now that the situation is reversed we can do no less.

Please keep these untarnished truths in mind as you now serve our country and all it stands for, and may God bless you all as we pray for your safe return.

This war will not last long.  If for no other reason, it appears the US Forces are already running low on missiles.  And, Clinton’s blustering threats of “escorting the Albanian Kosovars back to their home” is silliness.

So far Clinton’s war has failed to even find ONE of Milosevic’s mobile units to shoot at.  How does he plan on personally escort back the reported 1,000,000 Albanians his spokespersons claim have fled the country?   The Serbs tied up 10 divisions of Hitler’s Crack troops—even after they lost the war.

If he continues the kind of bombing he conducted last couple of nights, he is going to lose the humanitarian war on CNN.  —Pictures of mothers and newborn premature babies being evacuated from the hospital 100 yards from the Interior Ministry’s spectacular blaze, a father on the street being interviewed saying it was “easy for Clinton to drop bombs on the children from the sky—but we will see what kind of man he is when he comes to our soil” or the flames from a residential area hit in last night’s bombing raids, are far more dramatic and horrifying than watching Albanian refugees who are riding trains to the border and walking across.

Pictures of bombs on civilian targets.  So far this week, over 1000 people are reported to have died so far in the bombing raids. That is a far higher death toll than Christiane Amanpour has been able to muster up in her drive to sell the Albanian side to a jaded, suspicious American public.

The world is seeing the results of the bombs.  The effort to portray the Serbs, as US News and World Report does in its April 12, 1999, issue on “Balkan Hell” as crazed killers is largely verbal so far.

Stories of “summary executions,” US News and World Report noted, were hard to “prove” but are “quite credible given the Serbs’ vicious record.  These stories are being challenged by those, such as Col. Felman, USAF Ret., who have had personal experiences with the Serbs.

We are in a whole new kind of warfare, folks, and it appears that Milosevic has pretty much won it. It already sounds like the Clinton administration is trying to figure out who it can blame for the debacle.

(Now deceased….)
    Richard L. Felman Major USAF (Ret), President
    National Committee of American Airmen
    Rescued by General Mlhailovich, Inc.
    PO Box 17478
    Tuscon, Arizona 85731
 

WWII, Draza Mihailovich & Operation Halyard, Page 3

Over 500 U.S. Airmen were saved by the SERBS!

 “V” for VICTORY!  

V … _

 “Zora puca, bice dana!”


Click on lower right hand corner to enlarge letter above.

The book FREE YUGOSLAVIA CALLING by Dr. Svetislav-Sveta Petrovitch, was written in 1941.  Fiorello Henry LaGuardia, the 99th Mayor of New York City, and widely regarded as one of the BEST mayors the city ever had, wrote the forward, with the words, “Zora puca, bit ce’ dana,” meaning “the dawn in breaking, the day will come.”

“Yes,” he said, “the Day will come to the Yugoslavs— as well as to the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, and to all others suffering under the knout of the Nazi jailers– when peace and freedom shall reign over their land which I know so well.

“The Day of Victory will come to these people whose will to live as free men proved to be stronger than the iron heels of the dictators.

This book, the first one to come out under the ‘V-for-Victory” symbol, confirms my faith in the survival of these brave people.  The daring exploits of the Yugoslav Chetniks against the Nazi invaders, so vividly described by Dr. Petrovitch, and the stiff resistance by the undismayed men and women in other countries, must evoke our admiration and confidence in liberty-loving mankind.

“Every liberty loving person knows that we must not abandon these struggling people who carry on the fight against tyranny so that democracy may prevail in all lands, including the United States.  We must keep the fires of hope burning in the hearts of millions of suffering people throughout the world, the fires which a monster without a heart tries but fails to extinguish.

 “I call upon all Americans to unite and join humanity struggling against Hitler so that his poisonous ideas may never take hold on these shores.  “Zora puca, bit’ ce’ dana.”  September 20, 1941, Mayor of New York City.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Map of Europe in early 1940’s…. 


 

Wehrmacht map of Jugoslavia 1940

 I have a copy of this valuable historical map, but this particular image came courtesy of J.P. Mayer when he was refuting something written against the Serbs, and used this German map from 1940 as evidence to show where the Serbs lived in Yugoslavia then.  

(Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge map.)


(Click map of Yugoslavia on bottom right hand corner to enlarge)

Because so many of our dear readers are sharing their memoirs and photos with us of the WWII Operation Halyard Mission, we must add another page to our website dedicated to making sure the true story is known to a much wider audience.

At this time, my sincere gratitude goes to Melanie and Tim Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA for sharing info about their Uncle Bob Marjanovich with us. 

Tim and Melanie (Tomich) Limrick of Pittsburgh, PA
 

 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Also, to a new friend from Connecticut, Tech Ed (Industrial Arts) teacher Ted Connolly, whose late father Tom Connolly, was one of the airmen rescued by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks, the OSS, and the American flyers.  Their stories are jaw-dropping exciting…. 

++++++++++++

Melanie is the daughter of the late Milan and Dara (Dorothy) Marjanovich Tomich, who had saved this information for posterity. 

 What small treasure does Melanie hold?  Here it is!

 

Here’s her Uncle Bobby Marjanovich (far left) with Jibby in the middle and General Draza Mihailovich!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bob, May (another sister), and Dara’s father (Melanie’s grandfather) was a priest who died at quite a young age.  His mother sent Bob to study the priesthood in Belgrade in 1939, where he had received a scholarship.  On April 7, 1941, Germany dropped bombs on Belgrade, which was an open city, instantly killing 17,000 civilians and wounding thousands of others.  In his mad dash for safety, Bob was taken in and given shelter by strangers, but eventually found himself meeting up with the famous Maksimovich Brothers, a popular singing quartet he had met when they toured throughout America in 1936, making famous the song “O Marijana” throughout the USA. 

The 4 Maksimovic Brothers (also shown here with the newsman, S. Popovic) found Bob & took him home to their Mother, a retired 70-yr. old schoolteacher.  Later, they all joined General Draza Mihailovich in Ravna Gora.

 

Bobby was listed as missing for almost three years….

This Oct. 27, 1943 edition of the SRBOBRAN featured a front page reprint of a story that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Bob’s worried mother finally hearing that he was alive from a radio broadcast from Mihailovich headquarters.
 

 “The dapper yong man pictured above with his sister is Robert (Bogdan) Marjanovich, one of the valiant CHetniks fighting the Nazi hordes in the mountains of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Draza Mihailovich.”  Dorothy was a manager of the Kroger Store in Leetsdale, PA.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
On Nov. 3,1944 at his schoolhouse headquarters in Okruglica, Capt. Nick Lalich prepared room for the 16 incoming Americans.  It was there that Lalich also heard that the American theological student, Robert Marjanovich, who had served as a translator with the Halyard Mission in Pranjani would be arriving soon.  Marjanovich somehow was able to cross from Serbia into Bosnia and finally join Lalich at Okruglica.  Marjanovich was supposed to be in charge of the arriving fliers, while Jibby continued monitoring the radio. 

General Mihailovich talking to his men, 1944
Courtesy of Ted Connolly’s collection.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Dec. 11, the Halyard Mission left Mihailovich after he again refused safe passage to Italy.  “This is my land and my people.  I will stay to the end, no matter what.”   Mihailovich took off his dagger and gave it to Lalich as a gift for George Vuynovich who helped guide the Halyard Mission from his post in Bari. The General ordered his Colonel Mirko Lalatovic to take off his dagger which was presented to Lalich as a gift.  General Mihailovich then ripped off the patch from his left sleeve and gave it to Lalich as a parting gesture of friendship.
 
Nick said that he un-shouldered his carbine, and placed it over the General’s shoulder. Then he announced, “The Allies never gave you any weapons, so let me be the first.”
 
Two of Draza’s commanders, Col. Jovan Crvencenin and Major Bogicevic were blind, and Lalich readily agreed to take them to Italy at Mihailovich’s request.  As the two groups parted, Lalich, Jibilian, Bobby Marjanovich and the 16 fliers all embraced the general in appreciation for his help in saving the fliers.  They had an escort of 40 Chetniks, plus Major Blagojevic who spoke perfect English and act as a translator (he had been educated in England), and Sane (Sha-ne), an Olympic skier who would guide them across the treacherous Zivjezda Mts. in the dead of winter.
 

December 12, 1944, Ozren Mountains/Monastery
 
They nearly starved to death before finding food and shelter at a home near Dubostica River.  By Dec. 17, they arrived at the Ozren Monastery on Sunday, just in time for church services.  At the conclusion of the service, Nick Lalich put over $100 on the altar, and everyone heard the villagers whisper, “To su Amerikanci,” or “Those are Americans,” and were welcomed to stay for dinner. The group was overjoyed as it would be a relief from the danger they had faced over the last few days crossing the snowy mountains.  Finally, they reached Bojanic, their destination, where they found 9 more American fliers who had been cared for by Mr. Panic.
 
In Boljanic, Jibby was able to find some parts in town to get his radio working again, and sent a message that the group was ready for evacuation.
 
Mr. Panic had asked Lalich how Americans celebrated Christmas and Nick descibed Christmas trees and Christmas dinners. Soon, they found that the villagers of Boljanic had cut a small pine tree and decorated it with tinsel that had been dropped from Allied planes to jam German radar.  The airmen thought it was the best Christmas tree they had ever seen!
 
 It was a good Christmas afterall!
 
Tom Connolly (TMC) is to the far left of the photo, Farnham, Thomas, Shay, Stoloff, Teal and Holcher.
Nick Lalich is in the middle.
 
Also, on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 1944), the mission received word to prepare for a supply drop.  The men ran out onto the airstrip and heard the roar of a B-25, and even though the skies were so cloudy, saw six large containers come through the skies. (See actual photos from Ted Connolly, Tom’s son) on the top right hand side of this page.)
 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is the farmhouse where Tom Connolly & his crew stayed.  Visit the Kosovo Men’s Choir page on this site and see how we stayed at DrvenGrad that looks just like this…. we felt like Heidi…. high in the mountains in houses just like this!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Letter written by Tom Connolly about his rescue.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


 This map from the collection of Ted Connolly, son of +Tom Connolly, one of the 513 rescued U.S. airmen marks a map of the region where the crew of the STRICTLY G.I airplane landed.  Marked in the margin here is the name of airman Percy Peterson, who was flying with the crew for the first time, 11/19/44. Unfortunately, he was killed.  

 Much, much more coming!  Stay tuned.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 In another vein, it is important that we recall the efforts of Major Richard Felman to insure the story of Operation Halyard was always at the fore.

Thanks to the Serbian Unity Congress, we have this wonderful story by Sandy Marquette about a fine, fine man, Dick Felman.

http://www.serbianunity.net/culture/history/wwii/felman.html

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Another big loss for the Serbian People was Professor Dragoslav Djordjevich of California. The following tribute is from the Serbian Unity Congress, of which he was a Founding Member.
 
Dragoslav GeorgevIch, 
98,
 true 
patriot 
both

of
 Serbia 
and
America,
 died
 November
29, 
2008

in 
Monterey,
 California,
 exactly
 sixty 
years
 after 
arriving

in 
the
 United
 States.



Born 
in
 Obrenovac,
 Serbia,
on
 August 
9,
1910,
 he

graduated 
from 
the
 Yugoslav 
Military
 Academy 
in

Belgrade,
 Serbia 
(then
 Yugoslavia) 
and 
was
 a
 captain

attending
 the
 General 
Staff
 School 
when 
Germany

attacked
 Yugoslavia 
in
 April 
of
 1941.




After
 four 
years
 as
 a
 prisoner 
of
 war 
in
 Germany
 and
 another
 four
 as
 a
 displaced
 person
 in the British‐administered 
zone 
of

occupation 
post‐World
 War 
II,
 he
 refused 

to 
return
 to
 his
 native Serbia,
 which
 had 
become 
Communist
 after
 the
 War.



He
 decided
 to 
emigrate
 to
 the
 United 
States,

arriving
 in New 
York 
City
 on
 Thanksgiving
 Day 
in
 1948.


Dragoslav
 Georgevich 
spent
 nearly 
30 years 
teaching

Serbo‐Croatian 
at
 the
 Army 
Language 
School 
in

Monterey,
California,
 which 
later 
became 
the 
Defense

Language
 Institute,
 where
 he
 retired
 as 
the
 Chairman
 of 
the
 Serbo‐Croatian
 Department.

 He
 earned
 two
 post-graduate 
degrees,
 in
 history 
and 
linguistics 
at
 San 
Jose 
State 
University.


He
 wrote several books, including the notable “Na Raskrsnici” (At the Cross) which chronicled his converstations with Prince Paul Karadjordjevich, the Regent of Yugoslavia during the critical and fateful years between 1935 and 1941.


Shortly 
after
 arriving 
in 
the
 US,
 he and other Serbian patriots founded the “Cultural Club Saint Sava” in Chicago, which quickly became a beacon of Serbian ideas and aspirations, and for decades was in the forefront of Serbian Anti-Communist struggle. 



Dragoslav
Georgevich
 was 
also 
part 
of 
the
 genesis
 of 
the
 Serbian
 Unity 
Congress.

 Realizing
 that
 Communist
 Yugoslavia
 was 
on
 the
 verge 
of
 collapse,
 he 
and 
his
 son,
 Miroslav
 (Michael)Djordjevich) met in 

early
1989
 with
 Prince
 Andrej 
Karadjordjevic 
to
 discuss
 what
 could 
be 
done
 to 
revive
 Serbia 
and
 protect
 Serbian 
interests  in a post‐Communist
 world.


They 
were 
captivated by 
the
 idea of a new organization consisting primarily of young professionals of Serbian heritage who would actively help Serbia in transition from Titoism to Democracy. 
The 
concept
 resulted 
in
 the 
founding 
of
 the
 Serbian
 Unity
 Congress,
 SUC,
 in
 1990.

 Michael
 became 
the
 first
 president 
of
 the
 SUC;

Dragoslav
 Georgevich
 worked 
tirelessly
 to
 solidify 
grassroots 
support 
for
 SUC
 among 
the
 Serbian
 Diaspora
 in
 the
 ensuing
 years.



 
In Memorium -Slava mu!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Finally!  Here’s a photo of J.B. Allin, the photographer with the Halyard Mission, talking to Nick Lalich and Dr. Carpenter. Thank you to Dr. Jonathan Clemente for sharing this photo with us!

(Photo was enhanced.  No color photos then!) 

Jibby says that Dr. Clemente is a valuable contributor to the OSS listserv and is writing a book about the Medical conditions of Operation Halyard and other missions.

Here’s what I found about Dr. Clemente on the Charlotte Radiology site:

Jonathan D. Clemente, M.D.

Medical School: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Residency: New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Fellowship: Diagnostic Neuroradiology, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY
Board Certification: American Board of Radiology, Certificate of Added Qualifications, Neuroradiology
Societies: RSNA, ARRS, NYRS, ACR, NC-ACR, NCMS, MCMS, Senior Member of the American Society of Neuroradiology, American Society of Head and Neck Radiology
Specialties: Neuroradiology

 And he’s so nice to share!  Lots of (patients!) patience too!  Thanks so much!


 

JP Allin & Lalich.Rebich photo.jpg

Here are the two guys again, JP Allin and Nick Lalich, at a reception in Chicago for the Rescued Airmen sponsored by Aleksandra Rebic and her father, Rade Rebic in May of 1994.  Thanks for sharing, Aleks!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Here’s Mike Devyak and Lt. Col. McDowell on the move again…..


 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A photo shared on Veteran’s Day, (11/11/15) by Stephanie Lalich Adams of 3 American Serbs OSS heroes:  Lt. Joe Veselinovich, Lt. Mike Rajacich, and her father, Lt. Nick Lalich from WWII, Operation HALYARD.

(Click on bottom right hand corner of either photo above to enlarge)
 
THE FIRST GUERRILLAS of EUROPE, The True Stories of General Mihailovic’s Warriors by Milos Achin is another excellent book on WWII.  The author was educated at the Belgrade Military Academy and served in the Yugoslav and British RAF.
 
A Yugoslav Air Force officer, he refused to accept the official capitulation in April, 1941, and joined in at the very outset General Draza Mihailovich’s resistance group, the first guerrillas organized in a then-conquered Europe, and rose from the rank of commander of a detachment to commanding officer of a corps.  He was a captain in the YAH (Yugoslav Army in the Homeland), an editor and writer for the Underground Press, and editor-in-chief of the underground radio station, “Liberty or Death.”
 
Milos’ wife was the former prima dona of the Yugoslav Opera House.
++++++++++++++++++ 

Air drop on Christmas 1944

Thanks to Ted Connolly of Connecticut for sharing with all of us these photos from his late father’s (Tom Connelly’s) files. Be sure to place your pointer over the photo to enlarge seeing these packages drop by parachute.



 
This is the first time I saw these kind of photos, but I always knew the story! 
 
Inside the six large containers was food and clothing.  The Americans gave most of it away to their friends in Boljanic, but there was enough left for a Christmas dinner.
 
Lalich radioed to Bari:
“Now we believe in Santa Claus!”
++++++++++++++++++ 
 
It is interesting to note that Ted Connolly is an Industrial Arts teacher at Wilson High School in Wilson, Connecticut. And before becoming an officer with the OSS, Nick Lalich was an Industrial Arts teacher in Cleveland’s high school.
 ++++++++++++++++++
Connolly, Farnham, Stolof, Shay, 1944
++++++++++++++++++

The name of Connolly’s airplane, “STRICTLY G.I.!”
+++++++++++++++++++
 
Trying to build a fire to let the rescue planes know where they are!
 

A  letter to Tom Connolly’s Mom stating on December 9, 1944, he’s been missing since November 11.
(Click to enlarge all photos.)
++++++++++++++++++

On Dec. 27, two days after the airdrop, two C-47’s were heard.  The planes arrived in Boljanic at the appointed hour, one of the pilots being Col. Kraigher, who had come to bring the airmen home.  Col. Kraigher had been with the Halyard Mission earlier, with the A.C.R.U., and there was much rejoicing.

George Vuynovich had loaded the planes with supplies as a gift to all the people of Boljanic and the Chetniks (Nationalist troops), who had escorted Halyard to the airstrip.  Lalich, Jibby, Marjanovich, the 25 American fliers and two blind Serbian officers flew out of Yugoslavia.


Nick Lalich reported that the Halyard Mission had successfully evacuated 604 people, of whom 513 were American airmen shot down over Yugoslavia. 

With much gratitude to General Draza Mihailovich and his followers who showed our American Airmen kindness and hospitality, and guarded them at huge risk to themselves and their families (sometimes their lives and fortunes) this page is humbly dedicated.

We also take time to recognize the courageous efforts of both the Serbs and the members of the Halyard Mission to make sure the U.S. airmen got safely home.

++++++++++++++++++


Rescued airmen finally get some well-deserved rest!
Sgt. Martin Wosal, Sgt. Thomas M. Connolly, Jr. of Boston, and Sgt. Roscoe E. Teal of Seward, Nebraska, after their rescue from behind German lines in Yugoslavia where they crashed during combat.
++++++++++++++++++
 
Thank you to George Vujnovich and his lovely wife, to George Musulin, Nick Lalich, Mike Rajasich, Col. George Kraigher of the 15th Air Force, Eli Popovich and Arthur Jibilian, radioman, for volunteering to rescue the American Airmen who had bailed out of their badly damaged aircraft over German-occupied lines in the Axis-controlled Balkans.
 
The U.S. airmen had been on missions to bomb the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, with the aim of halting the vital flow of oil to the German war machines. 
 
The Ploesti Oil Fields Operation was successful, but at a tremendous human cost to American fliers.
 
Read more about the Ploesti air raids here:
 
  
Men like Tom Connolly and his crew were grateful to the villagers who found, fed and protected them, and got them safely into the hands of those in charge of Operation HALYARD, of the A.C.R.U., The Air Crew Rescue Unit plan.  “Halyard” was chosen as the code name, as a reference to a rope used to hoist a flag or sail, in this case, pluck the fliers out from behind enemy lines from their mountain sanctuaries.
 
Read more about General Mihailovich and the Ploesti Oil Fields at Aleksandra Rebic’s Blogspot.
 
 
++++++++++++++++++
 
Be sure to read Carl Savich’s report on the Rescue of the US Airmen during WWII, which includes Richard Felman’s Reminisces about the Halyard Mission and the Evacuation from Pranjani. This is found on the Serbian Unity Congress’ website.
 
 
You will find information above about Carl Walpusk, my great neighbor, as he was with Dick Felman and his crew. Carl Walpusk is shown on the 1st Draza page, extensively, when he was flown up to Ypsilanti, MI by the EAA#582 Air Group!
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Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge photo
 

The airmen above signed the back of this photo postcard:
Bernard Z.???;
Bernard Merwald from Omaha, Nebraska; Mac F. Lucas from Crannell, California;  Harold T. Brown from Turtle Creek, PA; H. Arthur Ulmer from Hicksville, Long island, NY; Robert from Brooklyn NY, and Edgar M. Jacobus Jr. from E. Orange, NY.
 
 Harvey. Henry & Bob Ulmer
Update from Carol Ulmer Kaier, Jan. 8, 2011 via email. Carol brings us this photo of her father Harvey, her uncle, Henry  Arthur Ulmer, one of the rescued airmen on the postcard with his signature on back, and her Uncle Rob Ulmer.  Unfortunately, Rob (the eldest) was shot down and killed while her Uncle Art (Henry) was missing.  At that point, her father decided to go back home to be with his Mom. Carol says her Uncle Art kept a diary while he was MIA from July 3, 1944 until October 17, 1944.  It was fascinating to read, she said, and is currently asking her Uncle to share it with all of us!
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from Jibby
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Chetnik guerrillas sabotaging RR tracks to derail German supply lines.
collection of Ted Connolly.
 
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 Mihailovich in camp
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 Collection of T. Connolly
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Shay, far left, Tom Connolly mid left, Nick Lalich, and Bobby Marjanovich with duffle bag. Airlift.
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From the collection of Ted Connolly 2/19/09
with much appreciation!
 

Tom Connolly’s Survival Maps

Out of the pouch….
Don’t forget to click on the lower right hand corner of the image to enlarge it.
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From Dr. Jonathan Clemente come these photos!
 

Jibby, Lalich, Dr. Carpenter
 
This photo was enhanced, as there was no color photography then! 🙂
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WWII Operation Halyard Photos continued.....

Operation Halyard photos from Ted Connolly and Arthur Jibilian….


 Gathering up the chutes….

 

 

 


 

Draza Mihailovich and Villagers

 

Doc helping check medical supplies….


 

General Draza Mihailovich and his Religious Leaders


Reviewing the troops…..


Hilton Hotel….


All Aboard!

 

Shoes left for the locals….


 


 


Here is Tom Connolly with a cane for his injured foot, and the other crew members behind….


Courageous pilots flew into the cleared fields to rescue their fellow Americans.  Imagine doing this with the limited equipment they had at their disposal!  No GPS systems like we have now!.


 Last day in Serbia….. the author of the essay is in this photo… along with Nick Lalich in the middle.


Greeted in Bari, Italy!  12-28-44.

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The Serbs were ALWAYS Allies of the United States of America.

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February 1, 2012: Info from Nikola Simanic, a Facebook friend, who sent us a photo of his grandfather, as a Chetnik, kneeling in front, left, with an American airman who was a professor, but Nikola didn’t know his name, and the other airman was a Greek captain. 

Young Nikola says he is from Ilijas (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) and is now living in Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska!  He said he found me on the Halyard Mission page.  I’ll wait to see if more information develops here.  Thanks, Nikola!

Update: Feb. 9, 2012:  2. comandant of backround and president of the district of Visoko, Sreto Erić.

“My grandfather’s name was Bogdan Simanić (1913 – 2008) and he was the Chetniks Battalion Commandant of Vareš.  Our family’s house was on the Han Karaula close to Okruglica place. This photo is from Okruglica place or Nišići plateau !
 
Other peoples of picture are ;
stand up (off left side) :
1. Captain Drago Miljanović from Sarajevo,
2. Americans airman, professor,
3. Conduct of airmen, Radoslav Zekić from Olovo,
4. Captain of Greek army, airman.
 
Down kneeling in front, left :
1.  My grandfather , Battalion commandant, Bogdan Simanić and
2.  President of the district of Visoko: Sreto Eric’.
 
Great information to have!  Thank you, Nikola!  
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

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Plotting the next course of action….

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“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Communists in the country sat on their hands.  Later it was a different story.  As soon as the Germans invaded their “ally” Russia,
the Communists became anti-German.  Politics being
what they are, what little help had gone to Mihailovich went to Tito instead.  Except the help was
many times what it had been.  It wasn’t until several years later that the western allies realized what Stalin
was all about.

Both the Chetniks and the Partisans were fighting the Germans, and they also were fighting each other. 
When the Chetniks saw us coming down in parachutes, they thought we were Russian paratroopers
invading their space.  Had I said yes to the question “Russki?”  I wouldn’t be writing this now.


No one spoke English, but they convinced me that we needed to get away from where we were in a
hurry.  We walked, ran, and jogged for a few miles until we came to a safe house.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at the small farmhouse and the first person I saw was “Shorty” Shay, our tail gunner.  He had some minor injuries from flak but was in pretty good shape.  We were both excited to see one an-
other and very happy to be alive.
A couple of hours later there was more excitement when Tom Connelly, our engineer, arrived with only an injured leg.  The next one to arrive was Roscoe Teal, our nose gunner.  We all enjoyed the reunion,
and eagerly ate the food and drinks offered by our benefactors.  After hours of communicating with
sign language and a combination of German, Serbian and my high school French, we finally went to sleep
fully-clothed except for shoes — all four of us in the same bed.


The next morning, after some warm goat’s milk and dark bread, Tom and I left with some Chetniks to go to the plane and bury Pete.  When we were within a mile or so of where the plane hit, we were warned that it wasn’t safe ahead.  A “Ustashi” patrol was in
the area looking for us.  The Ustashi were Croatian sympathizers who fought both the Chetniks and the
Partisans and committed atrocities against any German enemy.
We returned to the farmhouse.  Shortly after our return, we were reunited with Marv Stoloff, our navi-
gator, and Franz Holscher, our ball-turret gunner.  Later, we met Carrol Sanderson, the waist gunner,
and Gene Thomas.  We didn’t catch up to Art Farnham for a few more days.


It was time to move to an area considered safer and one that was a minor local headquarters.  We had an
escort of uniformed soldiers in addition to the armed peasants who made up a major part of the Resis-
tance.  There were a couple of commissioned officers on horseback with us.  We walked and also rode in
ox carts and I even had the chance, along with Franz, to ride one of the horses. That night, we slept in a safe-house and spent some
time enjoying a new-found drink — Slivovitz.  It is made from plums, looks like vodka, and is smooth
going down, but kicks like a mule!  We were enjoying our new friends and the prospect of evading the
Germans. We had all landed in the same general area, but there
was some local fighting going on that slowed things down a little bit.  Now that our crew was almost complete, we were anxious to travel to the headquartters to see if help was available for our escape.


We were in a very primitive part of the country.  Oxen were used as farm animals for plowing and hauling things in carts.  Except for the mounted officers we didn’t see a horse the entire time that we were in Yugoslavia.  There was no electricity, and all plumbing was the outhouse-type, — when they had
one.  Water came from a well, and food was very scarce.. We ate lots of boiled cabbage for the next several
weeks.  There was virtually no meat, but we did have warm goat’s milk in the mornings with a slice of dark
bread.  Between the light diet and all the exercise, I lost about 20 pounds in six weeks, but except for a
slight case of malnutrition, I never felt better in my life. It was dangerous because the Germans occupied the country, but they couldn’t be everywhere.  They were
in every important part, and controlled the cities, the
highways, the rail lines, and whatever else they deemed critical.  However, they couldn’t be in every
house, on every farm, hill or mountain.  That was to our advantage.  So although we were in danger, we never had to fight the war 24-hours-a-day like in the old Errol Flynn movies.


To sum up our situation: we were in a strange country, we didn’t speak the language and we knew no one.  We had no food or transportation except our feet, and we were 300+ miles from the sea, where we could begin a very long 100-mile swim home.
We needed help almost right away.  If we didn’t get it in a day or two we wouldn’t survive.  We were lucky and landed in a rural area where the native people had temporary control and we were relatively safe..  The Germans may have known we were around, but it would have taken some real effort to find us.  Luckily, they were busy moving troops north to relieve other divisions who would shortly begin the “Battle of the Bulge.”


We finally got to the local headquarters and found the only English-speaking person in the area.  That was when we learned where we were and who we were with.  We also learned that they had a short-wave radio and had advised Mihailovich’s headquarters that we were with them.  It looked like help might be on the way.


It was suggested that we split up and stay at different houses for safety.  We decided we’d rather stay together, even though it meant all of us sleeping on the floor of a small bedroom on a blanket of straw. That is when we met the Panic family and my good friend Yugo. Marko Panic was the head of the house.  His oldest son Milosh was married and had a young son and lots of aunts and a brother named Yugo.  Yugo was my age and a bachelor, and like all Serbians, was filled with great respect for Americans. 


They all thought we were Supermen.


All through the war, they witnessed the Germans as they beat Belgium, Norway, France, then drove the
British into the sea at Dunkirk.  Although they had some problems with the Russians, they would have
reached Moscow if people like the Chetniks didn’t tie down four divisions in Yugoslavia who were needed at the Eastern Front.”

Be sure to read the rest of Bob Eckman’s story in the #461 LIBERATOR….Vol. 23, No.2, 2006!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Let the facts speak for themelves!

God bless them all! 

Like this Chetnik Officer, the Serbian Chetniks would give their lives to protect the downed American fliers.

+++++++++++++++++++


Plotting the next course of action….

+++++++++++++++++++

“BAIL-OUT!” by Robert W. Eckman  0-717763, 766th Squadron, 461st Bomb Group, Crew #42R
The 461st Liberator, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 2006
 

 (Robert Eckman has since passed away, but his son shared this info with Ted Connolly to share with all babamim.com readers.  We are so grateful for the story and the photos shown here gathered from a variety of sources.)

“Then I realized that what I felt was the tug of my harness as I descended at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute.
It was very quiet.  Within moments I counted eight other parachutes so I knew everyone who was alive got out.  Then I noticed that the airplane had begun a slow turn about five miles away and maybe three
thousand feet above me.  The turn became an ever- widening circle, and another thought struck me.  Is it
possible that the plane could come right through the group of parachutes?  You bet it’s possible, but a few worried minutes later I saw that it was at last below us.   I watched it gradually wind into smaller and
smaller circles and although it seemed to fly forever, it finally hit the ground and exploded into a ball of
fire.  It took almost 15 minutes before I landed.  As I came closer to the ground, I heard gunfire and saw people running.  Fortunately, I landed in a farmer’s newly- plowed field.  The ground was relatively soft and
that lessened the impact.  At that time I weighed  190 lbs. stark naked, but when you add two sets of underwear (one set was a pair of “long-
johns”), plus my uniform, army high-top shoes, an electrically-heated flying suit, bomber jacket and
pants plus a weapon and miscellaneous equipment, I weighed quite a bit.  We used small 24-foot parachutes so I came down fast.


As soon as I hit the ground, I rolled over and began to take off my chute harness.  Then I saw what I thought were a couple of nuns.  They were dressed like the B.V.M.’s who taught me for eight years in  grammarschool, except that they weren’t in black.  I
decided that if my luck held up I could spend the rest of the war in a convent and not in a P.O.W. camp.  I
called to them, but they were frightened and ran into the woods.
Then I saw a group of men coming toward me carrying rifles.  They didn’t have uniforms, but they all
had caps with the same insignia.  The leader was about 30 feet from me and I drew my .45 pistol.  He called “Russki?” and, although we were allied with the Russians at the time, I did a very smart thing.  Ihollered back “No, American!”  That saved my life. 
I pointed to the flag that was sewn on my sleeve, and he jumped for joy.  “Roosevelt,” he said with a huge
smile on his face.  As a young man from the 48th Ward in Chicago who had only recently cast his first-
ever vote (absentee) for the president, I hollered back, “You bet, I’m for Roosevelt, too!”


These were “Chetniks.”  They were a part of the first underground fighters in Yugoslavia.  After the Germans overran the country, Draza Mihailovich, who was an officer in the Royal Army, took the remain-
der of his troops into the hills and formed the first organized resistance.  King Peter, who escaped to London, named him commander-in-chief of his forces.


All this happened while the Commun