Ruth Mitchell, Mihailovich & Hitler's No. 1 Headache!

“That famous Serbian battle cry effectively instilled again today in the souls of the Chetniks and Serb populace by War Minister Draja (Draza) Mihailovich, is the saddest and most nightmarish dirge Hitler has heard since embarking upon World War II.  For, in the memorable lines, “Sprem’te Se, Sprem’te Chetnici,” which pound and surge in the breast of the Chetnik hero above, the Nazi leader recognizes his own death knell.”

Robert Low, author

“Hitler’s No. 1 Headache, Draja Mihailovitch—Fighter for Freedom ” LIBERTY MAGAZINE. 

This article in the LIBERTY magazine by Robert Low was reprinted with permission in the American SRBOBRAN on April, 1942.

Ruth Mitchell, sister of U.S. Air Force General Billy Mitchell, is shown here in her Chetnik uniform with Lou Christopher, Vice President of BOTH the Serb National Federation and the Serb National Defense Council.  Mitchell was in town to address a crowd of over 500 Americans gathered at the Schenley Hotel in Oakland (now part of Pitt’s campus) to raise money for the Serbian orphans of WWII.  The above photo is from the former Pittsburgh newspaper, THE PITTSBURGH SUN-TELEGRAPH.



This program was printed on the back of the card featuring Miss Ruth Mitchell on the front.  Miss Mitchell was also the author of the incredible book THE SERBS CHOSE WAR, documenting her time with General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks, and also her life as a German prisoner of war.  The card information you see here was given to me years ago by my childhood friend, John Shatlan, who inherited it from his late aunt and uncle, Teta Mayme and Pero Kovachevich of 2123 Sidney Street, on Pittsburgh’s South Side.  The articles were sent to me by the late +Dinka Christi of Lebanon, PA years ago, right before her failing health necessitated a move to a nursing home.  Our Serbian ancestors guarded these treasures for the younger generations to learn from.


 To read the above, click lower right hand corner to enlarge the photo.

Click lower right hand corner to enlarge.


 The Last Sermon of Pastor Friedrich Griesendorf about WHO the Serbian people are!

Source: Meet.the.Serbs 


A German Clergyman, reprinted and translated from the Eversburg newspaper, #Eversburg#Germany.
Friedrich Griesendorf, who died in 1958, was a very educated man. He was at one time a court clergyman for the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II. After World War II, he was a pastor in the Eversburg church parish where a camp of Serbian prisoners of war was located. Before retiring, he dedicated these lines to his German parishioners:
“Our country lost the war. The English, Americans and Russians won. Maybe they had much better equipment, larger armies, better leadership. In reality, it was an explicit material victory. They took the victory. However, here among us is one nation that won another more beautiful victory, a victory of the soul, a victory of the heart and honesty, a victory of peace and Christian love. THEY ARE THE SERBS. We knew them earlier, some a little and some not at all. But we all knew what we did in their homeland.
We killed hundreds of the Serbs who defended their country for one of our soldiers who represented the occupier — the oppressor. And not only that, we looked favorably when others shot at Serbs from all sides; The Croatian (Ustasha), the Italians, Albanians, Bulgarians and Hungarians. Yet we knew that among us in the prisoner of war camps were 5,000 Serbian officers, who earlier were the elite of the society and, who now resembled living skeletons, exhausted and spent from hunger. We knew that among the Serbs smoldered the belief ‘He who does not revenge is not sanctified’.”
“We are truly afraid of the revenge by these Serbian martyrs. We were afraid that after our capitulation they would do what we did to them. We imagined murder, plunder, rape, demolition and destruction of our homes. However, what happened? When the barbed wires were torn down and 5,000 Serbian skeletons found themselves free in our midst, those skeletons caressed our children. Only now can we understand why our greatest poet, Goethe, studied the Serbian language. Only now can we comprehend why the last word for Bismark, on his deathbed, was — ‘SERBIA.’
That kind of victory is more sublime than a material victory. It seems to me that only the Serbs could win such a victory, being brought up in their St. Sava’s spirit and epic poetry, which our Goethe loved so much. This victory will live for centuries in the souls of us Germans. I want to dedicate my last clergyman’s sermon to that victory and the Serbs who won it.” —
Friedrick Griesendorf. 

A Program Card of Ruth Mitchell was signed by Spencer D. Irwin, associate editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The affair was held on Sunday, April 4, 1943, to raise money for the Serbian War Orphans of WWII. The event drew a crowd of more than 500 people at the Schenley Hotel, which is now a part of the Student Union on the University of Pittsburgh’s (Pitt’s) Oakland campus.  The sponsor of the program was the Serb National Defense or SND.


Spencer D. Irwin, Associate Editor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, was considered along with Miss Mitchell, as one of the two standout American champions of the Serbs’ cause to help the Serbian orphans. The Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER has always been considered one of America’s leading newspapers.
The original story “Hitler’s No. 1 Headache: The Story of Draja Mihailovitch–Fighter for Freedom”by Robert Low was published here:



Click lower right to enlarge.

Part 10: Mim Not Mum on Serbia

There’s a wonderfully talented woman named Pat Jennette who lives not too far from me, in Imperial, PA.  Pat started her own business, Jennette Communications Group that publishes the Allegheny West magazine, and also, the Airport Area Community Phone Directories for Moon, Montour and West Allegheny in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.

The Allegheny West Magazine-Moon Edition-is published six times per year, mailed and distributed free to 15,000 residents and businesses in Crescent, Moon, and adjacent areas.  


“The people of our community never cease to amaze me.  What wonderful neighbors you have!  Many of your neighbors and friends are featured in this issue.  Read about Mim Bizic of Moon, who has created an awesome Web site dedicated to her Serbian heritage.”


Vol. 4, Issue 24, September 2009 had this caption on its cover:

“Milana “Mim” Bizic of Moon is on a mission to preserve her Serbian heritage.  Read her story on page 33.  Photo by Pat Jennette.


Pat’s goal for the magazine was to create a positive, good news publication for the homes and businesses of our area, that would connect communities, promote people, heighten awareness about the Pittsburgh airport region, and build pride in the western suburbs of Allegheny County.


She succeeded well in her goal, as people across the world of Serbian descent are grateful to her for the posting of this article!





Pat had this photo of Pgh. Steeler great Franco Harris (#32!) and Nicky Jovonovich in a previous issue of her Allegheny West Magazine as aTEASER or coming attraction.

The caption read something like:  “Franco Harris knows about the rescue of the 500 U.S. airmen, do you?”  

Two tremendous fellas with one great book! 


Wonderful Pat Jennette, editor

We sing “Zivela!” to Pat!

Ziv-e-la-a-a-a, Ziv-e-la!

Mno ga -lje-ta,  


Long may you live, PAT! 


Jeremy Boren wrote a review about Pat Jennette called:

NEWSMAKER: Pat Jennette

for the Tribune-Review,

July 11, 2007. 


Age: 53

Residence: North Fayette

Family: Husband, John; daughters, Andrea, 29, and Joyce, 20

Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Point Park University; certificate in secretarial business from Bradford Business School; accredited by the National School Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of America

Background: Started Allegheny West Magazine in August 1999 with one edition. The free, direct-mail magazine publishes three editions that reach 40,000 residents in 14 communities in western Allegheny County. Jennette started the magazine as a spin-off of her public-relations business, Jennette Communications Group, which opened in 1997 to provide public relations services to schools and small businesses.

Noteworthy: Recently won a “Make the Connection” award from the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Dwight White presented Jennette with the award at the group’s annual event at the Hilton Pittsburgh and Towers, Downtown. NAWBO gives the award to honor volunteers across the region “who have made organizations an asset to the community and who, through their involvement, make communities viable and prosperous.”

Quote: “It is an honor to receive this award from NAWBO. They are an outstanding organization and to be recognized for my work in the community by such a wonderful organization is very special.” 



Here’s another issue of my father’s magazines AMERICAN SERB LIFE that carried the story of the rescue in 1948 from OSS Captain Nick Lalich’s day by day diary.



Part 11: Capt. Mansfield sppech @ Draza 1953

“General Mihailovich did not sacrifice others for his own glory” 

 Capt. Borislav Todorovich (Left) and Captian Walter Mansfield (Right) in Hercegovina, 1944 from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in WWII.

Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for this find on Captain Walter Mansfield.  Read the original here:

“There is no nation which would, more than you Serbs, appreciate human freedoms and rights. Not only appreciate, but give everything for them. It happened on Kosovo, the Salonika Front, and Ravna Gora. The first thing that I learned from your brothers in your mountains was ‘Freedom or Death.’ The great law and ideal for great men and times.

“…I have not many opportunities to meet many great men. One of them is my good and never forgotten Chicha [General Mihailovich]. He will live in my heart as long as I last. I observed him in all conditions, mostly difficult ones.
Then one can see better. It made no difference whether the gunpowder was burning the eyes, or death was waiting, or injustice was hurting. He was always great and sincere in victory as well as in defeat. He loved his country, his people, and the cause of freedom, sacrificing himself for the glory of the living…
” ‘When the times of a general uprising comes,’ said Chicha, ‘we will give everything for freedom and victory. But, for that day we must be ready so that we can hit harder and win for sure. Before that day arrived they chose Tito. By such an act, they have sinned against God, faithfulness, justice, victory and freedom,’ Chicha declared.
“During the very difficult winter of 1943, together, we were pushing to break out of the Valley of Death. Already the perspective was changing. The BBC glorified a man who had been sent to Yugoslavia to convert the liberation struggle into fratricidal war, and on the ruins of a state to build a Communist ‘Celekula’. [The Turkish Pasha of Nish, in 1809, had ordered that the heads of Serbian insurgents who had tried to liberate a town near Nish be shaved [Cele] and used to erect a tower [kula] as testimony to what happened if Turkish control was challenged in Serbia.] There is no cruel, dishonest, or bestial road that this Red monster did not take to accomplish his task. The naïve Allies, to accommodate Stalin, nurtured a snake in their bosoms.
“On his account fables were converted into history. Other people’s successes into his red feather. We were in Rogatica after Ostojic’s troops won the victory at Visegrad. That same night the BBC gave our victory to Tito and announced that victorious Partisans had entered Rogatica. We, the Yugoslav Army of the Homeland, were in Rogatica. At that time, around the town there was not a single German or a Tito Commie.
“When we parted after a brotherly hug, Chicha was smiling but his eyes were sad. We knew what kind of days were to follow.”

Thank you, Aleksandra,

for sharing.


“The naive ALLIES, to accomodate Stalin, nurtured a snake in their bosoms.

Fables were converted into history.

Other people’s successes were sewn into his red feather.”

U.S. Captain Walter Mansfield, of the First AMerican Mission to Mihailovich in WWII, at a speech given in Canada in 1953 about General Draza Mihailovich.



Aleksandra’s Note: 
This year, 2016, will mark the 70th anniversary of the martyrdom of Serbian legend General Draza Mihailovich. There have been many testimonies over the last 70 years that accurately reflect who the General was as both military commander and as a man. Due to the vast institutionalization of communist propaganda over the course of these same seven decades, the truth has had to fight its way to the light. But “Truth” does, and always will, prevail. That is the nature of God’s justice, andGod’s justice will always be the final word.
There will undoubtedly be many reflections on who General Mihailovich was as we near the 70th anniversary of his execution at the hands of the Yugoslav communists in July of 1946. For me, the best and most honest testimonies have come from the men of integrity who had the honor of crossing the General’s path, even for a short time, during the WWII years, and who lived to tell the story. Their “Truth” is what counts. The recollections of Captain Walter Mansfield of the first American Mission to Mihailovich in WWII is just one of the many moving testimonies that speaks to the legacy of Draza Mihailovich.
Why should we care? Because it matters, and General Mihailovich deserves to be remembered for what he lived for, fought for, and died for.
Aleksandra Rebic
+Arthur (Jibby) Jibilian, radioman, and our author, Aleksandra Rebic.

Part 12: Curtis (Bud) Diles, "Google my name," rescued U.S. Airmen by General Mihailovich, Operation Halyard

Curtis Diles was more “Serbian” than many Serbians by blood we know.  To his dying day, he was grateful to General Draza Mihailovich, his Serbian Chetniks, and the Serbian people in general, for saving his life when his plane was shot down on a mission to bomb the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, that supplied more than 1/4 of the German war machines in WWII.  

He spoke up on all occasions, defending the Serbian people, even putting up 512 American flags on his property near Dayton, OH, to tell all visitors passing by his busy highway property, about the 512 American Airmen rescued by General Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks, villagers, the O.S.S. (Forerunner of today’s CIA) and the 15th Air Force pilots and the Tuskegee Airmen who flew cover.

Update:  The name of one of the Tuskegee Airmen was recognized in the Beaver County TIMES  of Thursday, September 3, 2015. It says:  “Sgt. Paul Short, part of the 15th Army Air Force in Italy, was awarded a Silver Star for hleping to rescue hundreds of downed pilots in Yugoslavia is 1944.”   There is a plaque honoring local Tuskegee Airmen at the WWII memorial along Third Street in Beaver, PA.

 “Tell people to Google my name,” was one of his dying wishes.  He wanted people to know what he stood for.

Curtis Diles:  Obituary:  Listen to “America, America!” playing in the background.  

Curtis was a TRUE American…. with all the attributes we attribute to what makes a good American…. Loyalty, Truthfulness, Bravery– Thy Liberty in Law!

But at the funeral home, both the American and Serbian flags were on display.  After the funeral, Inez Diles, Curtis’ widow, passed on that flag to daughter Diane Diles Hammond, who promised to carry on her father’s legacy!  What a family Curtis produced!

Curtis “Bud” Diles, Jr., age 89, of Huber Heights, Ohio passed away Wednesday, September 10 at Miami Valley Hospital after a long illness.  He was born July 15, 1925 in New Boston, a son of the late Curtis and Lena Belford Diles, Sr. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Inez L. Pruitt Diles, whom he married in Portsmouth Sept. 25, 1948; children Dennis (Bev) Diles of Chaska, Minnesota, Teresa (Jack) Guidry, Janis “Diane” (Chuck) Hammond, and Tamara (John) Meese, all of Huber Heights; 15 grandchildren; and 7  great grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters Sonja (Bill) Rice of Reynoldsburg, Deloris Walker of Minford; and brothers Paul (Sarah) of Sarasota, Florida, and Alva “Sonny” (Jean) of  Chillicothe; and many nieces and nephews.     He was a devoted, loving, and generous husband, father, and grandfather. His greatest treasure was his family.  He delighted in sharing his great wisdom and always had an idea to improve things. He never stopped analyzing and believed that an idle mind was the devil’s workshop.  He was “Mr. Fix It” and was an exemplary machinist.  No doubt, he is tinkering in heaven at this moment.    He was a dedicated member of the First Christian Church of Huber Heights.  Although he often struggled to understand the message due to his hearing impairment, he faithfully attended “just to show whose side he was on”.  As he was ushered into heaven into the loving arms of Jesus, we know exactly which side he’s on.    

He was also a member of the VFW Post 3283, and an honorary Serbian.  He was a veteran of World War II, a Staff Sergeant serving in the Army Air Corps from 1943-1945. He was shot down while in his B-24 bomber behind enemy lines over Belgrade Yugoslavia on September 8, 1944  

in the Halyard Mission, but was rescued by the Serbian Chetniks lead by General Draja Mihailovich. Had it not been for Serbia, he and his descendants would not have been blessed with the gift of life.  

The details of this incredible rescue are documented in the book “The Forgotten 500”, by Gregory Freeman.  It was his life’s mission to spread the truth to the world about the Serbians’ loyalty to America in WWII.

For his service, Curt received the EAME Theater Ribbon with 1 silver star, the Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, and the Good Conduct Medal. The country of Serbia also recently presented him with the Order of Karageorge’s Star with Sword for 70 years of exceptional service in spreading the truth about Serbia and its WWII and post-war struggles.    

After graduating from Portsmouth High School, he briefly worked at Wolford Machine Company in Portsmouth prior to being drafted into the service.  After the war, he returned to Wolford’s and also worked at Empire Detroit Steel Corporation in New Boston.  In 1974 he moved to Huber Heights where he managed the machine shop at Techmet/LaserMike, from which he retired in 1989.    In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters Doris Diles, Edna Stiltner, Lorraine Traber, Carolyn (Sue) Potts; and brothers Don, Jimmy, and Travis Diles.    Funeral services will be held at 1 pm Monday at the Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home in Portsmouth with Pastor David McClary officiating and interment in Memorial Burial Park. Military graveside rites will be conducted by the James Dickey Post #23 American Legion Honor Detail.    In honor of Mr. Diles’ service to our country, the flag of the US Air Force will fly at the funeral home, and the flag of Serbia will be displayed.    The family will receive friends at the funeral home Sunday from 2 to 4 pm, and one hour prior to services Monday.    Online condolences may be shared at    In lieu of flowers, please honor Dad’s last request:  “Google My Name”.  He will look down from Heaven and say “thanks”.  

Rest in Peace, good and faithful servant!  You were tremendous in all that you did!  And we’re so grateful for all you did for all of us, lo these seven decades.

As the 70th Commemoration of Operation Halyard takes place on September 22, know that your name, Curtis Diles, will be said on the lips of those who will never forget you!

We are also grateful that Obrad Kesic, representing Republika Srpska, was there at the funeral home to speak on behalf of all of us.


Curtis is fighting the good fight, even from his grave!

Look at the back of his tombstone to see the beautiful tribute to the Serbs!

They are ONE very special family!!!

 I’ll always love you Curtis, for Everything!

This speaks VOLUMES for the type of man he was! 


May he rest in peace knowing he did his all!

And he passed it on

To his wonderful children and grandchildren!

The Legacy continues.

Great news!

Diane Diles Hammond’s son, and +Curtis’s and Inez’s grandson, S/Sgt. Kevin Hammond, was named Airman of the Year 2017 for his Squadron Group, and most recently, the 60th AIR MObility Wing at Travis Air Force Base! 

Added:  3/5/18


Curtis (Bud) Diles, of Huber Heights, Ohio, passed away at age 89 on Wednesday, September 10 2014.  

He is gone, but never will be forgotten for his great deeds.


Curt Diles, B-24 Nose-gunner, Bailed Out Behind Enemy Lines

By G. Sam Piatt

Portsmouth Daily Times,

May 18, 2010

Curtis “Bud” Diles would have graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1944, but he dropped out to go to work. He was working as an automotive machinist when, two months after his 18th birthday, which came July 15, 1943, the U.S. Army drafted him.

He chose the Army Air Corps. A year later, on Sept. 8, 1944, he was a nose-gunner on a B-24 Liberator, making strategic bombing missions over Europe out of southern Italy.

He would fly 35 such missions before the war ended, but on this day it seemed certain the war would end for him at hardly half that many. This particular mission, his 17th, involved the bombing of a German oil field, Ploesti.

The mission was accomplished, but at a terrible price. German anti-aircraft artillery and fighter planes were waiting for the lumbering bombers.
“We were like sitting ducks,” Diles said.

Many of the B-24 crews never finished the mission. They died when their planes crashed in the mountainous Balkans of Yugoslavia. Many parachuted into the unknown and some who survived became German POWs.
The 19-year-old Diles, his plane badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire, bailed out with his crew over Yugoslavia, behind enemy lines.

American intelligence had warned the bomber crews that if they were shot down over Yugoslavia, to avoid the Serbs, who reportedly were collaborating with the Germans.

Not true at all, says Diles.
“Guerrilla fighters with the Serbian Chetnik Resistance Army picked me up and saved my life,” he said. “They hid us from the Germans. I have supported the Serbians ever since. I subscribe to their newspaper. I have intense loyalty to them even today.”

One of Diles’ crew members, the radio operator, was captured by the Germans. Diles and the other six were rescued by local villagers and members of the Serbian Chetnik Resistance Army, led by Gen. Draza Mihailovich.
Back home at 3153 Walnut St. in Portsmouth, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Diles, wrung their hands in anxiety as a war department message told them only that their son was missing in action since a flight on Sept. 8.

To see this larger, click on the bottom right hand corner.

The Serbs kept them hidden and fed them and, working with U.S. Intelligence forces, made arrangements that saw Diles and his crew members, along with other American fliers who had been shot down and rescued by the Serbs, picked up by an American C-47. They were back at their home base within 10 days after they were shot down.

“We walked from Belgrade to the makeshift airstrip where the plane would pick us up. It must have been 150 miles though woods and over hills. We slept in a hayloft of a barn that final night. The C-47 picked us up on Sept. 17, 1944, and brought us out of there,” Diles said.

He learned that it was not just his crew that Guerrilla fighters with the Serbian Chetnik Resistance Army had helped. First, they heard of 50 others, then they learned that there were hundreds of other American flyers who had bailed out of their crippled planes and were protected from the Germans by the Serbs.

The United States sent in OSS agents on a daring rescue mission known as Operation Halyard. What started as a 10-day mission lasted nearly six months and the C-47s, landing one by one on a runway built by the Americans and the Serbs, brought out nearly 500 downed American flyers.

“It was a covert operation. The Air Force had four or five men assigned to this shuttle service, flying from Italy to the airstrip in Serbia, picking up a load, and flying them back to Italy,” Diles said.
While the rescue was taking place, Diles said, the U.S. and Great Britain abandoned Mihailovich, accusing him of collaborating with the Germans. They began backing instead communist leader Gen. Josip Tito.

Diles said he and other rescued airmen felt the U.S. government didn’t give Mihailovich credit for helping them and relied on false information in turning against him.

The man who Time Magazine voted Man of the Year in 1941 was put on trial by Tito when the war ended, found guilty of being a traitor, and executed by firing squad.

According to Diles, hundreds of American airmen who had been rescued with Mihailovich’s help were angry and devastated over not being allowed to testify on his behalf.

“I have yet to hear a rational explanation as to why our government abandoned the Serbians or neglected to intervene in the trial of Mihailovich,” Diles said.
At any rate, once back at their home base in southern Italy, Diles and his crew were assigned another B-24 and were soon back helping to bomb Germany into submission.

“Up until that time, if you were shot down and survived, you went home, the entire crew, but I had to go back and fly some more,” he said, no doubt because the U.S. had lost so many bombers on these strategic bombing flights over Europe.

He made 18 more missions. He had a few shrapnel wounds but nothing serious enough to keep him out of action.

The Purple Heart is among the medals he won for his year in combat.

“A lot of men who received that medal died, and I didn’t really feel right about accepting it. But they said I had earned it, and I should take it,” he said.

He also was awarded the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in or with the U.S. Army, distinguishes himself by “meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.”
“I believe one cluster was awarded to the medal for each 10 missions flown, something like that,” Diles said.

Discharged in November 1945, Diles returned to Portsmouth to find a job and get on with his life. He married Inez Pruitt of Vanceburg, Ky., in 1948.

They have lived in the Dayton area — Huber Heights — for the past 36 years. They have three daughters and a son, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
An event taking place 10 years ago in the Dayton area brought to life again those 10 days Diles and his B-24 crew members spent in the mountains of Yugoslavia with the people who saved their lives, the Serbian Chetnik Guerrilla fighters.

The Time-Life book, written in 1978 by Ronald Bailey, had a photograph taken Sept. 17, 1944, by Life magazine photo journalist J.B. Allin, of five American flyers sleeping in a hayloft.

His 12-year-old grandson, Adam Harlow, checked a book out of the school library for a class reading assignment at his junior high school.
The Time-Life book, written in 1978 by Ronald Bailey, had a photograph taken Sept. 17, 1944, by Life magazine photo journalist J.B. Allin, of five American flyers sleeping in a hayloft.

The Time-Life book, written in 1978 by Ronald Bailey, had a photograph taken Sept. 17, 1944, by Life magazine photo journalist J.B. Allin, of five American flyers sleeping in a hayloft.

Harlow’s mother, Teresa, thumbing through the book, discovered the photo on page 188. Diles, then 19, was in the middle, and she recognized him immediately. She rushed to show Adam his grandfather, immortalized now in a 32-year-old Time-Life history book about World War II.

The Life magazine photographer had accompanied the C-47 that flew Diles and the others to safety, and learned from the Serbs of the American flyers hidden in the barn loft.

“That’s my grandpa!” Adam told his teachers and classmates, opening the book to the photograph.

Diles worked for more than 31 years as an automotive machinist with Wolford Machine Shop in Portsmouth. All the time he was trying to get a job at the steel mill in New Boston (first going by Cyclops, then Empire Detroit Steel), which was the best paying job around.

Finally, when he was past 50, he got on there.
“They never hired anybody past 40, but the federal government had a new law about age discrimination, and they could not refuse to hire me because of my age,” Diles said.

He worked there 18 months, until the mill, already on its downward spiral, closed its doors forever in 1980.
“We sold our Portsmouth house, moved to Dayton, and I started life all over at past 50,” Diles said.

“I have subscribed to the Portsmouth Times for more than 60 years,” he said. “I was a Times carrier in 1940-41. My route was in eastern Portsmouth and western New Boston.

“In 1968, my only son, Dennis Diles, had the same route for two years. He saved enough money from his carrier job and a part-time job with K-Mart in Huber Heights to pay his first year’s tuition at Wright State University, where he eventually graduated with a degree in chemistry and was employed by Cargill Corp. in Dayton. Today he’s with Cargill’s Minneapolis Division as a computer chemical engineer.”

Curtis Diles said he did get his PHS diploma after the war.

“I failed to graduate from Portsmouth because I had not taken a required history course. After the war I returned to PHS in order to make up the lost credits and get my diploma,” he said. “I was elated when the principal told me, ‘Diles, you MADE history, (so) I see no need for you to take any course in history.’ All I could say was ‘Thank you, sir!’”

Speaking in response to his interview by a Daily Times reporter for this story, he said, “Your prompting has caused me to review the past 65 years and I find I have had a full enjoyable life with one son, three daughters, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, and still enjoy every day.

“My wife, Inez, and I are still maintaining our independent lifestyle with little help from anyone except for the love of our family and friends.”
He said his two years with the Army Air Force and the nine days he was in Serbia had a life-long effect on him.
“When our national leaders abandoned our ally, Serbia, it was devastating to see my life-saving friends abandoned to the Communist regime,” he said. “I still support my Serbian friends in any way I can.”


Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for first posting the above story from the Portsmouth Times.

Aleksandra’s Note: He is one of the very last of them still living. I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Curtis “Bud” Diles in Chicago, in May of 1994, when he came to participate in the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation being celebrated that year as part of the D-Day Anniversary ceremonies being held throughout the United States. We became instant friends and have stayed in touch ever since. At 84, he continues to share his memories and gratitude for what the Serbs did for the Americans behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia in 1944. He has never forgotten General Mihailovich or his Chetnik forces and is convinced that he would not have returned alive to America and a long and happy post-war life had it not been for the Serbs. As with other rescued airmen I’ve had the privilege of becoming acquainted with over the years, I’m struck by how humble, stoic, and noble men such as Curtis Diles are. They truly exemplify everything that the American Armed Forces are supposed to be. My sincere gratitude goes out to Curtis “Bud” Diles for continuing to remain dedicated to spreading the word about General Mihailovich and the Halyard Mission through all these years. Thank You.
Aleksandra Rebic

Farewell Arthur (Jibby) Jibilian

Born: 4/30/1923   –  Died: 3/21/2010   What a difference he made with “the dash!”!!!


On St. Mary of Egypt’s Day, March 21, 2010, Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian of Fremont, Ohio passed away, but for us who knew him well, he and his story will continue well into the future.


Rest in Peace, Warrior Jibby
“Others had their Superman, Captain Marvel, and Green Hornet Super Heroes.  I had Nick Lalich, George Vuynovich and Jibby!”
Vjecnaja Pamjat. 

“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.  I love only that which they defend.”  (J.R.R. Tolkien).  Arthur (Jibby) Jibilian used his tongue and pen, and later his computer as his sword.  To reach as large an audience as possible his arrows were TRUTHS sent flying in all directions.

I admired Jibby as the finest kind of warrior, not only as the brave and gifted WWII O.S.S. radioman, but in later life, too, when he realized there was another fight to be won. 

As a warrior whose thoughts are pure and good, Jibby tried desperately against all odds to tell the true story of General Draza Mihailovich, the Serbs, and the rescue of the 500+ U.S. airmen from behind German-occupied lines in the former Yugoslavia.  Throughout these 60+ years, he fought the good fight, defending the honor of General Mihailovich and his Chetniks, in guest appearances on airfields, in Museums, on TV and in interviews for documentary films. 

It wasn’t always pretty or easy.  But Jibby persevered through a variety of age-related illnesses because as Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  

Goodbye my friend, Jibby. 

Some may say you lost your battle to leukemia and forces determined to keep plain truths hidden for evil purposes.  As for me, I am positive I see a determined Vince Lombardi waiting in Heaven, reminding everyone there who is happily coming to greet you: “We didn’t lose, we just ran out of time.” 

To the very end, you were always so helpful to me and so many others.  I thank you for your kindness, friendship and love.  You were a wonderful part of my life from the time I was seven.  Good-by my special Super Hero!

Mim Bizic
On January 23, 2010, I nominated two heroes for the Citizen Service Above Self Honors.  One was for George Vujnovich, and the other for Jibby.
Arthur Jibilian, Radio Man Extraordinaire!
By Milana K. Bizic

I’ve known of Arthur (“Jibby”) Jibilian from the time I was seven years old and read my father’s magazine entitled AMERICAN SERB LIFE. Jibby was featured prominently in the serial publication of O.S.S. Captain Nick Lalich’s day by day diary of the rescue of 513 U.S. airmen from behind German-occupied lines in Yugoslavia’s Serbia.

That’s why I drove six hours to see Jibby being honored a few years ago, by the people there in Toledo, Ohio, for a Fly-In. Imagine my joy and excitement in finally meeting the man almost 60 years later, who did so much to help rescue our American airmen, and who was STILL carrying on a fight to have the name of General Draza Mihailovich rightly honored as a hero.

I remember getting up on the stage there on the airfield where Jibby was receiving an award and saying, “Other kids had their Superman, Captain Marvel and Green Lantern heroes. I had George Vujnovich, Nick Lalich, and Jibby! Everyone applauded so enthusiastically when I recalled how I used to pour over those day by day stories and photos documenting the rescue over and over.

Jibby, a REAL AMERICAN HERO, has been recognized as such by his community and his Ohio State Senators and Ohio U.S. Congressmen and Generals. He’s been honored at his University of Toledo where his studies were interrupted when his skills were needed for this rescue! He’s been somewhat of a celebrity on TV shows and in numerous community events where he even served as Grand Marshall of a Homecoming Parade. It is now time for him to be blessed and honored with one of our Nation’s highest awards.

Please visit my website that documents in five different sections the work that Arthur Jibilian has done for his country. Not only with the rescue of the U.S. Airmen, but in his desire to correct a wrong and make it right. A true American.

For years, our U.S. State Department covered up the facts of Operation Halyard. The Legion of Merit Award given to General Draza Mihailovich was kept secret for years so as not to ruffle Tito’s Communist feathers. Arthur has so unselfishly spoken to groups across the country so that more people know of the great deeds of this almost unknown great leader who was sacrificed to expediency and deception.

Also, Jibby has always been grateful to the Serbian villagers who helped rescue and hide the American airmen, who fed them, and even lost their lives to make sure none were harmed. He has served as America’s spokesman for Truth, Justice and the TRUE American way!

Jibby has always been my hero. I hope he becomes one of America’s greatest heroes too, standing alongside all of the brave men and women who have earned our nation’s highest honors, the Congressional Medal of Honor or Citizen Service Above Self Honor. He deserves it!


Here’s a story that appeared in the Toledo Blade


What we can safely say is that ANYONE who met Jibby, loved him……


From Cory Toth, of Congressman Latta’s office:

“Congressman Latta will also be doing a Resolution to honor the life of Jibby and his service to his country through the Navy and the OSS.”

“We are working on a floor speech for the Congressman to talk about Jibby today, as well as suggesting to Mr. Latta a bill to honor the life of Jibby while we continue to pursue the MoH for Jibby.  This issue is far from over and I want you to know and the family to know that we are all working hard to continue the mission.  Jibby was a great man and I loved speaking to him because he was so full of life and knowledgeable.”


From Bill David, one of Jibby’s BEST friends, a pilot and a pilot teacher of so many who belong to the EAA#582 group.

On Mar 23, 2010, at 11:28 PM, William J. David wrote in an email:

    This is what I wrote for our newsletter, share it if you like;

        Right now I’m on gate 6B at Boston Logan Airport.  My phone sounds off that I have a text message, it is from my wife.  It reads in short that Art Jibilian has passed.  The gate agent comes to the cockpit door and tells me the passenger count.  I don’t hear her.  Jibby is gone.  She doesn’t know who Jibby is, she just wants us off her gate.  I look at my co-pilot and tell him that Arthur Jibilian has passed and he is one of the first to know.  He has never heard of Jibby either.  That is a shame on us for not knowing.

    Nobody, or should I say that very few people have heard of him, and that is a shame.  I know who he was and I feel very lucky to be touched by him and his story.  He and his fellow soldiers were honest to God real live American heroes, the kind that you would read about in comic books.  They managed to save over 500 lives during WWII and nobody knows about it.  The guys they rescued went on to live their lives, father families, build careers, help make America great.  Nobody knows of all of this.

      Art’s death brings us all closer to losing a very important piece of real and important American history that has been suppressed by the very government that Art and his colleagues fought for.  That is why nobody knows about him and his fellow soldiers.

    They saved over 500 Americans and nobody knows about it.  We as a nation are worse off because of it.  It disconnects us from our gallant values.  Values that were in place before political correctness became vogue.   Back when people worked together better than they  do now. I think they call them, “the Great Generation.”  They were great, and Art was one of them.   How many people do you know that carried a cyanide pill to work with them just in case?

    This however is not the news of the day.  Tiger Woods will take center stage for his indiscretions.  Even more importantly than the passing of the Health Care Bill.  That is the kind of stuff that is important to us now.  I think as a nation we are losing sight of what made us so great in the first place.  Everybody knows who Tiger and Paris are, but nobody knows who Draža Mihailović was and what he and the Serbian people did for our country, the sacrifices they made so that our boys could live.  Art told me that they loved us and would do anything for us, including the ultimate sacrifice.  I believe what he told me.

    So another one of many great war heroes has passed on.  One less voice to remind us of our past.  One less voice to remind us of what is really important.  One less voice to tell us of the sacrifices that many made so selflessly, years ago.  Our past and what was once important has now, with Art and his fellow soldiers’ passing, become more foggy, more distant, more forgotten.

    Too bad for us.  I was lucky to have learned about this straight from the horse’s mouth, and if you ask me, it’s a little more important than Tiger Woods.

Your Friend,
Bowling Green, OH


Look at these tributes!


“I wish to offer my condolences to you on the passing of Arthur. I was reminded of his exploits in Yugoslavia and his participation in the Halyard Mission which led to the rescue of over 500 American, British, and Canadian Airmen. I read the entire story of his heroics in a local newspaper. I immediately called him and we discussed our experiences in Yugoslavia. I told him how when he parachuted down near the airfield at Pranjani in August of 1944 and ran up the hill to the airfield, I was one of the first airmen to greet him as he approached with Captain George Musulin and the other member of their team. It took about nine days until Jibilian and the team could set up the rescue. The sick and wounded were flown out on August 9, 1944 and the remaining 200 airmen, including myself, were flown out on August 10, 1944. But Jibilian wasn’t through yet. He and the team stayed behind and rescued over 300 additional airmen. They left only when they knew that the airmen had been returned to Allied control.

I thought of that rescue team many times in the years that followed. It took a certain type of person to participate in that kind of mission. Arthur Jibilian was that kind of person… Brave, Strong, Dedicated, Conscientious, Loyal and Devoted. Thanks, Arthur Jibilian, along with General Mihailovich, the Halyard Team, and the Serbian people for saving my life and the lives of over 500 of our fellow airmen.”

With Great Respect,

Milton E. Friend
Lt/Col, USAF (Ret)


“The last of the Halyard Mission operators in the field is no longer with us. Art Jibilian was a brave and courageous man who did not flinch, who unselfishly gave of himself and gave everything to further the cause of justice and freedom and General Mihailovich. More than 500 airmen owe their lives to Jibilian and the Halyard team, and he was the last living connection to those men.”

Major George Vuynovich
Chief of Operations, OSS
Bari, Italy

Who this year will be 95 years old.


“I was stunned. We had lunch with him March 11th and while he appeared a little weak, he ate a healthy meal, was jovial and wished us well. Lest We Forget has a mission to “brighten the future by illuminating the past” and the story of Jibby and how he saved over 500 American airmen during Operation Halyard is a story that must never be forgotten. His heroic story will live on for decades. While small in stature, he was a giant of a man and it was truly an honor to have had the chance to meet him. I never saw Jibby when he didn’t have a smile on his face. If there was ever a soldier who deserved the Medal of Honor it is Arthur Jibilian!”

Don Alsbro
President, Lest We Forget of Southwest Michigan


From an Interview of WWII Veteran hero, Arthur Jibilian by Vladimir Bibic, probably his last interview on camera.  This was at the huge Oshkosh, WI airshow in August, 2009.


The Jibilian Family
Grandson Doug, son Mark, son David, daughter-in-law Margie, great-granddaughter Brandy, and Stacy in flowered top; daughter Debi, and wife Jo.

3 Chetniks in their hats, and Clare Musgrove, rescued American flyer, in blue tie.

Jibby meeting Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Kuchinich, U.S. Representative of Ohio in Cleveland….



Jibby’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service on WTOL Toledo, OH

Jibby would be so proud of his daughter, Debi, who has picked up from where her Dad left off!  Also, thanks to rescued airman, Clare Musgrove, who is also in the video, and of course, to the wonderful folks at WTOL/Toledo, OH!


The fellows at the Northcoast Veterans Museum sent this link to their local newspaper, THE NEWS MESSENGER, about what they had to say about Jibby: 


Stefan Popovic, from Australia, wrote on my Facebook page 3/22/10:

“Made mention of Jibby’s passing on my radio program last night and dedicated a song to him – thought it was particularly appropriate – ‘Od topole pa do Ravne Gore.’  🙂

Beautiful! Jibby would have loved it.  He truly enjoyed singing all the old Chetnik songs.

UPDATE:  From good friend, Steve Kozobarich in Ohio for Jibby in Heaven!  Click the link below!:

Od Topola pa do Rave Gore


Brian MaMahon, President of Danberry National LTD, and a member of EAA #582 from Toledo, sent this email message: 

“Art Jibilian lost his battle to leukemia over the weekend and passed away.  Prior to Art entering the hospital for what turned out to be his chemo treatment, he must have had a premonition.  One of the last discussions I had with Art was that:

      “If something happens to me, please make sure that you thank all the people who have helped me in my efforts to recognize the Serbian people and re-write history with regards to General Mihailovich.  Tell everyone how much it means to me that I was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor.  I never expected in my wildest dreams to ever be considered worthy of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  All these special events that people have created and their efforts to assist me, meant a great deal to me, even if I never receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, “it was a great ride” and most men my age never have an opportunity to participate in these types of events and meet so many great people”.

In that regard, Art Jibilian would like to thank the following individuals and organizations in no particular order of importance.  I will try to do this in the chronological order in which they took place:
     –     To Bill Hirzel and Capt. Bill David and all the Members of the EAA Chapter 582 for honoring me at their Air Show at Metcalf Airport
     –     To Bridgett David who provided medical and psychological comfort for me and my family during these trips to the Indy Championship Race
            and Air Venture/Oshkosh.
     –     To the members of the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport for flying me to that Air Show in their B-17
     –    To General A. J. Feucht, Jr., Col. Bartman, Capt. Bentley, Col. Mike Digby and all the  members of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air Guard for that special event that took place at the Air Guard on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th of 2 years ago.  I was especially honored to be installed as a “Honorary Colonel”.
     –    To racing legend – Scott Goodyear – for inviting Dr. Harold Brown and myself to the Indy Championship Race in Chicago last year
     –    To John Wagner and his family for flying me to Oshkosh
     –    To John Robinson Block, Dave Murray and Joe Zerbey from the TOLEDO BLADE and Jack Kelly of the PITTSBURG-POST GAZETTE for their articles and support in helping me share the fact that the Tuskegee Airmen flew cover for a number of these rescue missions. 

Without the support of the Tuskegee  
Airmen, we would not have been able to keep all 512 airmen escape from behind enemy lines and return us safely home.
     –    To my good friend Dr. Harold Brown and all of the Tuskegee Airmen for providing air cover during “Operation Halyard”.
     –    To Gregory Freeman for publishing THE FORGOTTEN 500 that allowed so many people to become aware of “Operation Halyard” and all the individuals
who participated in this rescue mission.
     –   To Danny Clisham of the EAA who allowed us to participated in the AirVenture/ Oshkosh program and gave me the opportunity to thank the Tuskegee Airmen for their efforts.
     –    To Tim Barzen and members of the RED TAIL REBORN for all of their efforts.
     –    To Brad Ball of NASCAR and Jack Roush of Roush Fenway Racing for their efforts to contact the national media.
     –    To Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, Dan Saevig, and Vern Snyder for including me and my
          friend, Dr. Harold Brown in last year’s UT Homecoming and including us in the Parade of Heroes.
     –    To Joe Zerbey and the members of the Toledo Rotary providing me with the last opportunity to make a public presentation on Operation Halyard.
     –   To Mim, the Tesla Memorial Society and all the members of the Serbian community who worked so hard on my behalf.
On behalf of all of us who were touched by Art’s heroism, his final tribute was to donate his body to the University of Toledo’s Medical College for research.  We want to thank his wife Jo and his daughter Debbie for sharing Art with us during what was a very difficult time.


From Marti Grimes in Florida:

“So sorry to hear of Jibby’s passing. He lived an extraordinary and most productive life and I am sure all who knew him pray that he is now in the hand of Our Lord!”


Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic for sharing this incredible interview conducted by Jose A. Amoros, Host and Executive Editor of the program,  Foreign Policy and You on WPRR 1680 AM 95.3 FM, Public Reality Radio.

Jose interviewed Jibby and author Gregory Freeman simultaneously, on what would be Jibby’s last interview: March 17, 2010.



On Mar 28, 2010, at 2:18 PM, Sam Subotich wrote:

 Jibby’s memorial at the American Legion Hall in Fremont went REALLY well.  Almost two hundred people half filled the large hall that was adorned with many of Jibby’s tributes, along with his crystal “Medal of Honor Nomination”, WWII uniform, medals, plus many, many pictures, a video, beautiful red, white and blue flower arrangement by rescued airmen Charles Davis with a wonderful letter.  Family, friends and also Chetniks from Ravna Gora Cleveland, plus a 2 star General, and a Tuskegee Airmen who gave a nice speech. Light food and drink plus the beautiful hall made a very nice tribute.


Only two days before he died, I had talked on the phone to Jibby, thanking him for sending me the following RARE photo I needed for some research work. It was typical of Jibby’s efforts to readily assist until the very end of his battle!

Jibby and Nick Lalich visit the two Serbian officers on General Mihailovich’s staff who were blinded by the war.

He also sent the following info received from Charlie Davis, one of the rescued Air Men.

Click to enlarge about the Halyard Mission.


Wonderful tribute from the Tuskeegee Airmen

and the REDTAILS project:


Celebration of Life Ceremony

at the Legion Hall

3 American Legion Members


Brian McMahon & Pilot Mike Digby with the 180th Air National Guard in front of the traveling exhibit of Arthur’s memorabilia from the Northocoast Veterans Association.


Brian & Dan Weise and Bill Hirzel.


How Mihailovich was captured

In 1946, the rescued U.S. Airmen banded together to try to attend the Kangaroo Trial General Draza Mihailovich was subjected to by Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia who already so unjustly pronounced him guilty of crimes against the people of Yugoslavia.

Luckily for us, the airmen from all over the United States kept a copy of every article that ever appeared in their local or national newspapers and magazines. 

The capture of General Mihailovich was written about by Stanley Pieza, longtime newspaper reporter.



Stanley Fieza began his news story in 1946: 


General Draza Miahilovich, Yugoslav hero, now being tried by a Marshall Tito court on charges of treason and Nazi collaboration was kidnapped by airplane by Tito’s Communists who posed as allied officers and friends, it was charged today in an official document.

Heretofore, no official explanation had been made of Mihailovich’s capture. 

The sensational facts of the capture came to light in a document smuggled out of Yugoslavia into France, on to the United States and into the hands of U.S. government officials. 

The document states that Tito’s followers masqueraded as allied airmen, speaking English and French, came down into Yugoslav mountains where Mihailovich was hidden, and took the sick and unconscious general in a plane under pretense of taking him to Italy for hospitalization. 


The document, obtained by the Herald-American, included states of Maj. Milos Markovich, commander of the Pozega Corps of the Royal Yugoslvan army which was stationed in the area of Trudovo village before May 13.  According to the major’s report, Mihailovich became seriously ill with typhus in February.  (Tito announced Mihailovich was captured March 13.)  

Details of the capture, as reported, in the document follow: 

“The supreme command arrived in the region situated south of Rudno on March 10, 1946.  We have received medicants for our sick commander, Gen. Mihailovich, from this village.

“During one of the movements pamphlets were strewn over the area near Samengjevo, these evidently edited by Anglo-Americans, who informed us they have arrived to aid us with arms and ammunition.                                                                                                              “On the following night, some planes reappeared over the area, flying very low.  They dropped several packs of arms, ammunition and sanitary supplies so sadly needed, and which were of allied origin.  One of the packs were (was) with instructions to designate the sport for landing the planes and how they should be marked and the time. 

“In the afternoon of March 13, 1946, two planes appeared with allied insignia.  Flying very low, they threw out some flares requesting that we indicate the landing spots.”



After designating the field, the report continued, two planes landed and several officers, dressed in allied uniforms, stepped out of these planes.  They spoke English and French to the Chetniks.  The report continues:

The three officers of the group were led to our staff headquarters and presented to our staff officers.  Upon learning of the condition our chief commander, who had a very high fever and was unconscious, they said that they wanted to take our sick commander, Gen. Mihailovich, to Italy for a cure. 

“We had him placed immediately in a plane in company of our two officers, while unconscious.  At the same time, two other planes landed and nine officers, among them two non-commissioned officers, the personal attendants of the general, boarded the planes.  Immediately following the take-off of the plane in which our commander was placed, the other planes followed.” 


The ruse whereby their leader was captured was discovered soon after two squadrons of planes flew over the area, serving as signaling planes to ground forces of our enemy.  The report went on: 

“These planes dropped small gas bombs, overcoming our troops stationed to guard our supreme headquarters.  Then we noticed motorized troops were coming in our direction from the area of Prihoj, which a new group of enemy planes began dropping parachutist troops upon the supreme headquarters.  It was then that our troops realized finally that the enemy had employed a cowardly ruse to kidnap our commander. 

“It was through such cowardly use of allied uniforms, planes, arms and ammunition the enemy accomplished this, which they could not do through combat.  We lost between 3,000 and 4,000 warriors.  Many of Tito’s men were also killed.” 

The report further states that Mihailovich was brought to Sarajevo by the kidnapers, then to Belgrade, without regaining consciousness.  He was kept alive by artificial nourishment, the statement said, adding that the general was unconscious for at least seven days.


  1. 55of book of newspaper clippings assembled by the National Committee of American Airmen Rescued by General Mihailovich, INC.



Cica in chains…

How Reds Seized Stricken Mihailovich by Cowardly Ruse

By Stanley Pieza, 1946, p. 55  Natl. Com. Of Amer.Airmen Rescued by Gen. Draza Mihailovich  

(Transcribed by Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic, Sept. 2, 2014

(Stanley Pieza died age 88, retired Chicago reporter and editor, started as a police reporter in the 1920’s and then covered religion in the city for more than four decades for the Chicago Examiner and Chicago’s American and Chicago Today.  He began with the Chicago Examiner at age 26.   Read more: )

Other photos of Draza Mihailovich, HERO

Young Draza in WWI, Hero!

The Draza the 512 Rescued U.S. Airmen knew, besides the 100+ other Allied airmen!

The Cica Draza, forever in our hearts and souls…

An $100,000 reward is being offered by the Serb National Defense to anyone who finds the grave of General Draza Mihailovich and proves the identity through DNA testing!

+George Vujnovich & Operation Halyard

Farewell to our Beloved Hero:  George Vujnovich 

St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City: 4/28/12

George Vujnovich, a former U.S. Army Major and businessman, died peacefully in his home in Jackson Heights, April 24, 2012.  The 96 year old would have been 97 on May 15, as he was born in 1915, to Serbian immigrant parents, Mane and Cvjeta Vujnovich, who immigrated to the United States in 1913 from the village of Vitunj near Ogulin, in Lika.  He had two younger siblings, Peter and Mary.  Mary passed away in 2009. 

The man who worked so diligently with the late +St. Bishop Nikolai to make St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City a reality, was facing the altar one last time. An “opelo” or requiem funeral service for the departed +George Vujnovic was movingly conducted by V. Rev. Fr. Djokan Majstorovich (Cathedral Dean) and  Fr. Vladislav Radujkovich, of St. Sava’s New York Cathedral, and retired, long-time serving priest of the parish V. Rev. Toma Popovich, and V. Rev. Dr. Luka Novakovich, a guest from Belgrade.   Their beautiful and harmonious singing certainly eased the sorrow of the family members and other mourners present, knowing the distinguished clergymen were offering final prayers on behalf of the man who served as President of St. Sava’s Cathedral for ten years and was always working for his church and Serbian people everywhere.

Exquisite floral tributes surrounded the wooden casket, but the arrangement sent by Michael Djordejvic (Past President of the Serbian Unity Congress) and long-time friend bears special mention as the red/blue/white flowers formed a Serbian flag, scented and symbolic on many different levels, reminding us of just who George Vujnovich was, and what he represented to so many.  From the time of his birth on Pittsburgh’s South Side until his death at age 96, first-class American George was always proud of his Serbian heritage. The flowers reminded us.  He met his beloved wife and soulmate, Mirjana Lazich, an English literature teacher, while studying in Belgrade, Serbia.  The painted daisies made us remember.  He was in charge of the incredible rescue operation known as “Operation Halyard” that successfully brought 512 U.S. airmen safely home from Nazi Germany occupied Serbia. The flag was surrounded by green laurel leaves, reminding us of George’s heroism.  George was a member of the Serb National Federation from birth and a founding member of the Serbian Unity Congress. He helped the Serb National Defense bring refugees from Serbia to America for decades, and so much more!  The floral flag was a reminder of George’s passion to do all in his power to help Americans and Serbians, no matter where they lived, all his life.

At the end of the church service, there was a military service with the playing of “Taps,” and the American flag was presented to daughter, Xenia.

At the church hall afterwards, George’s neighbors were present to pay their last respects.  Mary Kelly Brown, Madga Vassilev and her son George Vassulev saiid that George knew EVERYONE in the neighborhood.  He knew the grocer, baker, the barber and all other shop owners and their extended, multi-generational families well.  “He had an uncanny memory!” recalled his good friends George Knezevich and George Crozak, also members of St. Sava’s.

Both men also spoke about George at the Mercy Dinner held afterwards in the St. Sava’s Hall adjacent to the Cathedral. Knezevich noted how they were friends for 53 years, calling Vujnovich’s a great humanist, who continuously fought for truth and freedom, deeds that brought him happiness as well as sorrow during many trials and tribulations.  George Knezevich had prepared the “Zhito” and his wife, Ljiljana, the pogacha in loving remembrance.  Noting George’s relentless fight on behalf of his beloved Serbian people, Knezevich announced: “There’s an old Serbian saying that asks, ‘Who is going to go before Milosh?’  GEORGE will!”  he proudly proclaimed on behalf of his leader and friend.

Knezevich recalled how grateful he was to have gone with Vujnovich to Ravna Gora in Serbia and with Father Luka to the Patriarchate in Belgrade when they presented the “Legion of Honor” Medal posthumously to General Dragoljub Mihailovich  by U.S. President Harry Truman, to Mihailovich’s daughter.  The award was hidden for decades by the U.S. State Department in order not to displease Yugoslav Communist leader, Tito.


Speech I gave at the Dacha for George Vujnovich:
I May Be ONE……

I may be one standing before you, but I represent all those Pittsburgh Serbs who were proud to call George their own as he was born on 2517 Larkins Way, four doors away from my grandparent’s and father’s home, right behind the American Serb Club on the South Side that many of you know so well.

I may be one, but I emblematize the students and citizens of Ambridge, PA who were proud of the fact that George had graduated from Ambridge High School, and only recently, in 2009, became a member of their very FIRST “Hall of Fame.”

I may be one, but I stand for the parishioners of St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, who know the church played an important part in George’s religious training and upbringing and who were always so grateful to George for the role he played for our American government.

I may be one, but I represent all of those SNF (Serb National Federation) members who were/are so proud that BECAUSE of George’s intellectual abilities and accomplishments, he was one of the nine stipendists selected to study in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1934.
I may be one, but I represent the so few remaining 500 U.S. airmen who were rescued by George and the O.S.S.  They, along with Lt. Col. John Cappello of the U.S. Embassy, send their love and condolences to the family.  Gregory Freeman, the author of THE FORGOTTEN 500 relayed rightly so that George may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten.  

I may be one, but I know I represent all those Serbian Unity Congress members across the world who mourn their fallen warrior.  George was present at almost all of the Conventions, and I never attended one where George didn’t welcome me as warmly as he would a daughter.

Let me tell you why I’m really here today.  I have never traveled anywhere far away by myself—for whatever FUDs (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that we all have sometime.  Although I made many phone calls, people who loved George dearly were already committed to other events or activities.  I was beginning to resign myself to also staying home and sending a sympathy card to the family.

But then, I recalled a picture so indelibly seared into my mind…. the image of George in his wheelchair, traveling at age 93 from NYC to Washington, DC by taxi/train/taxi to attend a Congressional hearing about Serbian people.  I’ll never forget old George-93!- wheeling himself in with his Chetnik Chubura on his head!  What bravery, love, and dedication to a cause!  George was a LEADER in every respect, showing the way.  
If he could do it at 93 in a wheelchair, surely I’d have no excuse.

I may be ONE, dear George, but I’m here today.  YOU continue to pave the way!  You were the ALCHEMIST who forged the believers and naysayers into a team, turning a dour and dangerous situation into GOLD—freedom for the 500 Americans trapped behind German-occupied lines in Serbia.  

You were the DANCER, always sharing ideas and able to take those bold steps when necessary, outsmarting some of the best enemies.

You were the DIAMOND CUTTER, focused, precise and dedicated.  You brought those men home, home to Bari, Italy.

You, George, were GREAT by CHOICE…..but ever so humble.  WE were lucky to have you with us for so long to guide us as a role model when it came to courage and willingness to take a stand.  You had Integrity, Ethics, and VALUES.  YOU did exceptional service for our country.
I’m so proud to have called you my friend, my guide and my HERO!  “Vjecnaja Pamjat” -“MEMORY ETERNAL to one of America’s BEST!
All my love, Milana (Mim) BIzic  4/27/12  Written on Chicha Draza Mihailovich’s birthday (1893)
Torsten Ove, at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was the FIRST to break the story of George Vujnovich’s passing:
Here is the NY TIMES Obituary:

Aleksandra Rebic graciously shared this letter from Senator George Voinovich that appears on her website blog about General Draza Mihailovich:


Mrs. Carol & U.S. Senator George Voinovich with Serbia’s President Boris Tadic in Cleveland, 9/20/09

 Click lower right hand corner to enlarge letter—>



Thanks to the efforts of MANY people, led by Nenad Milenkovich, U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley, Shawn Hodjati, Lt. Col. Steve Oluic, the S.U.C., Dana Maksimovich, Milton Papich, Mim Bizic, Aleksandra Rebic, etc………

George Vujnovich was awarded the BRONZE STAR!

Photo of Tony Orsini (Rescued U.S. Airman), George Vujnovich (Head of OSS Haylard Mission in Bari, Italy), & U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley at Award Ceremonies in NYC by Diane Bondereff, sent by Tomislav Djurdjevich 10/18/10.

Click lower right hand corner to enlarge—->

Capt. Vujnovich’s daughter speaking on behalf of the Vujnovich Family……. 10/17/10, NYC

Click lower right hand corner to enlarge —–>

Reason:  For Meritorious Achievement

Permanent Orders 242-37  August 20, 2010

Congratulations, George Vujnovich!

Read more about George at this site of

Aleksandra Rebic:


Capt. Vujnovich’s daughter speaking at St. Sava’s Cathedral Hall as George accepts his Bronze Star Award from the U.S. Government, 66 years later.

Here is a link to the CBS coverage of the event:





Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:


Allegheny TIMES (Front Page) 10/19/10


An earlier story by Torsten Ove in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Nov. 23, 2008

93-year old’s WWII feats are hidden no longer


Another Post-Gazette article of July 31, 2009, by Jack Kelly

Trying to right a wrong

WWII airmen Honored for role in Rescue Operation


Gregory Freeman, author of the book THE FORGOTTEN 500, which detailed George’s pivotal role in Operation Halyard, is hown here at the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC.

His famous book:


Here’s the author’s website:


The names of the winners of the contest seen here were printed in the American SRBOBRAN in their entirety on Wednesday,  Sept. 2, 2009

First Place:

Michele Popadich, age 15, Chicago Illinois.

Jovanka Potkonjak, age 11, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Second Place:


Marica Potkonjak, age 15, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Andjelka Potkanjak, age 12 Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Djuka Potkanjak, age 14, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Third Place:

Vasilije (Vaso) Katanic, age 10, Hermitage, PA (Farrell)


Honorable Mention:


Dusica Solic, Age 15, Hermitage, Pennsylvania


Natasha Ignatowski, Age 11, Franklin, Wisconsin


Peter George Majetich, Age 12, Poland, Ohio.


Congratulations to ALL of the young people who entered this contest, including those listed above and also to those who entered the contest and submitted their fine book reports for consideration.  Just by entering, you proved yourselves true sons and daughters of Liberty!

Thank you all very, very much! 


It was a busy time for men in THE FORGOTTEN 500 this summer/fall 2010.

While George Vujnovich was being awarded THE BRONZE STAR, Captain George (GOV) Musulin was being inducted into the

Cambria County

Military Hall of Fame.

Thanks to Frank Lashinsky for sending this post:–Saylor-among-inductees.html?nav=742

“The above link takes you to a newspaper story, that tells the story of recent honors awarded  to George Musulin.”


And meanwhile, back in Serbia, this video was being made of the Heavenly Cottages (Rajski-Konaci) near Pranjani.  The man featured here, Slobodan Jevtovic, is one of the fellows, who along with his family helped CHARLIE DAVIS, one of the rescued airmen, for 3 months (hiding, feeding, guarding him with their lives!) This is now a 4 star village household and a place of exceptional village tourism. These cottages are in the village of Leusici, 30 km from Gornji Milanovac and Cacak, nestled among flowery meadows and orchards, hidden within the shades of an old plum orchard.  Its been called an authentic paradise surrounded by the creeks and springs of crystal clear drinking water. Besides the great water, Lt. Col. John Cappello attests to the great KAYMAK they make here!


G. Vujnovich’s

Big Day


Tony Orsini, Tomislav Djurdjevich, and George Vujnovich, 10/17/10


St. Sava Cathedral, NYC

St. Sava’s website:


Inside of St. Sava’s Cathedral in NYC


Mim, thanks for sharing this with us. This is a moving story (George Vujnovich & Operation Halyard). Of course, I knew about this rescue, but what I didn’t know was that this has been  the largest air rescue of American soldiers behind enemy lines in any war!

We owe these heroes to remember them, military and civilian alike, those who are still living and those who have passed away. They are the beacons of courage and humanity, they are human bridges of goodwill, they give meaning to the word ‘mankind’. We need to cherish the memory of their noble action for generations to come.

Posted by

Nevena Radosevic


Post this into your Browser to see George Vujnovich accept his Bronze Star Award



Michael Papich initiated a book report contest for young readers the age of 18 or younger:  He donated $100 to the best book report written on The Forgotten 500.  Since first announcing this book report contest, additional offers of donations to the winners came in!

Among those who have offered to contribute to the contest reward was Branko Terzic, U.S. Delegate of HRH Crown Prince Alexander, who donated $200 to be dispersed among the first, second and third prize winners.

Another contributor was your BabaMim hostess, Milana (“Mim”) Bizic of Pennsylvania, who also contributed $100, to be dispersed between the top three winners of the Forgotten 500 Book Report contest


Michael Papich initiated a book report contest for young readers the age of 18 or younger:  He donated $100 to the best book report written on The Forgotten 500.  Since first announcing this book report contest, additional offers of donations to the winners came in!

Among those who have offered to contribute to the contest reward was Branko Terzic, U.S. Delegate of HRH Crown Prince Alexander, who donated $200 to be dispersed among the first, second and third prize winners.

Another contributor was your BabaMim hostess, Milana (“Mim”) Bizic of Pennsylvania, who also contributed $100, to be dispersed between the top three winners of the Forgotten 500 Book Report contest


St. Sava Day Celebrations in California 1898/1911

I was thrilled to find an article written in 1911 called



in what is listed as the San Francisco call.  

National songs sung and Patriots Honored at Banquet, Oakland, California

January 29, 1911

“In honor of Sveti Sava, the Servian saint, the Servian colonists celebrate their national holiday for the first time in Oakland yesterday, the exercises being held in  California Hall, in Clay Street between Tenth and Eleventh.  About 200 men and women from Oakland, San Francisco  and other Bay cities were present.

“A feature of the evening was a banquet in which St. Sava humns and other national songs were sung.  Toasts were offered in honor of other Servian leaders and patriots and President Taft and other Americans.  Speeches were made in favor of San Francisco as the site for the Panama Exposition.

“St. Sava is the honored saint of the Servians because of the great things he accomplaished for the education of his people, both high and low, and by advancing his country by the eample he set.”








However, I was even more surprised to find an even earlier newspaper clipping date from

January 27, 1898

p. 9, Image 9 from the San Francisco call!

They observed St. Sava’s Day: Local Servians Celebrate Their National Holiday:

Religious Services at the Slavonian Church & Banquet in the Evening:

Ladies and Gentlemen Make Merry in Honor of their Country’s Saint

The celebration of St. Sava’s day, the Servian national holiday, in commemoration of their patron saint, was brought to a fitting conclusion by a banquet given by the Servian-Montenegrin Literary and Benevolent Society at Lodge Hall, on Polk street, last evening. 

Covers were laid for 175 guests, every seat being occupied by the members and their ladies when at 8:30 o’clock Rev. Father Sebastian Dabovich, a native of San Francisco, who was seated at the right of the president, arose to perform the beautiful ceremony of blessing the bread. (Just for those who don’t know, Fr. Sebastian is now ST. Sebastian Dabovich!)

Addressing the assemblage in the Slavonic language, the priest first gave a brief outline of the life and work of St. Sava, after which he pronounced blessing upon the bread and wine before him. Then, as he passed it to the older persons to partake of, he accompanied the offering with this benediction: “As ye drink of this wine and eat of this bread, the full of the earth, so I would bless you and have you live in the true faith, In virtue, charity and unity.” 

At the conclusion of this ceremony a vigorous attack was made on the delicacies with which the three long tables were heaped. The banquet hall had been artistically decorated for the occasion, while rarely has a company been invited to a more tempting repast. 

President Glavinovich presided, and when the assemblage had done full justice to the edibles, delivered a brief address. This was followed by. a program of exercises in entire harmony with the occasion, and the national and historical events of the people. 

St. Sava was born in the twelfth century. He was the youngest son of Stefan Nemanja, who united the Servians in their first kingdom. Leaving his home secretly, he secluded himself at the age of 17 years, in the holy Mount Athos. Finally, on being discovered, yielding to the tears of their son, his parents allowed him to remain there in prayer and study. 

It was after the death of his father, when the wise  Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople, heard of the holy life of this hermit, ‘and on examining him as to his ability’ and consulting with the episcopate of his patriarchate, announced that he desired to consecrate Sava archbishop for the Servians. But Sava, in his humility, declined the dignity and said he was willing to go to his people as a worker, but for an archbishop a better and more qualified man should be sought. 

However, being prevailed upon by his brothers, the people and the patriarch, Sava consented, and he became the first archbishop of the Servian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which ever since has been in full communion with the Eastern Apostolic Church

(Story continued in right hand column above.)

Early St. Sava’s Day Celebrations

Already the Serbs in the Bay area were promoting this Panama-Pacific Exposition event in 1911 at their St. Sava’s Day festivities! 

Below is a postcard of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

The “Servians” celebrated with the rest of the world too!


They Observed St. Sava’s Day Continued from lower left hand column…

How LUCKY we are to have this recorded history!

St. Sava’s greatest work was the opening of schools, which multiplied throughout the country. He educated a new choir of faithful clergy in place of the few (Jre.k missionaries left in the country. 

It was in 1222 when the apostle of the Servians crowned his brother Dushan Emperor of the Serbs and Slaveni, his dominion having spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and “from the Danube to the Southern Archipelago. 

The great and good Archbishop fixed a firm foundation for the Orthodox Christian church in the Balkan country by creating twelve dioceses and consecrating for them twelve Servian Bishops. 

In praise of their first teacher the Slavonians in San Francisco sung their odes in their music and language, or which the great Sehaffarik in his Slavische Spracheund Literature says the following*

Servian songs resemble the tune of the violin; old Slavonian that of the organ^ Polish that of a guitar. The old Slavonian in its psalms is like the loud rush of the mountain stream: the Polish like the bubbling and sparkling of a fountain, and the Servian like the quiet murmuring of a streamlet in the valley.” 

The Servian holiday began Tuesday evening by a nocturnal service in their church on Powell Street.  Yesterday morning the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was offered by Father Sebastian. 

The officers of the society under whose auspices the banquet were given are as follows: President, J. Glavinovich; vice-president. IC Tasovac; treasurer. S. Jovovlch; recording secretary, S. Vucosavlievich; financial secretary, G. A. Dabovich.

The society has 140 members and is in a flourishing condition. Servians Give a Banquet. There was a largely attended banquet and tuitfitnlnmit. given by the Srpsko Jedinstvo Society at Pythian Castle last night.

The entertainment was in honor of the second anniversary of the society, and the following program was presented: Piano solo, fantasia, “Trovatore” (Verdi), Mrs. R. Trkovioh; recitation. “SlovInkinjasam Mala,” by Miss Minnie Kleciak; bass solo from opera “La Sonnambn!a” (Bellini),S. Crnogorac; piano solo, “Servian Potpourri,” Miss Mabel Mltrovich; s.’liratin solo, cavatina, “Barber of Seville” (Rossini), Mrs. <;. Crnogorac; tenor solo, from opera “(“rcsplno c la Comare” (Rlrcl). A. V. Sptletak; Spanish cachuca. Miss Olga de Curtoni; piano solo. “IIBoj,” from opera “Zrini” (Zaic). Miss Minnie Kleciak; duet, “La Danza.” (Panizza), Mr. and Mrs. Crnogorac.


To learn more about St. Sava, look here:

You know you're Serbian when.....

You win the Miss Oregon beauty contest as a “Bosnian” refugee,  as did 24 yr. old SERBIAN beauty Danijela Krstic and one of the first things you do is take 45 Kosovo Serb children from the ghettos in Orahovac, Gorzacevac, Hoca and Pec to the Montenegrin coast for a summer vacation and a tour of the Orthodox holy sites! “The words of praise are too small for Danijela’s humanity and everything she has done for our children — we shall never forget this.”

 (Milica Peric, teacher pedagogue)

The SERBIAN beauty and her family were forced to flee Alija Izetbegovic’s jihad forces from her hometown in Zvornik. We love you, Danijela! You’re proud of who you are, and boy, are we proud of YOU!”


You know you’re Serbian, when you know from a very young age, who and what you are, and love it!


Georgiana and Milica, from Windsor, Ontario, Canada! How I love this photo!  Great memories!


For almost 20 years I’ve been reading “You Know You’re Serbian when….sayings on the Internet. 

Most of the Serbianisms below have been gathered from the “You Know You’re Serbian” Facebook group and also from the Los Angeles, California website, 

I’ve selected a few here to share with you.

You Know You’re Serbian when:

Your Mama makes a Kolach like this one made in Akron, OH on St. Sava’s Day!


From Protonica in California.  Will post as soon as I find name on Facebook again!


Your day suddenly lights up when you meet another Serb.

You have 17 consonants and 2 vowels in your name.

Your mother and father expect you to “hit da books” and expect nothing less than A’s on your report cards.

A cold shiver runs down your spine when your mom threatens you by using the word “Tata” (Father) in a sentence.

Your Baba (Grandmother) calls all cereal “Corn Flakes” or calls the well-known salty snacks “Chip Potatoes.”

You celebrate Christmas and Easter and New Year’s 2 weeks after everyone else.

There’s at least one relative your family refuses to talk to.

At least one of your friends is named Dragan and your Asian friends love you because they think its Dragon.

You have a Serbian cross, flag, or icon hanging from your car mirror.

Your Mom uses butter instead of Crisco to fry everything. 

You are somehow related to every 1 in 3 Serbian girls or boys.

Your grandparents pronounce three, thirteen and thirty three as tri, tirteen, and tirty tree.

When your parents constantly say you’ll end up a nobody if you don’t graduate from college.  (They start saying this at age 1.)

You’re at a Zabava, and guys try to pick you up with the line, “Hey Baby, what’s your SLAVA?”

You live for the annual SerbFests/FolkFests/ FoodFests and/or SNF Golf, Basketball, Bowling Tournaments, or Serbian Singing Federation /SOCA Festivals.

You can’t wait to go back to Shadeland Camp for Tambura Week.

Whenever you kiss somebody, you kiss them 3 times!

You hear the word “Batina” and cringe or run for your life.

When the Baba Grapevine travels faster than the National Emergency Alert!

When you write on your history exam that Nikola Tesla is the Father of Electricity, not Thomas Edison, and your teacher fails you.  

When your friends’ parents talk to you like they’re YOUR PARENTS too.

The word “SRAMOTA!” will deter you from anything.

Cevapcici on the grill are better than steak any day.

All Middle Easterners are called “Turci.”

A week after Slava, Bozic and Easter you are still eating Sarmas.

You can dance a kolo to anything, even trumpets playing “Moravac” in Guca!

When you sing “Djurdjevdan” at all Serbian parties.

Your Dad (Granddad) tells you “Dis is the TURD time I am telling you dis” and you are afraid to laugh!

When you look for last names that end in an “ic” or “ich”

Your favorite phrase is “Nema Problema.”

When people still think you’re from Siberia even though you’ve told them countless times its Serbia.

When you actually know what it means when Peja Stojakovic holds up three fingers.

Upon meeting another Serb, one of your first questions is, “What church do you go to?”

As a child, the Babas at your church caused you permanent brain damage from asphyxiation by pressing your face into their ample bosoms while shouting, “O joj, Zlato!” over and over again.

You have a doily covering your DVD, VRC, printer and scanner.

Your church has a fully loaded bar.

Rakija is used to cure all illnesses, celebrate ll occasions and is used as a massage lotion.

Almost all of your relatives who emigrate from the Old Country are engineers.

You know the ‘Electrical’ answer already to “What kind of engineer are you?” when you meet an American Serb engineer for the first time?  (Thanks to Nikola Tesla!)

When your brother makes the groom’s side of the family bid for you, before he lets you (the Bride) come out of the house.

“Svatovac” is strummed by the tambura/accordion orchestra when the bridal negotiations are successfully settled and cheers arouse from the whole neighborhood watching the proceedings.

You’re crowned King and Queen of your household in Church during your wedding and told to multiply like Rebekah.

Your Baba and/or Djedo live in your basement.

You think everything is a conspiracy.

You base your future life on the fortune in your coffee cup.

You have a picture of Kosovka Devojka in your house.

All other action stops when you hear the music “Boze Pravde.”

Your parents know everything you did at the basketball tournament before you get home.

A Serbian baby shower is as big as most American weddings!

Your friends can’t understand why your summer vacation consisted of playing golf in a town called Farrell or Aliquippa.

You’re watching your favorite basketball team and someone scores a three pointer you interpret the referee’s 3 fingers in the air as support for Serbia.

There’s a bust of Cica Draza on your living room wall and a hand-made afghan over the chair.

After a few years of working, you get sick every January 7, 14 and 20th.

You’re the only one on your block who still has Christmas lights up till well past Dec. 25.

You delight every time you hear +Karl Malden say the name “Mladen Sekulovich” somewhere in a TV Show or movie! 

You think there’s nothing better in the world than dipping bread into the roasted lamb or pig drippings.

If you were taught to love not just your immediate family but up to your 10th cousin or more and NOT to marry them.

You tell Americans where you’re from and you end up explaining the entire history of Yugoslavia.

When you think there are only 2 types of people in this word….. the Serbians and everyone who wishes they were.  (Button on Serbian doll:  “Kiss me, I’m Serbian!”)


 You know you’re Serbian when you have a name like this:

 Vaso, Vasilije, Vukosav, Dusanka, Dusica, Vukosava and Bogdan and Bozidar and so many more!  See below for a good list!

you find out more about your proud Serbian roots here, like Tony Zoroya did, and proudly display your new shirt!


You know you’re Serbian when you really love and honor your Tata, Bob Sparcie, on his 80th Birthday at the Men’s Club Picnic at the St. Elijah Serbian picnic grounds!

Bob Spacie's 80th
Happy Birthday, Bob!  Shown here, 4 beautiful daughters, one handsome grandson! JT Sergeant!

(Click bottom right hand side of photo to enlarge.)


You know you’re Serbian when you know who Slobodan Zelich was, and you hope his memory lives on  forever!


Za Cast i Slobodu Srbiju
“Za Cast i Slavu Srbije”

“Sve Najbolje!”

He was an outstanding educator!  Thanks, Slobodan!


You know you’re Serbian when the name “Libertyville” means something to you.


You know you’re Serbian when you think nothing of even traveling to another STATE, just to participate in Pittsburgh 3-Day!

 (Click photo to enlarge!)

These Lackawanna, NY kids are Super Serbs!

You know you’re Serbian when you think there are only 2 types of people in this word….. the Serbians and everyone who wishes they were Serbian.


You know you’re Serbian when you want to share a really good website with other Serbs!

The L.A. Serbs have a tremendous section on their website of words to Serbian Songs.  View it here:


You know you’re Serbian when you belong to the

Serb National Federation (SNF) and get the SRBOBRAN at home.

Phone:  412`458-5227

615 Iron City Drive, Suite 302, Pittsburgh, PA 15205:

Contact Miloš Rastović

The SNF Preserves:

Serbian national heritage, cutlure, traditions, history and music.

You know you’re Serbian when your Baba and Djedo sign you up as a SNF member as soon as they learn your official name after you’re born!



You know you’re Serbian when you find yourself humming along to SVILEN KONAC or SILVER THREAD.

Svilen konac, srbijanski kroj.
Sitna zica, vezak tanak.
Ja malena, a ti sladak, joj.
Milane, dragane,
hej, milovanje moje sa Morave.

Kosuljica izvezena,
ja malena isprosena
za Milana.
Svilen konac pletem od sna.
Tanka predja srcem se tka,
pa se pokida.
Hej, tugo moja,

tugo devojacka. 


YouTube Video by Beogradjanka 21 


When you support organizations like the IOCC,

Serbian Unity Congress,

Serb National Defense, etc. 

and send a small donation to any Serbian Orthodox church in the USA that needs help! 

Samo Sloga Srbina Spasova! 


You know YOU’RE Serbian, when your last name is PUHAR!

Thanks to Pete for sending!

I just LOVE this photo!


You know you’re Serbian and see a beautiful display of Serbian artifacts like Obrad Kesic did while speaking in the Midwest, and sent this photos along.

Click on lower right hand corner of photos to enlarge. 

Famous American Serbs.....

Please understand I use American Serb and Serbian American interchangeably.  We were always taught to think of ourselves as Americans first, last and always, but to always be proud of, and never forget our Serbian heritage.   Hence in the Pittsburgh area, “American Serb” is the most frequent term used, putting the emphasis on America first.


This is the American Serbian Veterans Memorial Wall in the American Serbian Hall in Milwaukee.  In the middle is Lance Siljan, the American Serb who was awarded America’s HIGHEST honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Lance lost his life in Viet Nam, so the award was given “posthumously” or after he was dead.  Lance died in Viet Nam, having suffered some of the most brutal torture ever inflicted on a human.  Today, he is remembered with a special room at the U.S. AiR FORCE Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and many memorials.


George Fisher (Djordje Sagic) 1795-1873
Probably one of the most colorful American Serbs was the very first known (documented) Serbian immigrant to America’s shores, George Fisher (Djordje Sagic or George Ribar)!  We know as a Texas Master Mason he helped lay the Cornerstone of the Washington Monument in D.C., and if you follow these links, you will see the letters written to him by Stephen Austin (considered the Father of Texas) and by General Sam Houston of Texas!  Of course this info was sent by our proud Texas Serbs! 

Aleksandar Slavkovic wrote a wonderful novel called THE IMMIGRANT: THE JUDGE FISHER STORY, which tells of the 19th century revolutionary George Fisher who studied for the priesthood, fought the Ottomans at Belgrade, whose writings inspired Lord Byron to join the Greek revolution, who stood up to Santa Anna, and organized the first, now forgotten battle of the Texas revolution as some of the sites above will show.

SERB WORLD magazine also did a great job in highlighting many of his known exploits and achievements while in America. 


Here is a program booklet from 1944, that featured the guest appearance of another American Serb Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Mitchell Paige, of the United States Marine Corps!  Mitchell Paige was so popular that they even made a “G.I. Joe” doll of him!

Wikipedia’s info about Mitchell Paige:

 Mitchell Paige’s website:

From Michael Papich in California, come these two websites about Mitch:
 Here’s what Mitch said about America:

“I am proud to be a citizen of a nation whose objective is peace and goodwill for all mankind. A nation which has contributed so much for the benefit of peoples all over the world. A nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. I am proud to be an American. I can never believe it is old fashioned to love our Flag and Country nor can I ever believe it is being square to stand in readiness behind our flag to defend those ideals for which it stands against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” 

Mitch Paige

In the book called A MARINE NAMED MITCH, Mitchell Paige writes about how a print of the famous “Maid of Kosovo” was always in his Mother’s kitchen! 


In fact, there are EIGHT American Serbs who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor!   


Here’s one of them!  “Jake Alexx Mandusich”

Learn more about the Church he belonged to with this site.  (Look at the year 1959)  

If any of you are Libertyville campers, make sure you go visit his grave as he’s buried there at St. Sava’s!

“Big Jake” was known as “Jake Allex” because at that time, the story goes, his wife had to sign to let him go, but he gave the Army this name and told them he wasn’t married!  The Army named the Bayonet Training Facility at Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Big Jake Alexx Madusich!


Here’s a list of other famous American Serbs that was compiled for us by Bill Dorich, who also wrote several articles/books about Kosovo you can read by clicking on his name.  Mr. Dorich was such a fighter for truth and justice during these last 20 years, the Serbian Church awarded him their highest honor, the St. Sava Medal! 

Other Famous Serbs selected by Mr. Dorich…..just to mention a few:

Rade Grba, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by the United States for his heroic actions in the Navy. 

Lou Cukelja, was the first to receive TWO Medals of Honor.  He also received the highest decoration given by France, Belgium and Serbia. 







Lou Cukelja

Rudy Ostovich—Two-Star general in the American army and Two-Star General Mel Vojvodich. 

Ed Radkovich headed Air Force Intelligence in Europe and Brigadier General George Karamarkovic the US Marine Corp. 

The U.S. military also includes Admiral Stevan Mandarich, U.S. Navy.

Dr. Rose Karlo Gantner was Director of all the Red Cross  in Vietnam at the age of 26 in 1969-1970! She served TWO tours of duty in Vietnam, the first one being from 1966-1967. Today she is still working, as a Health Executive at UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Here she is at age 16 in 1960, receiving a basketball trophy from Serbian Singing Federation founder, Vlajko Lugonja.  She was elected MVP female/singer (most valuable player!  Rose was also the FIRST female woman faculty member hired at Washington and Jefferson (W&J) University in Washington, PA. the year the school became co-ed and hired five women faculty members.  Rose was an assistant professor in the athletic department.  She also taught at University of Pittsburgh’s (Pitt’s) Trees Hall when it first opened, leaving only because of her 2nd tour of duty in Viet Nam!!!

Here’s an updated version of Rose’s bio:

Dr. Rose K. Gantner is the Senior Director of Health Promotion, Product Development and Innovation for UPMC Health Plan in Western, PA.  Prior to UPMC, Rose was the Vice President for Corphealth for Managed Care, EAP and Wellness programs for the State of Arkansas. Additionally, she served as a CEO for the Magellan Health System in the Charter hospitals for many years. She also owned her own practice, Center for Life Coping Skills and taught psychology at several universities full time.  Rose has over 35 years experience and expertise in wellness and has published several articles and educational training materials besides presenting at national conferences. Some of her most significant awards were the World’s Who’s Who of Women and the Civilian Service Award from the Department of Defense for serving two tours in the Republic of South Vietnam as the Program Director of the Recreational program for the American Red Cross. She earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from Auburn University, her master’s in health education from the University of Pittsburgh and her undergraduate degree from Slippery Rock State University in PA.

Vern Pupich was the test pilot of the DC3 before WWII. 

The NASA space program is replete with Serbian engineers and scientists: Thirteen top executives in the Apollo space program were Serbs. 

Ralph Salaya headed an engineering  team that safely brought back the Apollo 13 astronauts. 

After the Apollo disaster, the new escape hatch was redesigned by Danilo Bojic. 

Mike Vucelic received the Freedom Award from President Johnson for his work in the Apollo program.

Veljko Gasich was responsible for the B-2 and was an executive vice president of Northrop.

David Vuich was a key public relations executive for Rockwell Collins.  He gave mockup tours of the B-1 to over 30,000 people, including members of Congress, the Military, and foreign dignitaries.  He also worked on the F-111 and Minuteman II Missile, Polaris/Poseiden Missile Guidance Systems, and Mark II Avionics Systems.  He’s shown here in the middle, presenting a photo of General James Doolittle standing in front of the B-1 mockup.


Theresa Djuric is a wonderful inspiration to all young American Serbs.  She was recently promoted from Colonel in the US Air Force to General!  Read more about her wonderful achievements and duties at the Maxwell AFB in Alabama by clicking on her name! 

Another Colonel who recently became a Brigiadier General is Gary M. Batinich, of Eveleth, Minnesota.  He received his commission upon graduation from the United States Air Force Academy in May, 1978. General Batinich has been assigned to Langley AFB in Virginia.

Two Serbian Americans received a Pulitzer prize. Walter Bogdanich, and Charles Simic, Belgrade born professor of English at the University of New Hampshire who won his Pulitzer for poetry in 1990.

Dr. Henry Suzzalo was born in Herzegovina and he was the president of the Carnegie Foundation on the Advancement of Teaching. 

Mladen Sukolovich, known to the world as Karl Malden, is the recipient of the Academy Award for his performance in A Street Car Named Desire, and an Emmy for his role in Fatal Vision. He was the president of the Motion Picture Academy. 

Lolita Davidovich, Peter Bogdanovich, Steve Tesich and Rick Rossovich add their talents to the American cinema.

Descended from Catherine the Great of Russia, Princess Elizabeth Karadjordjevic heads the Princess Elizabeth Foundation in New York.   Her daughter, Catherine Oxenberg, has made a name in American television.

Natalie Nogulich won our hearts on Broadway with Jason Robards in The Iceman Cometh, Ms. Nogulich is also known for her appearances in numerous television plays and films.

In the field of medicine, Dr. Ninoslav Radovanovic is recognized as the world’s leading cardiovascular surgeon. 

Dr. Branislav Radovancevic (1952-2007),Director of the Center for Cardiac Support at the Texas Heart Institute, led the way in Transplant research—his cuttting edge therapies for combating organ rejection was recognized nationally & internationally.  Gave frequent scientific presentations worldwide, wrote 300 publications.

Rose Ann Vuich was the first female ever elected to the State Senate in California. A freeway is named in her honor in Fresno, California.

U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley served 10 years in Congress, representing the state of Maryland.  She did so much work for the state of Maryland that the Port of Baltimore is called the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore! And this was on the 300th Anniversary of the Port of Baltimore!

Helen with the Governor receiving the news!

Here’s Helen being surprised by the Governor of Maryland with the renaming of the Ports of Baltimore to “The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore!”  The special ceremonies were awesome!  Helen said the first 100th anniversary there was a war going on.  The 200th anniversary there was a fire that encompassed all of Baltimore, but the 3rd 100 years was celebrated in the grandest way it could be!

What a privilege it was for me to be there for this historic occasion!  300th Anniversary and our Helen Delich Bentley!

“The Pride of Baltimore” tall ship came in for the occasion too! Most of the people here work with Helen and were so happy to see her honored.

Helen’s two nieces were there for the occasion too!


In the U.S. Federal District Court in Chicago is Judge George Marovich. 

In the 2nd Judicial District Court in Nevada is Steven Kosach.

William Jovanovich became president and CEO of Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, one of America’s most prominent publishing firms.

William Salatich became the president of Gillette Corporation. 

Michael Bozic was the former head of the merchandising group at Sears, and CEO of Hills Department Store chain. 

Milan Puskar is president of Mylan Labs, one of America’s leading pharmaceutical firms. 

Milan Panic, was president and CEO of ICN Pharmaceuticals and was the highest paid corporate executives in Orange County, California.  Panic became the Prime Minister of former Yugoslavia.

Alex N. Dragnich is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for distinguished service to Vanderbilt University, and he is author of numerous books on Yugoslav history. 

Other Serbs who achieved prominence in academia include Milorad Draskovitch, Bogdan Maglich, Vasa Mihailovich, Anrei Simic, George Vid Tomashevich, Stella Yaksich, Michael Petrovich and Milos Velimirovic.

 Here’s an example of Vasa Mihailovich’s work in the American SRBOBRAN.  This time the writer was the well-deserved Bozidar Sokolovich, who started the first SERB WORLD magazine in Milwaukee!

Mim Bizic was the 1990 NATIONAL AWARDEE at the Smithsonian for her pioneering efforts in integrating the computer into the school curriculum. She worked on a project for the Smithsonian called “Beyond the Limits, Flight Enters the Computer Age,” helping to write lesson plans for teachers in the Washington, DC area who could actually bring their children to the exhibit, but also, for teachers who could never travel that far with their students, but could learn vicariously.National Honoree for Apple Computer Clubs three years in a row, named to Apple Hall of Fame; worked for Depts. of Commerce & Energy as an educational consultant.


In sports, Bora Milutinovich was the coach of the U.S. Soccer Team in the 1994 World Cup playoff. 


 Here’s a small souvenir from the World Cup 1994

With Henry Kissinger who brought the World Cup to the USA, Rothenberg, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, and Nick Petrovich, who brought Bora to head the US National Soccer. 

During his outstanding career Bora was the only soccer coach to have participated in five World Cups at the helm of five different national teams: Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria and China.

Bora Miluntinovich has also coached national teams of Nicaragua and Jamaica and several professional teams around world. When he took the US team in 1992 there was no professional league Bora took the amateurs and made great players out of them.

Nick Petrovich served as the President of the Serbian Unity Congress, and is well-known in the Financial Markets of Mexico. 

George Glamack was a pioneer in professional basketball.  He was recognized as the first all-time, all-American to play the sport.  He was also the first three time all-American. 

Today, Vlade Divac follows in the footsteps of  “Pistol Pete” Maravich, a legend.

In football, Serbs play a major roll with such great athletes as Jim Nadich, Norm Bulaich, Pete Stojanovich, Ed Obradovich, Jim Obradovich and Pete Lasetich. 

Sam Jankovich, the former general manager of the New England Patriots was the athletic director at the University of Miami during the Hurricane’s national championship.

In baseball there are such Serbian greats as Pete Vuckovich, the 1982 Cy Young Award winner.  Eli Grba, Nick Strincevich, Walt Dropo, John Vukovich, and Paul Popovich were outstanding in this field. 

Here’s our Eli Grba at Yankee Stadium on Old Timer’s Day this past August, 2008.  Eli is now 74 years old and lives in Alabama.  His favorite memories include playing in Washington, DC, because all his old friends would come to see him— Eli Popovich, Nick Lalich, Vic Lumovich, and Mike Rajacich. Eli says he would be mute for hours afterwards, just listening to their duties during Halyard Operation & other things.  Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade!!!!


In car racing we remember Bill Vukovich, two time winner of the Indianapolis 500 who was fondly known as the “Mad Russian,” even though he was a Serb.



In 2004, Milan Opacich earned  our nation’s highest award -The “National Heritage Award” for all his contributions with the tambura and preserving Serbian history.  He’s the author of innumerable articles and a book on Serbian Tamburitza Music. He’s  truly a Renaissance man and a great friend!

If you click on the photos above, you will be taken to Milan’s Workshop, where he goes into great detail about how to make a tamuritza instrument.  You can also buy some of his music.  Please remember to come back to our site too!


A person who helped with the magnitude of the Displaced Persons problem, and especially the Serbs, was William Nikolin, at one time the English section editor of the American Srbobran  from 1939-1940, and a SNF student from 1934.   As Screening and Evaluation Officer for all refugees in West Germany and Austria, Nikolin processed over sixty-two thousand Serbian applications to come to the United States.  It is interesting to note that his mother, Dana Nikolin, participated in the Serbian retreat over the snow covered mountains of Albania (“Albanian Golgotha”) as a nurse and translator in Lady Leila Paget’s team of women nurses who volunteered to aid Serbia during the WWI.  Nikolin served in Military Intelligence and was scheduled to be released on Dec. 10, but on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor was bombed and his plans for a teaching career were changed.  He and his men took part in the bloodiest tank battle on WWII in February of 1943, the Battle of Sidi-Bou-Zid in Tunisia, and the liberation of Sicily.  Nikolin and his crew drove their tank to Eboli, and were the first to break through the gates of the Italian concentration camp.  Many of the prisoners were from Montenegro, Dalmatia and Slovenia, all areas occupied by the Italians during the war.  Nikolin, because of the many languages he spoke and his undergraduate degree from the University of Belgrade, worked at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade for the Department of State.  There he was in good company with Alex Dragnich of the U.S. Information Agency; Col. Lazar Vracaric and Lt. Col. Melvin Vuksich, both military attaches; and, according to Serb World’s March/April issue of 1992, Attorney John Mamula, envoy extraordinarie. 

WWII fighter pilot Vic Lumovich. Vic was drafted as an Army Air Corps private in July ’42, received his pilot wings and a commission in June ’43. During WWII, Lt. Col. Lumovich flew with the 15th Air Force, 450th Bobm Group in Italy, completing 50 bomb sorties in five months.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters. His post combat service was as an instructor pilot on the B-17s, B-24s, B-25s and B-29s.  For 25 years Lt. Col. Lumovich served in several capacities, including assignment to the CIA, the director of the Air Attache Designees’ Intelligence School, and with NATO as the Chief of Counter Intelligence and Security for headquarters, Allied Forces, Southern Europe.  In 1968 he was the wing intelligence officer for the 553rd wing in Korat, Thailand, where he flew over 65 combat missions over Vietnam and Laos, mostly over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Vic was born of Montenegrin parents in the Mesobi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota.

The ARBUTINA family of heroes.  (See Mim’s story in the SRBOBRAN April 19, 2006 about the Movers and Shakers of Freedom.  Major Millard Arbutina received the highest award one can get in the Air Force, not once, but TWICE, the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Afterwards, he was also an Education Union Activist for the State of Pennsylvania, opening the first field office for the union in Pittsburgh. Up until that time, teachers had no contracts or even the right to negotiate salaries. Millard worked with Hopewell Superintendent John Milanovich and Milan Markovich (Hopewell Education Association) to hep improve teachers’ economic well being.  David Arbutina, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Mt. Nittany Medical Center in Penn State, (State College) PA, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1976, the year of our nation’s Bicentennial.  Dave Arbutina was Chairman of the Bicentennial Committee and one of the most important things the Committee wanted to accomplish was to get special recognition for Lance Sijan!  Sijan (Dormitory) Hall is named after American Serb Captain Lance P. Sijan (class of 1965). Captain Sijan was the Academy’s first and ONLY graduate so far to receive the Medal of Honor. He received it posthumously for his heroism in Vietnam.

Dan shared that there have been further recognitions:  The Air Force Academy Library has a special display of Sijan memorabilia, including his headstone from Vietnam.  The 440th Airlift wing in his hometown of Milwaukee has a replica of Sijan’s F-4 at the base entrance where the dining hall is named after him.  In 2003, a 10 ft. marble monument in the shape of a stylized F-4 pointing upwards was erected at Arlington Park Cemetery.  Sijan Circle at Langley AFB in Virginia is named in his honor as is Sijan Street at Whiteman AFB in Missouri.  There’s a Lance P. Sijan Chapter of the Air Force Association in Colorado Springs where the Academy is located, and the AF ROTC from Boston University has a squadron there.  Each year the Air Force bestows the Lance Sijan Award for Leadership.

Millard’s sister:  Mildred Arbutina Pappas

            Millard (Miladin) was the middle child in the Arbutina family:  Danica (born in Europe), then Milka or Mildred, Miladin, Michael, then George and Demetro (died young).  Mildred is another Arbutina who was a great humanitarian and woman of conscience.  Her good deeds and works were acknowledged by Educational Television (PBS) WQED Magazine in its December, 1999 issue when it listed her as a “Pittsburgher of the Century.”

Mildred Arbutina Pappas:
When she was living in Washington in the 1970s, this Beaver County native heard that the historic Vicary House in Freedom was to be razed for expansion of Route 65. PennDOT had already purchased the stone mansion built by sea captain William Vicary around 1826. However, her aggressive campaign and dogged persistence over several years finally succeeded in having alternative plans drawn up and the landmark was saved. Today it is being restored by Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation and is open for tours.

+Melissa “Misi” Musulin

MUSULIN, Melissa “Misi”, of Richmond, formerly of Pittsburgh, Penn., passed away August 9, 2008.  Parents, Dr. Michael and Mary Musulin. Misi graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in music and received her Master’s degree and artist’s diploma in music from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She was the solo horn player for the Basque National Symphony in San Sebastian, Spain for 10 years. She toured throughout Europe as a soloist. Misi was presently the principal horn player with the Richmond Philharmonic and played with the Williamsburg Sinfonia. Niece of Danny Kukich, Lou Balta and Natalie Kunkle.  Her grandfather was a STALWART for the SNF for years and years!

Probably the most notable of ALL American Serbs is Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor from the village of Smiljan, then in part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  His father was a Serbian Orthodox priest, and his mother could trace 8 generations of Serbian Orthodox priests on her side of the family.

One of the VERY best sites on Nikola Tesla is right here!:

 You can learn so much about Tesla from the Tesla Memorial Society, so always start there first!

Unveiling ceremonies on the Canadian side…… 


Canadian Tesla  Dedication 

This Canadian Mountie is Serbian too!  🙂

Here are some Serbs visiting the Tesla Memorial on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls which was first unveiled on July 9, 2006.


And here’s the Tesla Monument on the American side:

This statue was a gift from the Yugoslav Government to the USA in 1976, a wonderful gift for America’s Bicentennial! The Nikola Tesla Statue is located on Goat Island to honor the man whose inventions were incorporated into the Niagara Falls Power Station  in 1895. Tesla is known as the inventor of polyphase alternating current.

From Filip Tomasevic in Belgrade comes this info:

  A state funeral was held at  St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. Telegrams of condolence were received from many notables, including the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace. Over 2000 people attended, including several Nobel Laureates. He was cremated in Ardsley on the Hudson, New York. His ashes were interned in a golden sphere, Tesla’s favorite shape, on permanent display at the Tesla Museum in Belgrade along with his death mask.


      In his speech presenting Tesla with the Edison medal, Vice President Behrend of the Institute of Electrical Engineers eloquently expressed the following:  “Were we to seize and eliminate from our industrial world the result of Mr. Tesla’s work, the wheels of industry would cease to turn, our electric cars and trains would stop, our towns would be dark and our mills would be idle and dead.  His name marks an epoch in the advance of electrical science.”  Mr. Behrend ended his speech with a paraphrase of Pope’s lines on Newton:  “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid by night.  God said ‘Let Tesla be’ and all was light.” 


                        “The world will wait a long time for Nikola Tesla’s equal in achievement and imagination.”  E. ARMSTRONG

In 1917, Tesla was awarded the Edison Medal, the most coveted electrical prize in the United States.


Nikola Tesla’s name has been honored with an International Unit of Magnetic Flux Density called “Tesla.”


The United States Postal Service honored Tesla with a commemorative stamp in 1983.


Tesla was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 1975.


The Nikola Tesla Award is one of the most distinguished honors presented by the Institute of Electrical Engineers. The award has been given annually since 1976.


The Nikola Tesla Statue is located on Goat Island to honor the man whose inventions were incorporated into the Niagara Falls Power Station  in 1895. Tesla is known as the inventor of polyphase alternating current.

The Nikola Tesla Corner Sign, located at the intersection of 40th St. and 6th Ave. in Manhattan, is a constant reminder to all New Yorkers of the greatness of this genius.



And who can forget the many contributions of Michael Pupin?  He helped sponsor so many of the early American Serb churches along with Nikola Tesla.  It was Pupin who raised contingents of Serbian American volunteers to help Serbia in WWI.  (They were called the “Dobrovoljci”.) Pupin is famous for so many things: the long distance telephone, being on President Woodrow Wilson’s First Air Council, and for earning a Pulitzer Prize for his book called FROM IMMIGRANT TO INVENTOR are just a few! There’s a building named after the famous professor in Columbia University.

Here’s another good one!


Mimo from Galveston says to not forget the artist Tanasko Milovich from St. Louis.

Look here!:


Another famous artist and iconographer was Alex Dzigurski.  Read more about him at this —->Serbian Unity Congress site called “Blago.” 

Mr. Dzigurski made the icons for St. Elijah (Aliquippa) and St. Sava’s (McKeesport), but he sold paintings to large corporations for over $30,000 decades ago!  His daughter, Jelena Kolarovich, made the mosaic above St. Elijah’s doors while her father was painting inside!  Jelena was also a very successful California businesswoman along with her husband George, with their winery!


We’re proud of the work Dr. Mateja Matejic started at the Hilandar Research Library for Medieval Slavic Studies at Ohio State University and carried on by his learned son, Dr. Predrag Matejic!   Check out the website here to learn more: 



The Dapcevich family from Alaska is absolutely amazing in what they’ve been able to achieve!  John Dapcevich was Mayor of Sitka, Alaska for five terms, a total of twelve years. Velimir (“Bill”) Dapcevich was the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the whole state of Alaska. Don Dapcevich was a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and was the state’s Executive Director of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program.  Sister Vi (Ljubica Dapcevich Cope) is one of Juneau, Alaska’s most respected and well-loved business-women. Indeed, her nickname is “Mrs. Juneau!”  Niece Djordjina is the head of the Veterans Retirement Center and Veterans Affairs! One of Bill’s grandsons is a Navy Seal. 

John Dapcevich…..

At the Mendenhall  Glacier! 

Like father, like son!  Just got an email (6/27/08!) from MARKO Dapcevich, telling me he’s finishing up his 2nd term as Mayor in Sitka, and is currently a candidate for State House. Marko says in 1971 Sitka unified the borough becoming the largest city (land wise) in America.  That’s when his dad first became Mayor.  Marko says to not forget about his Grandfather either, who helped organize the workers for safe and fair conditions!

Marko Dapcevich of Alaska


Speaking more about Alaska, we have (Serb) Bill Ray, an influential State Senator from Juneau in the 70’s & ’80’s. 

Frank Peratrovich, a Tlingit-Serb, helped shape Native politics for a generation.

Elizabeth Peratovic (Native Alaskan) 1911-1958, was an Alaska Civil Rights Leader….married to Frank Peratrovich’s brother, Roy.

 Mike Stepovich was appointed by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the last territorial Governor of Alaska in 1959.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, Mike Yankovich was a very successful potato farmer, leaving all of his acreage to the Univ. of Alaska in Fairbanks that allowed them to greatly expand their campus!

At the Capital’s government building, there is a special hall of the Legislative wing dedicated to the late Alex Miller (Milaich), a prominent Democrat and lobbyist who had a major influence on legislation in the ’70’s, ’80’s. 

(Read more in the American SRBOBRAN, 17 Sept. 2003, pp. 7-9, “Eureka!  Pittsburghers Find Gold In Alaska!”) 


There are the famous American Serb brother architects, Lou and Dennis Astorino from Pittsburgh, well-known for their generosity as well as their spectacular achievements of being architects of record for the well-loved PNC Baseball Park in Pittsburgh, and countless other projects in Healthcare, research facilities, residential, cultural and commercial buildings.  Lou was the designer of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in the Vatican for which he achieved much acclaim.  The brothers were considered the finest & most trusted  “caretakers” of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” home he built for the Kaufmann family, preserving the architectural masterpiece for two decades already!  The two serve on various Boards of Directors helping the city and nation to be the best!

Read about Astorino awards here!  <———– 


Wayne S. Vucinich was the Father of East European Studies who passed away at age 91.  He was the beloved mentor to thousands of students during his 5 decades at Stanford University.  He wrote and edited many books.  A member of the OSS, (forerunner of the FBI and CIA) he was skillful, legendary. 


Alex Dragnich was Professor Emeritus at Vanderbilt University and the author of many books, especially on Kosovo and the illegal break-up of Yugoslavia. 


Dr. George Vid Tomasevich was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at NY State College in Buffalo and the author of many books, including THE HISTORY OF THE SERBS. +++++++++++++++++++ 

Dr. Ron (Karlo) Kneib is a well-known research Marine Biologist in Sapello Island, GA.


Ray Zakovich is a Retired Supervisory Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service. 

 Ray, far right, receives congratulatons from his relatives after his speech addressing the ASERBS high school scholarship awardees in Aliquippa!  Ray Zakovich guarded many U.S. Presidents from Kennedy on up!  We are all proud of his accomplishments and honored that he’s still doing great things in Kansas City, Kansas!


The Zernich Family from Aliquippa is synonymous with the University of Pittsburgh.  Three brothers (Steve, Wally and Mickey) are became doctors after distinguished athletic careers also at Pitt, and their sister, Nadine, graduated in Education.  Mickey donated $250,000 for the Locker Room for the men’s basketball team in the new Petersen Events Center.  Mickey is responsible for initiating and funding the Varsity Walk outside the Cathedral of Learning.


Aliquippa was lucky as it also had the Kavic Brothers– all doctors!  Dr. Michael, Dr. Alex, Dr. Tommy, Dr. Timmy!


Did you ever see a BIGGER award?  This one was given to Pittsburgh educator Ned Mrvos, in 2005!


 John and Desanka Mamula were both well-known lawyers, and even more generous givers to all causes Serbian.  They were Kumovi of their St. Mary’s Church in Clariton, PA numerous times. Desanka was recognized by the Serbian Bar Association as being the FIRST American- born woman of Serbian descent to obtain her law degree in 1941, presenting her with the Czar Dushan Award in 1995.


The Stojkovich Family of Chicago were very successful in their Nursing Homes businesses and shared their wealth generously with the New Gracanica Monastery. For instance, they donated the hand carved Monastery doors at New Gracanica’s Most Holy Mother of God Monastery which depict twenty-three (23) monasteries and churches from various regions of Serbia. The Stojkovichs gave thousands and thousands of dollars to the Monastery as we would give hundreds or tens.  But their ultimate gift was when their one year old grandson, Nicholas, gave $100,000.00 to help the cause!  What blessed, beloved Serbs they were!  And how they led by example! They will NEVER be forgotten!  Dragica also served as KSS Chairperson for the Diocese for years and years!


We’re very proud of the roots from our U.S. Senator, George Voinovich from Ohio, and U.S. Congress- woman, Melissa Bean, of Illinois.


Speaking of Illinois, we can’t forget that Adam Popovich was honored in the 1970’s, the first year of the National Ethnic Treasures Heritage award.  He was also recognized the same year in the state of ILLINOIS for his contributions to preserving the state’s ethnic heritage.  ALL–every member– of the Popovich family is considered ETHNIC TREASURES in my book! 


We have outstanding Dentists who have contributed so much to America.  Dr. Dan Pyevich (Silvis, IL and  Phoenix, Arizona)is a writer and also was President of the SNF for many years.  Dr. Rick Zivic also directs the Kosovo Men’s Choir in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Debbie Studen-Pavlovich has taught at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dentistry for many years and has been an international circuit speaker all over the world on modern dentistry.

More coming! AND, I welcome your suggestions for more, more, more!



Kum Bob Susnjer, computer expert, tambura expert, etc.

This must have been @1980!

I have always loved my Kum, Bob Susnjer, but today, even more so, if possible!  He sent me this list to share with all of you that he has worked on for a long time (You can tell just by looking at it!).  God bless him and grant him “Many, many years!”  So far, there are 271 (now almost 500!) people listed and I’m sure he’ll be adding to that all the time too! Bob knows what SRPSTVO is.  It’s all of us working together for the common good!  Please take time to see this excellent piece of work from a computer expert who also plays a mean bass for many tamburitza orchestras!  Thanks Kum!

Prominent Serbian-Americans
        (Click on link above)

Update: Kum Bob continues to add new names to the list.

On 3/8/09,  The Dunav Tamburitzan Orchestra was inducted into the Beaver Valley Musicians Hall of Fame! This HALL OF FAME includes Henry Mancini, Nick Hayden and Don Knezevich. Dunav is the first tamburitza group to be so recognized.  Congratulations to the group that was honored on Sunday, May 3, 2009.  (See more information on the INTERESTING TIDBITS page of this website!