Sunday, September 14, 2014

Guchevo: First Battle Between Broz and Draža - 1914 Battle of the Drina / "Reiss Institute" ["Novosti" Sept. 8, 2013] September 10, 2014

General Draza Mihailovich

Josip Broz Tito

Reiss Institute
September 10, 2014
[English translation of original
"Novosti" article in Serbian by Boris Subašić
Vecernje Novosti Sept. 8, 2013 - last year]

99 years later, we’re back in the trenches where the 1914 Battle of the Drina took place, one of the fiercest in World War I. Hill 708, the grave of heroes that resisted Austro-Hungarian attacks for 55 days, was hidden from Serbia.

Photo: Vecernje Novosti Sept. 8, 2013.

Even 99 years later, endless trench lines, foxholes and craters from the Great War still crisscross and pit the ridges of mountains Gučevo, Boranja and Jagodnja – Serbia’s natural parapet on the right bank of the Drina. On September 7, 1914, the most terrible battle of the Great War began on the heights from Gučevo to Mačkov Kamen, during the second Austro-Hungarian invasion. Defending Hill 708 and Eminove Vode, thousands of Serb soldiers perished in 55 days of bloody fighting.

Older locals tell that long after the battle, the peak of Mt. Gučevo – scorched and stripped bare by artillery fire – would glow with an eerie green phosphorescence, from gasses released by unburied corpses. Eventually, the forests grew back and partly covered up the wounds of battle on the tortured ground. Yet not even a century of rain, snow and leaf deposits could fill in the hole that was once a bunker. A charred beam still sticks out of the ground. Some ways away are remnants of a stone wall protecting a machine-gun position. If one scratches the earth beneath the thick layer of leaves, it is easy to find expended bullet casings, shrapnel, or pieces of bone. Human. But no one comes to this terrible and holy place to so much as light a candle.

“The only people that come through here are foresters, loggers and an occasional hiker,” says Žarko Ćosović, chairman off the „Battle of Drina Memorial Society“ from the nearby Banja Koviljača. “No one knows this is the grave of heroes who held the Austro-Hungarian invader for 55 days from breaking through. Serbia was made to forget this place.”

As we crossed the three kilometers of muddy forest trails between the Gučevo’s Crni Vrh plateau – where a memorial ossuary has been built – to the “bloody Hill 708″, Ćosović told us about the battle. In 1914, Gučevo was the gateway to the Jadar valley and the road towards Valjevo. Commander of Austria-Hungary’s Balkans expedition, Oskar Potiorek, wanted to take Gučevo at any cost: he sent 125,000 men, 165 cannons and 92 machine-guns. The Gates of Serbia were defended by 60,000 Serbian soldiers, 88 cannons always short of ammunition, and 43 machine guns.

“There were 180,000 men fighting over a 10-kilometer front,” says Ćosović, pointing to the old parapets lining the forest trail. Left, down the slope, are the Serb positions. On the right, above, Austrian. “The famous photograph of Broz in Austrian uniform, as he aims below at the Serbian trenches (see here), was taken at Gučevo,” Ćosović notes bitterly.

WW1 collage: Josip Broz (left) and Dragoljub Mihailovich (right),
via Uroš Parezanović.
[Note: Photo of Tito - 1914. Photo of Draza on Salonika Front 1918] 

Vienna’s hope on the Gučevo front was the 42. Croatian Home Guards Division, which earned the sobriquet “Devils” through unprecedented atrocities against civilians in Mačva. These atrocities were covered up in both Yugoslavias, as they had been committed by regiments from Zagreb, Karlovac, Sisak, Osijek, Varaždin, Sinj, Otočac, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar…

“They were the most fanatical Austro-Hungarian soldiers. To the calls of Serbian defenders, ‘Don’t shoot! We’re brothers!’ they would respond with withering fire,” Ćosović tells us.

As we approach the peak, the network of trenches becomes denser. At Eminove Vode, they are but ten steps away.  “The Serbian Army was running out of artillery ammunition, while the enemy constantly shelled the peak of Gučevo to cover the advance of their infantry,” Ćosović tells as we walk down the trench snaking between the trees. “This is why soldiers of the Drina and Combined divisions would dig trenches during the night to get as close to the enemy as possible. They would use grenades and bayonets to retake positions from which Austrian cannon fire had pushed them back. It was the longest and most horrible close-combat battle [for Serbia] in the Great War,” he concludes.

“The Battle of Drina was the first real case of trench warfare in World War One, a preview of the Western Front before the lines had stabilized in northern France,” says historian Dragan Krsmanović, retired colonel and former director of the Military Historical Archive. He is the expert the Battle of Drina Memorial Society engaged to lead the project of marking a trail through the Gučevo battlefield, so it would be rescued from oblivion.

Scars of battle are still deep, especially from the sapper battles fought at Gučevo, first of the Great War. Giant craters, 16 meters wide and about 7 meters deep bear witness to them. Amateur historian Mića Tomić, who is gathering testimonials about the Great War, let us in on their secret. “My grandpa’, a miner and sergeant in the Drina Division, dug under the Austrian positions and blew them up,” says Tomić. At the end of September 1914, the Austro-Hungarians brought up fresh forces and began to push back the Serbs from Eminove Vode, below Hill 708. Serbian miners, such as Tomić’s grandfather, dug tunnels under the enemy and demolished them. The explosion looked like an erupting volcano.

The autumn of 1914 was very wet and foggy. It often rained, and the battle was fought in the clouds. Serb firing positions would hang on the steepest slopes, like swallow-nests, out of reach of Austro-Hungarian artillery. The enemy responded by using incendiaries and poison gas. Serbian heroes withstood that as well, though their supply situation was desperate.

“Frontline troops are suffering the greatest shortage of footwear, clothing and camping equipment. Vast numbers of recruits are fighting in their threadbare peasant clothes. There are regiments that nearly barefoot force-march across great distances and enter fighting completely barefoot,” wrote War leader Stepa Stepanović with bitterness to the government in Niš. Contractors would charge for equipment that never reached the front lines, while the Allies were not sending the ammunition they had promised in exchange for a bloody and futile Serbian attack in Syrmia.

“We are almost out of ammo for mountain guns and howitzers. On the Gučevo-Kostajnik front, our mountain batteries fell silent when their help was needed the most”, wrote to the government the commander of the Third Army, Pavle Jurišić Šturm.

Even so, the Austro-Hungarian infantry could nott seize the mountain range from Gučevo to Mačkov Kamen. “The unbreakable will of Serbs to fight has thwarted multiple times even those successes achieved over several days and with great sacrifice,” an Austro-Hungarian division reported from Gučevo.

When his cannons failed to drive off the Serbian army, Potiorek sent the 25th Zagreb Regiment to Hill 708. In it were Josip Broz, Vlatko Maček, Miroslav Krleža, and probably also Svetozar Pribićević, a Serb from Croatia. All of them were prominent political figures in both the Kingdom of Yugoslavia [Maček and Pribićević] and the Socialist Federated Yugoslavia [Broz and Krleža] – and for that reason, the story of the Battle of Drina was kept a secret. More so, because one of the defenders of Gučevo was Dragoljub Mihailović, sergeant in the Third Reinforced Regiment of the Drina Division. “Gučevo was the first battle between Draža and Tito, in which Broz lost. His company was completely defeated, and he never forgot that,” says Col. Krsmanović.

Even though the battle on Mt. Gučevo was crucial for the eventual collapse of the Austro-Hungarian invasion, it was kept out of history books almost entirely. “One reason is that Gučevo demonstrated the errors of the Serbian government and military command,” says Col. Krsmanović, former director of the Military Historical Archive. “But a more important reason was that Gučevo demonstrated how our ‘Yugoslav brothers’ were willing to fight against the Serbs and commit atrocities against civilians. After the 1918 unification, it became politically incorrect to point this out.”

“Gučevo and the whole Battle of Drina were a taboo subject during Communism,” says Aleksandar Dumić. “My father earned the Star of Karageorge on Gučevo. During the retreat across Albania, he carried the old King Petar on his back. At Kajmakčalan he lost his right arm. His family was killed by the Austro-Hungarians. After the Second World War, the Communists took away his house. When I started High School, the teacher made me stand before the class and told everyone, ‘This is the son of a pathetic hero that fought for nothing, for the king and his oppressors’. Only then did I find out my father was a war hero. He wouldn’t let us talk about the Balkan Wars or the Great War in the house, but it didn’t matter. Tito never forgave the heroes of Gučevo for driving him out of Serbia,” Dumić says as we wade through the trenches at Eminove Vode.

Col. Krsmanović points out that Sergeant Broz of the “Devil’s Division” was decorated for his actions on the Serbian front. “He advanced very quickly for a NCO, and no doubt took part in battles in Mačvi, then on the Drina, most likely at the Ada Kurjačica and Jelave bridgeheads, and after that on the ridges of Gučevo,” says Col. Krsmanović “Since he was a scout, he certainly interrogated prisoners and had contact with civilians, which directly links him to Austro-Hungarian atrocities. There was no documentation of his conduct in the war that I could find, but I did run across a story of him being arrested for an attempted rape. His hagiographers changed that to arrest for antiwar propaganda, but that is entirely not true. This is why the Battle of Drina is still a sore subject, still hidden behind the veil of silence.” he concludes.

Yet the world had heard about Gučevo as early as 1915. Six months after the battle, American journalist John Reed toured the killing fields and filed a harrowing report:
“On one side of the no-man’s-land were Serbian trenches, Austrian on the other. Barely a dozen yards apart. The ground between the trenches had been turned into irregular clumps of dirt. Taking a better look, we saw with horror that the clumps were really pieces of uniform, skulls with hair matted to them, bloody bones sticking out of combat boots. We were walking on the dead. There were so many, our feet would sometimes slip into a pile of rotting meat, crushing the bones. For six miles along the ridge of Guchevo, the dead were stacked like that, ten thousand of them.”

“For years I would hear the locals talk about herding cattle on Gučevo, on fields covered with human bones,” says Žarko Ćosović. “A few years ago, an old shepherd found a bayonet sticking out of the ground, and began to dig. He dug up a skeleton of a kneeling man with a rifle in his hands. It was a Serbian soldier, who had been preparing leap out of his foxhole when he was buried alive by an explosion.”


Oskar Potiorek, a Germanized Slovene, was the commander of the Austro-Hungarian Balkans expedition. He pathologically hated the Serbs, and would say that Austria-Hungary would know no peace until Serbia was on her knees. His greatest hope in battles on Mt. Gučevo was the 42nd Croatian Home Guards Division.

“Its commander was Stjepan Sarkotić, a great enemy of Serbs and Yugoslavia,” says Col. Krsmanović. “Between the end of the Great War and 1929, he would be in charge of the ‘Croatian Committee’ in Vienna, literally the forerunner of the Ustasha – his successor at the head of the Committee was Ante Pavelić.”

Another member of the 25th Regiment, alongside Josip Broz and Vlatko Maček, was Slavko Štancer, who would become the top officer in the [Nazi] Croatian Army in 1941.


Only some of the bones of those who died in Battle of Drina were buried at the ossuary in Gučevo, built in 1929 as a private endeavor of the Union of Reserve Officers and Veterans. Croatian politicians opposed any attempt to commemorate the battle.

“No one could bury the people who had been pulverized into the ground,” says Ćosović as we tour the ossuary. “All of Mt. Gučevo is their eternal rest. That’s why we are begging the state to help just a little bit, after 99 years, and build a forest trail so people can come and honor the heroes who gave their lives for Serbia.”

From the hilltop, one can see all of Mačva, the Drina valley, and Bosnia – from which iron rain came down for 55 days in the autumn of 1914.

“A piece is missing from the Serbian coat-of-arms on the monument,” says Ćosović, “Stone benches with the sleeping lions, guarding the bones of the fallen, have cracked.

Someone stole pieces of the wrought-iron fence, and the wiring for the floodlights that had shined upon the monument. Once you could see it from afar, like a lighthouse. Now it has vanished into darkness. I fear that fate will befall Serbia, too, as it forgets its heroes.”

(Translation by the Reiss Institute. Fair use only, all rights reserved)

Original article in the Serbian language from September 8, 2013:


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Генерал Милан Недић није пристао ни да само три српска војника пошаље на Стаљинград / Аутор - Никола МИЛОВАНЧЕВ / "Српски културни клуб" September 7, 2014

Српски културни клуб
September 7, 2014

С обзиром на притисак да Србија уведе санкције Русији, треба повући паралелу са још тежим временом, са притисцима нациста 1941/2 године да се српски војници пошаљу под Стаљинград, на руски фронт.

Тада је председник окупационе владе у Србији био генерал Милан Недић. Да заштити народ, прихватио је да буде сарадник окупатора. Али, у тој кључној ствари – слања српске војске на Источни фронт, под Стаљинград – није одступио од свог става: ниједан српски војник неће пуцати на руску браћу.

Вршили су се притисци на њега, али није попуштао, ни по цену свог смењивања или смењивања владе. Задњи покушај окупатора био је симболичан: да српска влада пошаље на руски фронт три (3) војника са једном српском заставом! И тај захтев Милан Недић је глатко одбио, знајући да му то историјско памћење српског народа никада не би опростило За Србе православне хришћане увођење санкција Русији значило би пропаст на духовном нивоу, то би било одрицање од себе самога и своје бити, губитак идентитета.

НАКОН увођења санкција Русији од стране земаља Запада, учестали су притисци да се Србија придружи тим санкцијама. Очито се не преза ни од најгрубљих притисака, којима је изложено руководство Србије, које је досад устрајавало у неувођењу санкција Русији и самим тим у одбрани виталних националних интереса.

У овом ставу, руководство Србије има подршку велике већине грађана Србије, као и подршку српских заједница у суседним земљама и српске дијаспоре.

Може се претпоставити да на политичкој сцени Србије, међу људима спонзорисаним из страних центара моћи, има и заговорника санкција, под плаштом „настављања пута евроинтеграција”. Међутим, они добро знају расположење народа, па се тренутно не оглашавају јавно.

Када размишљамо о политичкој ситуацији 2014. године и покушају увођења санкција Русији, не можемо а да не повучемо паралелу са једним још тежим временом, са притисцима нациста 1941/2 године да се српски војници пошаљу под Стаљинград, на руски фронт.

Тада је председник окупационе владе у Србији био генерал Милан Недић, који је иако српски родољуб (по узору на маршала Петена, француског родољуба), прихватио незахвалан посао вођења владе под страном окупацијом. Свестан да ће бити оптужен као колаборациониста после рата, узео је тај тежак терет на себе, да би пресекао стање у коме су вршене одмазде: 100 Срба за једног убијеног нацистичког војника.

Да заштити народ, прихватио је да буде сарадник окупатора. Међутим, генерал Милан Недић је знао да и у том положају постоје границе које се не могу прећи. И у кључној ствари – слања српске војске на Источни фронт, под Стаљинград – није одступио од свог става: ниједан српски војник неће пуцати на руску браћу.

Вршили су се притисци на њега, али није попуштао, ни по цену свог смењивања или смењивања владе. Задњи покушај окупатора био је симболичан: да српска влада пошаље на руски фронт три (3) војника са једном српском заставом! И тај захтев Милан Недић је глатко одбио, знајући да му то историјско памћење српског народа никада не би опростило.

И збиља, данас можемо у том питању да кажемо: хвала генералу Недићу што ниједан српски метак није испаљен на руску браћу, што наши непријатељи нису могли да се веселе томе.

Новодобно окупатори наступају суптилније, они су упаковани у целофан економске окупације и труде се да наступају под плаштом „демократије”. Мање је важно што су својим деловањем и шупљом, лако провидном реториком, огадили многим људима и саму реч „демократија”.

Сада су на дневни ред поставили политички захтев: да се Србија придружи санкцијама западних земаља против Русије.

Будимо отворени: сценарио гурања Украјине (а затим и Русије) у трагедију – припремљен је у политичким лабораторијима 2-3 града из којих сада долазе захтеви да се Русији уведу санкције (због јасноће: међу тим градовима свакако није Берлин).

Сценарио у погледу Русије у великој мери није успео јер Москва није ушла у замку која јој је спремана а у међувремену су, од маја до јула ове године, и многи људи на Западу (барем онај паметнији и честитији део) прогледали и прочитали злочиначки и бедно примитивни сценарио спремљен за изазивање братоубилачког рата у Украјини.

Четири су главна разлога зашто Србија не сме да уведе санкцији Русији. Кренућу по важности, онако како их ја видим:

1) Духовни и морални разлог.

За нас који смо православни хришћани, увођење санкција Русији значило би пропаст на духовном нивоу, то би било одрицање од себе самога и своје бити, губитак идентитета. И све то – за рачун оних који нам желе зло!

Ових дана навршава се 100 година од уласка Русије у I. светски рат. Свети цар Никола Романов ушао је у рат на страни Србије иако је знао да је Русија неспремна за рат (а унутрашњи непријатељи у Русији спремни и добро организовани) и да ризикује своју власт и опстанак Империје.

Превагнули су разлози који нису били ни економски, ни политички, ни војни. Можемо слободно рећи: превагнули су разлози, који су у сфери духовне димензије.

За оне који нису верујући, можемо навести и разлог моралности: зар уводити санкције некоме, ко те је подржавао задњу деценију у свим кључним питањима државног интегритета (Косово и Метохија), али и у неким другим важним питањима. Лошим вратити учињено добро? Било би то аморално!

Пустимо по страни неке небулозне трактате који спомињу неактивност Русије приликом распада Југославије 1991. и војног напада и отимања Косова 1999. године. И они сами знају да Русија 2014. није Русија из 1991 или 1999., када су, у транзицијском периоду, експоненти туђих економских центара моћи (привремено, на срећу) преузели већи део бруто производа Русије. Однос снага у самој Москви данас је другачији.

2) Политички разлог.

Увођење санкција Русији било би равно политичком самоубиству. Придружити се нападу на некога, ко ти је најпоузданији политички ослонац, било би не само без сваког политичког резона, већ управо сулудо.

3) Економски разлог.

Традиционално највећи економски партнери Србије били су и јесу земље централне Европе (Немачка, Италија итд.), Русија и земље бивше Југославије. Могућности сарадње са Русијом на економском пољу су огромне, скоро неограничене.

Са мало више рада, српски извоз у Русију, који се сада креће око десетак процената, могао би да пређе 20%. Могућности руских инвестиција у Србију такође су велике. Русија је стабилан добављач енергената Србији, а услови набавке гаса су повољни, потенцијали сарадње у енергетици јако добри.

Зар се одрећи свега тога низашта?

Србија мора да настави са пројектом Јужни ток. Сведоци смо да и државе Европске уније у суседству Србије (Мађарска, Аустрија) храбро штите своје важне економске интересе и настављају са пројектом гасовода Јужни ток.

Неувођење санкција Русији неће имати никакве негативне последице за односе са другим државама, а ЕУ интеграције – то је дуга прича са неизвесним исходом, коју ће друга страна растезати у недоглед. Скорог примања бити неће, а нико не зна шта ће се догађати у следећем периоду. Очито долазе врло турбулентна времена.

Из свега горе наведеног следи: Србија не сме да се придружи санкцијама против Русије и у том погледу треба подржати владајућу српску политику. Другачији став био би катастрофалан за српску државу, али и за српски народ у целини.


Пре неколико дана сам гледао на Јутјубу један кратак футуристички филм украјинског политичара и политичког аналитичара Владислава Анатољевича Кривобокова, поборника евроазијског политичког концепта, и један његов текст, који су ме натерали на размишљање о политичким догађањима која се приближавају великом брзином.

Филм је снимљен 2012. и у њему се приказује рат у Украјини 2015. године. Ратна догађања – као распад Југославије 1991., као оно што гледамо на ТВ екранима у Украјини ових дана. Нисам могао да верујем! Погледао сам и коментаре из 2012. године: аутор је тада називан »смешним«. Међутим, догађаји које је предвидео почели су да се дешавају после само две године, чак брже од његових предвиђања.

Затим сам прочитао текст истог аутора из маја ове, 2014. В. А. Кривобоков у том чланку износи предвиђање, да ће до 2018. доћи до сукоба интереса САД и Европске уније, који ће те године резултирати распадом ЕУ. У овом (кратком) чланку је и један цитат немачког министра спољних послова Штајнмајера, у коме се упоређују ситуације из 1914. и 2014.

Ово значи да су и многи у политичким елитама свесни велике ратне опасности.

Догађаји крећу брзим током, у неизвесном правцу. Још има времена да памет надвлада, да се спрече рат и разарања у Европи.

Аутор – Никола МИЛОВАНЧЕВ
(аутор чланка је члан Српског либералног савета)


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Трејлер за документарац ''Краљевина Југославија у Другом светском рату'', други серијал, епизоде 7-12. / Епизоде 7 и 8 биће готове ускоро.

Камера, тон, монтажа: Драган Вучковић
Анимације, монтажа: Бојан Крстић
Графика: Никола Бербаков
Музика. Дарко Андрић

Сценарио: Милослав Самарџић
Архивски интервјуи: Влада Момчиловић, Драган Крсмановић
Архивски снимци: Југословенска кинотека, Национални архив Вашингтон
Произведено: септембар 2014.
Продукција: НИП ''Погледи''

Епизоде 7 и 8 биће готове ускоро.

On Facebook:


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please feel free to contact me at


Friday, September 12, 2014

OBITUARY and FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS - CURTIS "BUD" DILES, JR. / Being laid to rest on Monday September 15, 2014

Diane Diles Hammond, daughter of Curtis "Bud" Diles, and Curtis
celebrating his 89th birthday July 15, 2014.
Photo courtesy of Diane.
September 11, 2014

"I could not bring myself to type these words until now, but I think most of you already know. I lost my dear daddy Wednesday morning. The world has lost a great and honorable man…an American (and Serbian) hero. It doesn't seem real. As I left his hospital room Tuesday night, I prayed with him, kissed him on his forehead, held his hand, and told him I hoped he knew how very much I loved him and that he’d always be my hero. Although he stared into my eyes, he did not respond. I hope he understood. That was the last time I saw him alive. In my heart, I know he’s in heaven, no doubt, still trying to spread the truth about what the Serbians did for America in WWII. And everyone will respond “We already know that, Bud… it’s perfect up here. There are no lies. Your earthly mission is over”.

"Dad’s funeral is Monday [September 15, 2014], and he will have military graveside rites. He will be buried in his USA/Serbia shirt, and the Serbian land that Saša Jovanović gathered from the makeshift airstrip will be placed in the casket with him. As dad would want it, the Serbian flag will be on display (and of course, the American flag will be, too).

"I promise you, dad… I will carry your torch. Keep the light on for me, and we’ll be home soon. I love you!

"Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. You have been such a blessing.

"I've attached his obituary. Turn your sound on to hear the music."

Diane Diles Hammond
September 11, 2014

Curtis "Bud" Diles September 21, 2013
Photo courtesy of daughter Diane Diles Hammond.
Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home, Inc.
Portsmouth, Ohio
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 Draza 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 [Sept. 15, 2014] 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”.

[When viewing the link, please turn on the sound]


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


ДАН ВОЈВОДЕ МОМЧИЛА ЂУЈИЋА 13. Септембар 2014. - Парастос Војводи Момчилу Ђујићу, свим погинулим и свим преминулим четницима - СРБСКА СУБОТИЦА

Војвода Момчило Р. Ђујић
Парастос се служи у Храму Св. Вазнесења Господњег, улица Змај Јовина у Србској Суботици [13. Септембар 2014.]
После парастоса поделићемо један број четничких календара за 2015. годину а биће и послужење за све присутне. Потом идемо на Водице положити цвеће на бисту Њ.В. Србском Краљу Петру I. Карађорђевићу, где ће бити и послужење за све присутне те наступ србских народних гуслара. Истог дана је и полагање четничке заклетве.
Почетак парастоса Војводи Момчилу Ђујићу је у 10 часова, али треба доћи у 9.30 часова у храм Светог Вазнесења Господњег у Србској Суботици.
Ни у вољи ни невољи, нико од нас није бољи.
Ни у срећи ни несрећи, нико од нас није већи!
С поштовањем, Србски четнички Војвода Бора 064 11 92 760

Наш завјет Богу и Српству

Није наше расејање и губитак слободе највеће зло које се може десити једном народу.Највеће је зло кад се сломи духовна и морална снага једног народа, кад му се угаси вјера у Бога и вјера у Правду и Слободу. То нико, па ни комунисти, никада неће постићи у српском народу, јер то се неда у ланце везати. борби за Крст и Слободу.

Ми се морамо враћати на путеве наших предака; свједочити свуда нашу вјеру у Бога и рјечију и дјелом;стајати одлучно уз мученичку Матер цркву и чувати наше духовно јединство, jер без духовног јединства нема ни националног, ни ма каквог другог јединства; утврђивати нашу братску слогу и његовати наше црквене и народне обичаје.Наш је завет Богу и Српству да нећемо стати ни сустати док неујединимо све српске земље и сав српски народ у оквиру српске државне заједнице у којој ће, по ријечима Епископа Николаја, владати три начела: Бог на небу, Краљ у држави и домаћин у дому.

А наша вјера у Правду и Слободу и наша вјера у једнога Бога, у једнога Светог Саву, једну јединствену Српско-православну цркву и у један поносан и непобједив српски народ - остаје вјечна и непромјењива.

Војвода Момчило Р. Ђујић


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

"THE DIPLOMA" - Remembering Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich / By Rade and Aleksandra Rebic September 11, 2014

Rade Rebic with Voyvoda Djujich monument
at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, IL
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic July 19, 2014

Aleksandra's Note: From 1960 to 1968, my father Rade Rebic was the Secretary of Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich's "Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravne Gore" organization.  He remained a close and trusted confidant of Voyvoda's until the day Momchilo Djujich died, on September 11, 1999. The following is a personal story of my father's that I had not been aware of. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to share it with you. It is personal stories such as this that provide insight into the "man" that Voyvoda Djujich was, as well as being one of the great Chetnik commanders in Serbian history whose legacy continues to live and breathe in Serbian patriots throughout the world.

Aleksandra Rebic
September 2014


A great giant of Serbian history passed away 15 years ago, in 1999, on September 11th.
I met Chetnik commander Voyvoda Momchilo Djujich for the first time when I was 19 years old. It was at the end of December 1944, when he brought his Dinarska Divizija (Dinara Division) to Gacka Dolina in Lika, where my Chetnik unit was stationed at that time during WWII in the former Yugoslavia. I was not part of the Dinarska Divizija, but after that our paths crossed quite a few times. It is one of these times that I remember best.
After the war ended, I resumed my schooling in the Displaced Person's camps. I had just completed the 8th grade of gimnazija (Velika matura) (Senior year of High School) in the camp in Eboli, Italy in June 1946. At that time the school had no funds, except for the most basic essentials. The directors of the school asked each of us graduates, myself included, to pay 200 Liras for printing our invididual Diplomas.
I did not have 200 Liras. As a matter of fact, I did not have one Lira, so I went to the HQ of my Regiment to see if they could help me. They couldn’t. So, I started back to my tent, sad and disappointed. I had put in a lot of effort to complete the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade of Gimnazija (Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years of High School) in this camp and was to end up without any official document confirming that I had done so.
On the way back to my tent I ran into a friend, Sinisha Chenich, who looked at my face and asked, “What is the matter with you?"
I told him.
“Go to your tent and I’ll be there shortly,” he said.
Sinisha went to the HQ of his Division and found there Voyvoda Djujich and a few others. He told Voyvoda about my case.
Without saying anything to Sinisha, Voyvoda turned to Bogde Drobac, who was the treasurer of the Division, and simply said, “Add his name (meaning mine) to the list of Division students.”
There were 14 of them, and the Division was paying for all of their Diplomas. So, I got my Diploma, my ticket to later studies in Germany and the USA.
Voyvoda was not only a giant of Serbian history, he was a visionary, not just in this case but in many, many others. His vision, combined with a sense of responsibility for the men he brought out of our tragic country, was responsible for building many Serbian Orthodox churches, cultural centers, and institutions in many parts of the world. They all proudly carry a Serbian name.
Way back then in 1946, as a young veteran of WWII, I thanked Voyvoda for the great favor he did for me. Now, almost 70 years later, I thank him again on this day, September 11, 2014, the 15th anniversary of his passing.

Rade Rebic
September 2014

Three great leaders in the "Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravne Gore,"
Prof. Stanko Dragosavljevic, Voyvoda Djujich, and Dragoslav Dragutinovic
in Mount Prospect, IL mid 1960's. Photo courtesy of Rade Rebic.


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another Halyard Mission American Airman goes to his final rest...CURTIS "BUD" DILES dies September 10, 2014 - MEMORY ETERNAL.

Curtis "Bud" Diles celebrating his 89th birthday July 15, 2014.
Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond.




As an American Serb who has known Curtis for many years and called him "Friend", I feel the loss deeply, and my thoughts are with his beautiful and glorious family who generously shared him with all of us.


We will make sure of that.


Aleksandra Rebic
September 10, 2014


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Monday, September 08, 2014

The American Airman and the Serbian Chetnik / Halyard Mission veteran Lt. Col. Milton Friend and Chetnik Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovich meet for the first time 70 years after history was made in Serbia!

Mr. Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovich
St. Sava Monastery, Libertyville, IL
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic July 19, 2014

Aleksandra's Note: One of the great highlights of the Chetnik Family Reunion at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, IL on July 19, 2014 was the opportunity to meet Mr. Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovich. Thanks to his daughter Danica, who was also present, the two of us met for the first time and I learned that Nick was seeking to meet the living Halyard Mission veterans so that he could share his personal story of having lived through those historic days in 1944 in WWII Yugoslavia as a young boy.

Through subsequent correspondence with Nick's other daughter, Judy Mihajlovich, we were able to facilitate a meeting with Halyard Mission WWII veteran Lt. Col. Milton Friend of the USAF. Just one month after my learning of Nick's quest, he was becoming acquainted and sharing his story with Lt. Col. Friend in person, and it turned out to be an incredible, meaningful day for both of them and their loved ones.

What follows is a unique Halyard Mission true story that I hope you will enjoy. The first is Judy Mihajlovich's description of the August 2014 day she will never forget and the second is Nick Mihajlovich's story. Many thanks to Judy for sharing this wonderful testimony with us.

Shortly after the day they spent together, Lt. Col. Friend shared with me how pleased and grateful he was for the unique opportunity to meet one of the Serbians he values so much and how much he enjoyed the day.

God bless the veterans, both American and Serbian, who kept their vivid memories alive all these years and for sharing them with all of us so that we may carry their legacy on. And thank you to them for never forgetting what General Mihailovich and his Chetniks did for the Allies in the hard days of 1944.


Aleksandra Rebic

Mr. Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovich and daughter Danica
St. Sava Monastery, Libertyville, IL
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic July 19, 2014

Left: Lt. Col. Milton Friend (USAF, Ret.) in a traditional Serbian cap,
and Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovich
Photo by Judy Mihajlovich August 20, 2014. 

"An American Airman and a Chetnik"
By Judy Mihajlovich
August 2014

A meeting that felt both historic and at the same time so very personal, watching these two men, who had never met before but shared an experience they both felt so passionate about, was electric!
On Wednesday August 20th we went to Boynton Beach, Florida so that my dad (Nick ‘Beli’ Mihajlovich) could meet with Lt. Col. (ret.) Milton Friend, one of the ‘Forgotten 500’.  Along with my mom (Olga) we arrived at the home of Milton and Shirley Friend in a beautiful gated community in Boynton Beach.  They greeted us at the door, Tata gave pink roses to ‘the lady of the house’ and then Milton came out and greeted us with handshakes and kisses.  We were not in their home for more than sixty seconds when the two of them began to speak animatedly, so anxious to tell the other one their own story and at the same time ask questions they both had clearly thought about for a long time!  Questions were flying between the two ofthem: "Where did you land when you had to parachute in?  Do you remember the dates you escorted the airmen?  What village are you from?  Where were you hiding?  What roads did you take?" and on and on and on...
Mrs. Friend (Shirley) and I were desperate to get them to pause…. to give us a chance to get our cameras and video set up!  She’d prepared a beautiful lunch and the plan had been to sit down over lunch to get acquainted before the two of them would sit together to speak with each other, to share their experiences, to share their memorabilia and to ask questions they’ve wanted to ask of an airman and a Chetnik for a very long time.  They had other ideas!
We eventually sat down to the lovely lunch Shirley prepared.  Everyone shared their background and the two couples shared stories of their families.  Milton was fascinated to learn my dad’s story of being the youngest of four brothers and becoming a young Chetnik when he turned sixteen; anxious to join the others in the fight for freedom.  How he eventually escaped from the communists, going underground and finding his way to Italy.  Never dreaming he would be able to immigrate to the United States…then the fateful day Svetozar Maravich arrived at the Camp with the list of those to be sponsored by the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States!  Incredibly his name was on the list and just as Mr. Maravich promised…two months later he was on his way to America.
Milton told of his family’s military history.  One of four brothers as well, he and his twin brother were both decorated Air Force veterans who flew countless missions in World War II, Korea and Viet Nam.  Incredibly committed to protecting and serving our country, these brothers served in some of the most critical situations putting their lives in danger for decades.
We were struck and humbled by the display of Serbian memorabilia in their home.  The photos of Draza Mihailovich…the Serbian flag…his sajkaca (Chetnik hat)!...the storyboards that showed his plane, a picture of the type of German bomber that attacked them…photos of Serbian villagers and airmen together… Countless articles written about his story where he praised the Serbian people endlessly for their courage and commitment to the wellbeing of the American airmen.  The list goes on and on…
In 2010 the Friends [Milton and Shirley] traveled to Serbia so that Milton could testify at the Rehabilitation hearing for Draza.  When my dad asked how he was able to do this when no one there really wanted to hear from Americans wanting to speak on behalf of Draza and the Chetniks, Milton replied, "No one was going to stop me!"  After he testified, the Friends traveled across Serbia on that trip meeting people and seeing what they described as a ‘beautiful country’ from Belgrade to Oplenac and many points of interest in between.  Shirley shared the story of their arrival. Landing in Belgrade she expected to collect their luggage and find their way to the hotel.  But when the doors of the baggage hall opened they walked out into a complete frenzy!  There were hundreds of people cheering and waving welcoming banners.  The media was there and covered their arrival across all the news outlets.  She said, "We were treated like rock stars!"  My dad was bursting with pride hearing them tell this story.  When she finished telling us about their trip she showed us a beautiful scrap book filled with photos of the people they met, the places they’d visited across Serbia and then she showed us one particularly stunning memento of that trip.  A beautifully painted wooden icon of St. George.
Milton prepared a binder for my father.  It included copies of news articles, photos and a copy of the story he has written about his own experiences and rescue by the Serbs.  Every page reflects his love and respect for Draza’s Chetniks and  the Serbian people in general.  Along with the other ‘Forgotten 500’ he would love to see the real story of this great rescue brought to life on the big screen.
Milton lights up when he speaks of his meetings with Draza and the way he led the Chetniks to deliver every one of the airmen to safety.  His own story began when he parachuted in on June 6, 1944 and landed high up in a tree.  Two men and a young boy cut him down from that tree and hid him in the back of an ox cart and took him up into the mountains.  He was kept alive and safe in Serbia for over sixty days before being rescued.  Like the others he eventually arrived in Pranjani, the makeshift airfield the Americans and Serbians built together (without tools or equipment), where the planes could sneak in to rescue the airmen.  He left Serbia on August 10th, 1944 (ironically my father’s birthday).
My father was not one of the men involved in Milton’s rescue but was responsible for helping nine other airmen in early July.  On that day as a young Chetnik his village Commander asked if he knew how to go from their village of Godacica to Pecenog.  When he described how he would make the journey the commander pointed to a group of men sitting near the municipal building and said his orders were to escort those men.  When my father asked who they were the commander only replied they were ‘our allies’. He said, "I hold you responsible" and then he pulled out his gun, held it to my father’s forehead and said, "If anything happens to any of these men, this is what you will get."  With that as a sendoff, he took them on their journey and safely delivered these men to the next checkpoint on their way to Pranjani.  He told Milton one of the men wrote something on a piece of paper but in a language he didn’t understand…he threw the paper away.  He says this is one of the greatest regrets he has to this day. (I have attached his own short story to this note.) [See below.]
Over the years Milton has told his story to the media, given speeches to students and other organizations, telling the story of the events of seventy years ago with as much passion and love as if they’d happened yesterday.  He says, "This was the greatest rescue of American servicemen in our United States history…by one of the greatest men…Draza Mihailovich, and his Chetniks."
He says our friends are the Serbian people. Included among the small Serbian related gifts we gave them was a copy of the 100th Anniversary book of the St. George Serbian Church of East Chicago, Indiana. This book chronicals the history of the many families in our Church, several of whom fought the battle before immigrating.  We wanted to show them that the younger generations continue to keep the history alive.  He loved it!
Listening to this man speak about it all with such love and passion in his voice so impressed my father and mother and brought tears to my eyes.
Watching and listening to these two men speak with each other was an experience I will never forget as long as l live.
Judy Mihajlovich
August 2014


Left: Lt. Col. Milton Friend and Nick ("Beli") Mihajlovch
Photo by Judy Mihajlovich August 20, 2014.
Left to right: Olga Mihajlovich, Nick's wife, Lt. Col. Milton Friend,
Nick Mihajlovich, and Shirley Friend, Milton's wife.
Photo by Judy Mihajlovich August 20, 2014.
Left to right: Shirley Friend, Milton's wife, Nick Mihajlovich,
Lt. Col. Milton Friend, and Olga Mihajlovich, Nick's wife.
Photo by Judy Mihajlovich August 20, 2014.

A young Chetnik’s story...
By Nick (Beli) Mihajlovich

April 6, 1941

Germany and Italy along with their satellites attacked the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and occupied it within just two weeks.  I was 15 years old at the time.  I enjoyed listening to old warriors as they proudly talked about past wars and now they were disappointed, confused, and some were saying this occupation would last forever because all of Europe was under Nazi occupation.

We did not hear even one gun fired, but the news was about capitulation and Germany mobilized their military; they were thundering on our highways from Kragujevac to Kraljevo heading south.  Suddenly we heard an officer by the name of Dragoljub ‘Draza’ Mihailovich declared he would not recognize capitulation.  Instead, he would continue to fight the invaders and his starting point was Ravna Gora (flat forest).  He had a few officers with him that he dispatched to some locations throughout Serbia with instructions to organize and arm and most of all to train young men aged sixteen and older.  I turned sixteen on August 10, 1941 and joined the training center above the village of Zimovnik.

Our village of Godacica was part of the Ravna Gora movement.  The head of our local Ravna Gora organization was Commander Milorad Curlic, and the secretary was our school teacher (I have forgotten his name).  Milorad was a very respected man and if he asked us to do something, we did it….no questions asked.  One Saturday morning early in July 1944 I was with my cousin Dragisa and we walked from our staro celo to Godacica to find out our schedule for the following week. Most of the time our duties included guarding the roads around Godacica and other services.  That day we met Commander Curlic, and he asked if I knew the village of Pecenog and if I were to go there what direction I would take.  I explained the route I would take:  through the village of Panjevac then Milakovac followed by crossing the railroad and highway to Pecenog.  He said, "Very good.  Do you see those men sitting in front of the municipal building?  You are going to escort them to Pecenog."  I asked who they were and he only replied they were our allies. He then said, "I hold you responsible," and he pulled out his gun, held it to my forehead and said, "If anything happens to any of these men, this is what you will get."
There were nine of them, my cousin followed behind the group so no one would get lost.  One was injured and limping so we had to walk slowly so he could walk using a piece of wood as a crutch.  We walked a long time and then came upon wild blackberries beside the road.  They were so sweet and we stopped for a few minutes so they could eat them.  Then we had to go so I said “Hajde, hajde!" (come on let’s go!)  They didn’t understand me, they just repeated my words until I had to yell "HAJDE, HAJDE!!!"  and motioned for them to quickly follow.  I was so afraid to take too long because we had to cross the highway which was patrolled by the Germans.  We made it safely to the next meeting point.  We met the next escorts in Pecenog.  When I left the nine of them I saluted each of them to indicate I was leaving them with their next escort.  One of these men found a piece of paper and wrote something on it.  He handed it to me and I saluted them again and they all saluted back as though on command.
As Dragisa and I walked back to Godacica I looked at the piece of paper.  It seemed to be an address but it was written in a language I didn’t understand.  They didn’t speak Serbian and I had no idea what language they spoke!  So never dreaming I would ever have the need for it, I threw the piece of paper away.  This is my biggest regret to this day.
When we got back I reported to Commander Curlic that the mission was accomplished and the nine men were safely escorted to their destination.  He said, ‘Thank you very much."
I said, "May I ask who those men were that we escorted?"  He said, "Yes, they are Americans and I could not tell you this before because if the Germans captured you they would have forced you to tell them everything about our secret airport at Pranjani."  The Americans were bombing the petrol fields and refineries in Romania which supplied fuel for the German military.  This was happening throughout the spring and summer of 1944.  On their return these airmen were forced to parachute into Yugoslavia when their planes were attacked.
We were Chetniks and we had our protect and save them at all costs and escort them to Pranjani.
Nick (Beli) Mihajlovich


To read about Lt. Col. Milton Friend's story, please feel free to go to:

Marking the 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HALYARD MISSION RESCUE OPERATION OF WWII August 2014 / Lt. Col. Milton Friend of the USAF, Halyard Mission veteran, desires American debt to General Mihailovich repaid.


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