Sunday, December 27, 2009


The following tribute by Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Amfilohije honoring General Draza Mihailovich was posted on "You Tube" by "MIOPOP61"

This video can be found on "You Tube' at


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



The following video of the hills of Ravna Gora, Serbia was posted on "You Tube" by "luse81"

This video is found on "You Tube" at


To get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at

Hvala Tebi Cica Drazo // "Thank You Draza"

The following tribute to General Mihailovich was posted on "You Tube" by "Kokarda".

Found on "You Tube" at


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


"Najzesce Cetnicke Pesme" // A musical photo montage of great Chetnik songs

The following tribute to Draza Mihailovich was posted on "You Tube" by wh1te0ra0.

On "You Tube" at


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


Monday, December 21, 2009

Revisiting the role of Yugoslavian ‘Chetniks’ by Colonel George Jatras, U.S.A.F.

Colonel George Jatras U.S.A.F. (Retired) and wife Stella Jatras
Serbian National Defense "Vidovdan" celebration
June 28, 2009
New Gracanica Monastery, Third Lake, IL
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic

The Washington Times

July 6, 1997, Sunday, Final Edition

Revisiting the role of Yugoslavian ‘Chetniks’

The June 21 Letter to the Editor by Mladen J. Udbinac, under the heading “Article condemning Croatia draws angry responses,” is a typical example of revising and twisting historical facts regarding the role of the Chetniks (Yugoslav nationalists) in World War II.

Mr. Udbinac also states that criticism of Croatia today is “without any sort of concrete evidence.” I would like to set the facts straight, as reported in this newspaper.

In a commentary in The Times of June 11, 1985, Milt Copulos wrote that, “Information contained in these documents [previously classified OSS files and Nazi documents] now make it clear that the leader of Yugoslavia’s nationalist forces, [Chetniks], General Draza Mihailovich, was the victim of an active campaign of subversion conducted by James Klugman, a highly placed Communist agent in British intelligence and close associate of master spy Kim Philby.”

Rather than collaborating with the Nazis as claimed by Mr. Udbinac, Serbian forces under Gen. Mihailovich were loyal to the Allies in WW II and rescued over 500 downed American pilots while at the same time Croats and Muslims were turning our airmen over to the Nazis. Due to disgracefull politics (we did not want to offend our Communist friend, Josef Tito - himself a Croat), our State Department denied the efforts by American pilots to have a monument erected to honor those brave Serbians who sacrificed their lives to rescue them. In his account of the rescue, Major Richard Felman, an American Jew from Tucson, Arizona, recalls, “I watched in horror with binoculars as the Germans executed the entire village of Serbians who refused to disclose my hideaway with Draza Mihailovich’s forces.” On June 9, 1994, The Times carried an open letter to President Clinton from Major Felman and his fellow survivors deploring the bombing in Bosnia where Americans were killing “the very Serbian people who saved our lives while at the same time helping some of the people who were shooting at us and turning us over to the Germans.”

Mr. Ubinac’s accusation of Serbian anti-Semitism is even more egregious considering Serbian families took in Jewish children as their own in order to protect them from the horrors of Croatia’s death camps. Upon being discovered protecting these children, entire Serbian families were executed.

John Ranz, Chairman of the Survivors of Buchenwald, USA writes, “In the Serbian mountains Jews were welcomed by the Serbian partisans with open arms, and the 5,000 that survived in Yugoslavia survived among the partisans. The Serbs protected them until the end of the war at the risk of endangering their own lives.”

Regarding Mr. Udbinac’s comment that criticism of Croatia today is “without any sort of evidence,” how does he explain “the photographic and autopsy evidence of 3,200 bodies, mostly elderly Serb village women, their throats cut and their faces smashed in,” as reported by Edward Pearce in The Evening Standard (London), Aug. 7, 1995? A similar fate awaited elderly Serbs who were left behind when Croatian forces, trained by retired U.S. generals (”Retired U.S. brass sell military expertise,” The Washington Times, Nov. 25, 1995) “ethnically cleansed” 200,000 Serbs from their ancestral homes in Krajina and systematically shot or cut the throats of those who remained.

Hatred of the Serbian people, as exemplified by Mr. Udbinac’s misrepresentations and distortions, has shown itself in other ways. On August 9, 1996, St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, Arizona was desecrated. The church was spray-painted with swastikas, along with the dreaded “U” for “Ustashe,” Croatia’s Nazi party. Obscene words were sprayed on the walls in the Croatian and English languages. Signs of urination were evident on the church doors. There have been similar incidents in Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada. Not long afterward, there was a series of e-mail messages, which included death threats, as well as a comment about “how do you like what we did to your stinkin [sic] church.” The messages gave the origin and the name of the student from Arizona State University who sent them. Despite numerous letters, telephone calls and messages to congressmen, police, and the university president demanding that the perpetrators be found and punished, the investigation has been closed “for lack of evidence.”

Major Richard Felman and our rescued American airmen are still waiting for the United States government to show its appreciation to those who saved their lives.

Serbian Americans in Phoenix, Chicago and Los Angeles are still waiting for action to find and punish those responsible for cowardly “hate crimes.” No American,including those like me who are not of Serbian descent, should remain silent while a proud people, our allies in two world wars, are vilified and their churches desecrated.




To get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


Sunday, December 20, 2009

WWII RESCUE IN THE HILLS OF YUGOSLAVIA - The Halyard Mission and ‘The Forgotten 500’

By Elizabeth Milanovich

For "Vidovdan"
a quarterly Serbian magazine
published in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

December 2009

More often than not, a war story is about killing and bloodshed. This is not one of those stories of death, but rather one of life. In fact, it’s about an incredible and unprecedented rescue in the hills of Yugoslavia during WWII. This is a story which should have been told long ago, but for political reasons was suppressed until recent years. It’s now told in a book authored by Gregory Freeman, ‘The Forgotten 500’. It is very aptly titled, and involves the heroics and sacrifices of Serbian villagers and Yugoslav Royalist forces led by General Dragoljub Mihajlovic (Draza Mihailovich). And, it also involves the heroics of an American, Arthur Jibilian, who introduces himself in that book as follows:

Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian at Age 20

“I am the radio operator, "Jibby" in this book. We owe a debt to Mihailovich and the Serbian people for saving so many American lives. The SERBIANS WERE THE ONLY ONES IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA THAT FED, SHELTERED, AND RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR THE AMERICANS. Mihailovich's abandonment by the Allies and subsequently being labelled a traitor was, in Winston Churchill's words, "...My greatest blunder in WWII..". I am proud of being a part of the Halyard Mission and, FINALLY, seeing the truth regarding Mihailovich's contributions in WWII being publicized. This book will go a long way in clearing his name.....and it is exciting, easy reading, and hard to put down once you start it.”

This long suppressed story is all the more interesting and significant because the events of the 1990s, which led to bloody civil-religious wars in Yugoslavia and caused her dismemberment, had origins in the WWII period 1941-1945. Both in the 1940s and 1990s, the machinations of Western countries greatly complicated and exacerbated adverse events and outcomes. And, in the 1990s, the end result was that Yugoslavia was no more.

In order to write this article I also relied on a few websites, the aforementioned book, and the helpful input of WWII hero Arthur Jibilian and other individuals familiar with WWII events in Yugoslavia.

Excerpt from the website of  the Tesla Memorial Society of New York at

The following text was taken from WTOL:

On Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008, at 11 a.m., at the Air National Guard facility at Toledo Express Airport, Art Jibilian of Fremont received a special Congressional award.

Mr. Jibilian played a vital role in one of the last untold stories of World War II, The Forgotten 500. In a remarkable mission, more than 500 U.S. airmen were rescued from the hills of Yugoslavia. At the time, the area was controlled by the Nazis, who were hunting for the American airmen.

Brave Serbian villagers hid the Americans, even though they faced death if they were caught. Mr. Jibilian volunteered to parachute behind enemy lines and coordinate the rescue. He helped build an airstrip in the middle of the forest. He and his team organized the villagers and the downed airmen, and brought the C-47s into the makeshift airstrip. The airmen were rescued.

Mr. Jibilian's heroism is documented in a book by Gregory Freeman: ‘The Forgotten 500’. It is a fascinating story that is all the more spectacular because it is true.

The impressive facility of the Air National Guard at Toledo Express Airport was full of people, national guardsmen, commanders of the National Guard, congressmen and senators of the State of Ohio. Many of the National Guardsmen and Congressmen spoke at the ceremony.

A Serbian delegation, who came from Cleveland, Ohio, also attended the event and was greeted warmly.

[WTOL is the CBS affiliate in Toledo, Ohio serving Northwest Ohio, Southeast Michigan, and southwest Ontario, Canada.]

On September 20th, 2009, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic was feted at a reception in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the dignitaries present at the event was Ohio Senator George Voinovich. Apparently Senator Voinovich has been a great supporter of giving General Mihailovich and the Halyard Mission their rightful place in history. Arthur Jibilian was also there, by special invitation, and met both President Tadic and Senator Voinovich and presented them with autographed copies of ‘The Forgotten 500’.

Arthur Jibilian signs a personal copy of
The Forgotten 500’ for Ohio Senator George Voinovich,
September 20 2009. Photo courtesy of Debi Jibilian.

From by Aleksandra Rebic:

Arthur Jibilian, shortly after the Tadic reception, learned that he is in full remission. Jibilian, who is 86 years old, was diagnosed with terminal leukemia in the spring of 2008 and given only a couple of months to live. Over a year later, "Jibby" is still going strong and has attended numerous events over the course of the last year honoring the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation which successfully evacuated and saved the lives of over 500 American airmen from Nazi occupied territory in WWII Yugoslavia. The operation was brilliantly executed by the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the forces of General Draza Mihailovich of Serbia. This was Jibilian's first time meeting with the President of Serbia.

The following paragraphs are excerpted from Arthur Jibilian’s biography about his introduction into the WWII theatre in Yugoslavia. In his own words:

“... I was informed that a Lt. Eli Popovich would be interviewing radio operators for a mission into Yugoslavia. Col. Lynn Farish and Lt. Popovich were going into Yugoslavia and needed a radio operator. Col Farish had been in Yugo before, but had had no radio operator, being dependent of the British Missions to relay his reports. This was not acceptable to him, or to OSS. I was thrilled when Eli (we were quite informal in OSS) selected me.

We parachuted into Partisan territory, on March 15, 1944. Initially, I failed to make radio contact with base and everyone, including me, began to doubt my competence. Finally making contact, we discovered that base had not been listening for us as the mission was scheduled to be cancelled. We were just getting comfortable, when the Germans, using a direction finder, locked in on my radio signals. When I began transmitting, German Stukas and Messerschmits strafed and dive-bombed out positions.

We were forced to jettison every piece of excess equipment when the Germans sent a contingent after us. They pursued us for six nights and five days. We were in summer khakis and as we climbed the mountain trails, the air became colder and colder. We ran into snow, sometimes sinking so deep that we had to help each other lift our feet out of the drifts. When we stopped for a 10 minute break, we were soaked with sweat and the clothes literally froze to our bodies. When we started to march, we quickly generated enough heat to melt the ice.

We had little to eat, subsisting on goat cheese and bread with straw, given to us by the Serbian peasants. We all became very ill due to the harsh conditions.

Going back down, we finally got to a warmer elevation. We also heard of some airmen that the Serbs were hiding from the Germans. We had to go though a German ‘checkpoint’ to reach them, or take a long eight day march around the checkpoint. We decided to risk the checkpoint. We were told we could bribe the guards (Farish had $20.00 gold pieces) and they would allow us to sneak through in the dark. We got half-way through when something went terribly wrong. Flares went up and a searchlight began probing for us. I fired at the searchlight and it went out. I think everyone shot at the light, so cannot take credit for hitting it. Amid all the confusion, we all made it through safely. We picked up about a dozen airmen who had been shot down while bombing the oil fields of Ploesti. We brought them out with us.

This mission lasted only two months, but was the toughest two months, mentally and physically, in my life. We were sent to a rest camp in Naples, Italy. I had lost a lot of weight, but, being young, it didn’t take me long to regain it, especially with the relative abundance of good things to eat.

I was awarded the Silver Star for this mission and am extremely proud of it.

Shortly afterwards, Col Kraigher of the 15th Air Force, contacted OSS. He had received word that there were 50 American airmen in the area of Pranjani, Yugoslavia. These airmen were shot down while bombing the oil fields of Ploesti. Gen. Draza Mihailovich, leader of the Chetniks, had gathered these men, protected them, fed them, and brought them all together in one area so that the Americans could “rescue” them. The Halyard Mission, composed of Capt. George “Guv” Musulin, Lt. Mike Rajacic and Navy Radio Operator Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian, volunteered to parachute in and evacuate them. The mission would take seven to ten days, it was estimated.

In order for readers to appreciate what follows, I must digress for a moment and give a little background. When the Germans invaded Yugoslavia, Gen. Mihailovich took off into the hills and waged guerilla warfare against the Germans. He was hailed as a hero by the Allies, and, when possible, supplies were dropped to aid him in his fight against the invaders. Several British missions also were dropped in to help him and gather intelligence information. One individual from OSS, Capt. George “Guv” Musulin, also parachuted into Mihailovich’s headquarters. He had no radio operator and relayed information through the British. A movie titled ‘THE FIGHTING CHETNIKS’ was made, depicting Mihailovich’s courageous fight against the Nazi invaders.

When the Germans invaded Russia, Josip Broz, better known as Marshal Tito, also organized guerillas to fight the Germans. Mihailovich welcomed him. Tito started a campaign to communize villages. Mihailovich asked him to stop, saying that they were soldiers, not politicians. “Let’s drive the Germans out of our land, and then we can worry about the type of government we want”, he told Tito. Nevertheless, Tito persisted and civil war broke out between the partisans of Marshal Tito and the Chetniks of Mihailovich. ...”

The tragic story of General Draza Mihailovich is not well and widely known in the West. It was suppressed for political reasons during the Cold War. After the fall of communism in Yugoslavia, the truth of this hero of WWII continued to be concealed by remnants of Tito’s regime and the sons and daughters of communists who came into power.

Following a staged and phony WWII trial by the victorious communists in Belgrade, Gen. Mihailovich was executed on July 17, 1946. Even today his grave has not been identified, while Tito’s splendid burial site ‘The House of Flowers’ is still fully maintained in Belgrade. In his book ‘Ally Betrayed’, David Martin wrote:

 “Ever since the fall of 1943, the Allied press had been accusing Mihailovich as a collaborator and a traitor ….It is an irony of history that Tito should have been the creation of the capitalist democracies, Great Britain and the United States.”

The facts are that General Draza Mihailovich was recognized as the first anti-fascist guerrilla in occupied Europe. His substantial contributions to the war effort were recognized and are the subject of tributes by Generals Eisenhower and DeGaulle, by three top ranking British officers, Harwood, Tedder, and Auchinleck, and by many others. In late 1942, the British officers jointly sent the following wire to Gen. Mihailovich, "With admiration we are following your directed operations which are of inestimable value to the Allied cause." In 1948, President Truman posthumously decorated Gen. Draza Mihailovich with the highest USA decoration for a foreigner, the Legion of Merit. The decoration was kept secret for many years.

Arthur Jibilian, in his own words, about Gen. Draza Mihailovich:

“Gen Mihailovich was a great and, yet, simple man. He was very approachable, had a delightful sense of humor and loved his country passionately. We begged him to come out with us but he said, 'I am a soldier, this is my country. I was born here, will fight here and die here.’

OSS personnel and Allied airmen wanted to testify at Mihailovich’s trial, but Tito refused to give permission. Had we been permitted to testify, the truth of Mihailovich’s deeds would have come out.”

More excerpts from the final paragraphs of Arthur Jibilian’s biography:

“... The Allies now had to justify their abandonment of Mihailovich. They did this by simply stating that he was a collaborator and would no longer support him. All aid was given to the Partisans of Marshal Tito, who used the guns and ammunitions against Mihailovich more often than against the Germans. With their superior weapons and firepower, the Partisan kept the Chetniks on the run, even though the majority of the Serbian people supported Mihailovich. All Air force personnel were told that, if shot down over Yugoslavia, they were to seek out the Partisans of Marshal Tito, as the Chetniks would cut off their ears and turn them over to the Germans.

As a result of these “political concerns” our mission was delayed and/ or aborted a dozen times. We were to jump on July 3, but it was not until August 2, 1944, that we finally jumped into Pranjani.

We found not 50 Americans, but 250! Many were in bad shape, having been wounded by flack and/or sustaining injuries upon landing or while attempting to evade capture by the Germans. I cannot say enough about the care and protection that our wounded received from the Chetniks and the Serbian people. They risked their lives to shelter and protect our boys. The peasants fed the wounded when they, themselves, had nothing to eat. You must remember that the land had been ravaged by the Germans and the Civil War further depleted the resources of the farmers, giving meaning to the phrase “they were dirt poor”.

On August 10, the C-47s escorted by P-51 Mustangs and P-38 lightning fighters, arrived. While the fighters strafed Cacak, the C-47s landed, were loaded, and departed quickly.

Gen. Mihailovich informed us that there were many more American airmen throughout his territory and he would funnel them to us, if we so desired. We received permission to stay and, what started out as a 10 day mission, lasted almost six months, during which we evacuated 513 Shot down American airmen, and “several” British, French and Italians.

The Ranger mission was also evacuated, leaving Capt. Nick Lalich and me as the sole mission in Mihailovich territory. We stayed until Dec. 27, 1944.

Gen. Draza Mihailovich standing with his hand over his heart
in the middle row, with Serbs and American airmen.
 Nick Lalich is to Draza's right and
Arthur Jibilian is in the front row between them. December 1944.

After a quick physical, a long, hot shower, I collapsed into a bed. The next morning, I had a hearty breakfast. Food never tasted so good! However, my elation was tempered with the thought of the poor Serbs who had sacrificed (and were still sacrificing) for the Americans.

Having spent two months with the forces of Marshal Tito, and six months with Mihailovich, the contrast was amazing. The Partisans shadowed us, never leaving us alone with the villagers. They were always tense, and villagers were ill at ease in their presence. Once, when we were alone with a family, we were asked: “Why are the Allies backing Tito?” I had been told to simply say: “Only God knows”. Being deeply religious, they accepted our answer.

In contrast, villagers flocked out happily, strewing flowers in Mihailovich’s path and singing and celebrating his return. All available food was scrounged so that a virtual feast could be prepared. The villagers donned their native costumes and danced and sang in Mihailovich’s honor. It was obvious that they literally adored him.

The “ten day mission” stretched to almost six months, and the rescuing of 513 Americans will live forever in my memory.

We followed the Fifth Army’s advance up the “boot” until my orders came to return to the States. OSS returned me to the Navy and I was discharged in September 1945.

I obtained employment with the VA in Washington, DC. Reading the 'Washington Post' one morning, I came across a small article on the front page: 'Tito’s forces capture Mihailovich'. I was stunned and shook up. Knowing that Mihailovich felt abandoned by the Allies, I decided to tell the story of the Halyard Mission to the 'Washington Post'. I saw the editor and told him my story and how Mihailovich had saved 513 American airmen.

I did not know it, but the rescued airmen had kept in touch with one another. They met at Ft. Stephens in Chicago and sent a 20 man delegation to Washington. They contacted me and we organized a 'Mission to Save Mihailovich' campaign. We distributed pamphlets, contacted the State Department, our senators, and representatives. We asked only:

l. To let the rescued airmen testify at his trial;

2. To allow OSS personnel to testify at his trial;

3. To move the trial to a neutral country so Mihailovich would get a fair trial.

Even though we knew Mihailovich was doomed, we felt that if we could at least see him and let him know that we hadn’t forgot him, he would die more peacefully.

Tito’s reply: 'This is an internal matter and will be handled by us'.

We tried valiantly, but Washington is a town full of very powerful lobbyists and our efforts paled in comparison with the money and influence they had.

Mihailovich was tried and executed as a collaborator. In his last speech, he concluded by saying: 'The truth is for everyone'.

This is the truth. The story of a hero and martyr.”

To sum up, from the Tesla Memorial Society website:

“... ‘THE FORGOTTEN 500’ is one of the greatest rescue and escape stories ever, but hardly anyone has heard about it. And that's by design. The U.S., British, and Yugoslav governments hid details of this story for decades, purposefully denying credit to the heroic rescuers and the foreign ally who gave his life to help allied airmen as they were hunted down by Nazis in the hills of Yugoslavia. ...”

Sixty years later:

In September 2004, Arthur Jibilian received an invitation from the Serbian government to participate in the dedication of a memorial plaque in Pranjani, the site of the first evacuation of 250 airmen. Arthur Jibilian and George Vuynovich, representing the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), were there. Of the WWII rescued pilots, only Clare Musgrove and Bob Wilson were able to attend. Others were not able to make it, and too many of the others did not live to see this day, among them the late Richard L. Felman.

Ohio Congressman Robert Latta has introduced a Bill recommending that Arthur Jibilian receive the U.S. military’s highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Such recognition is most deservedly merited after so many years of politically induced silence. An excerpt from Julia Gorin’s website, August 9, 2009:

“... Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) has introduced a Bill to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Arthur Jibilian for risking his life to rescue downed U.S. airmen in German-occupied Serbia in 1944.

As usual, only the local TV station WTOL in Ohio has carried this story of national and international proportion.

However, about a week ago there was a huge breakthrough when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran the most extensive bit of history to ever see mainstream print on this subject. ...”

The entire article may be read on Julia Gorin’s website at

For the past while, Mr. Jibilian has been showered with an assortment of richly deserved tributes.

Now, ‘Jibby’ awaits receiving the really big one, the Medal of Honor.

[ My thanks to Aleksandra Rebic, Milana Bizic, the Tesla Memorial Society, and Julia Gorin for the wealth of information on the internet, from which I was also able to extract information for my article. Many thanks to Gregory Freeman for writing a great book, without which I probably would not have written this article. I’m most grateful to Michael Djordjevich for sending me a copy of ‘The Forgotten 500’, and for supplying me with some valuable information. Of course, I’m especially grateful to Arthur Jibilian and his daughter Debbie for their very helpful advice and for sending me his biographical information. My apologies for any pertinent information which may have been omitted inadvertently due to space limitations.]

Elizabeth Milanovich


Aleksandra's Note:

My thanks to Elizabeth "Liz" Milanovich for sharing her story for "Vidovdan" with me and for her good work on behalf of making the truth about Mihailovich known. She is a pleasure to work with.

Elizabeth is of Serbian background, born in Canada. She has always had a keen interest in history, world events and current affairs, with a special interest in the homeland of her parents. She learned to speak Serbian at an early age, and perfected it somewhat over the years. However, she says, she's not fluent in Serbian, but considers herself quite fluent in English. She contributes articles in English to a Serbian magazine, 'Vidovdan', published quarterly in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Elizabeth has traveled often to the former Yugoslavia, during and after the Tito era. She believes that many Serbs lost their way during that godless era, which set the Serbs back immensely. For decades their religion and traditions were neglected. As well, she feels it remains very sad how WWII hero Gen. Draza Mihailovich has been so mistreated.

In 2004 Elizabeth had the opportunity to visit Kosovo. She returned again in the autumn of 2008, and was able to see a wide swath of Kosovo. Suffice it to say, she says, those were bittersweet visits.


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


Saturday, December 12, 2009

World War II hero Arthur Jibilian Receives the "Rufus Putnam Award"

The following story about Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian, OSS Radioman of the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation, was published in the November/December 2009 issue of BEACON, "A Joint Publication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the Ohio Masonic Home."

Congratulations on winning the "Rufus Putnam Award" Arthur - yet another in a long list of well deserved recognitions of your contributions!

A. Rebic

"Arthur Jibilian was presented the Rufus Putnam Distinguished Service Award at the Grand Lodge Annual Communication in October [2009].

The award is the highest honor presented annually by the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

Brother Jibilian, a member of Brainard Lodge #336 in Green Springs, was born in Cleveland in 1923 and raised in Toledo.

When he was 19 in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Navy. He was trained as a “Radio man.” While in boot camp, an officer from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) arrived, looking for recruits. Even after learning of the extreme dangers of possible assignments, Jibilian volunteered.

In March, 1944, Jibilian and two others parachuted behind enemy lines into Yugoslavia to rescue stranded airmen, whose planes had been shot down.

The Germans were relentless in searching for the airmen and the team trying to rescue them. Serbian peasants concealed the airmen and aided the rescuers. The mission lasted almost two months, and about a dozen airmen were successfully evacuated by the effort. Jibilian was awarded the Silver Star for his participation.

While on the first mission, Jibilian and his team learned of many other airmen in the area. A new mission, named Halyard, was planned to rescue more airmen. Again, a three-man team, with Brother Jibilian as radio man, parachuted behind enemy lines. The planned 10-day mission actually lasted about 6 months, as Jibilian and his associates, under adverse and dangerous situations, organized wave after wave of evacuation groups, and, when the effort finally ended, they had successfully rescued 513 American airmen and several British, French, and Italians.

Because of the secret nature of the mission, Jibilian’s heroic exploits were not revealed until many years later. A book, The Forgotten 500, by Gregory A. Freeman, was published a few years ago and tells the story in detail. This year, our hero has been nominated for a Congressional Medal of Honor for his service.

Arthur Jibilian became a Master Mason in June, 1952, in Fort Industry Lodge #630 in Toledo, and subsequently affiliated with Brainard Lodge. He now lives in Fremont. At 86 years old, he has been a Master Mason for 54 years.

According to Grand Master Murphy,

'Brother Arthur Jibilian at a youthful 19 years old displayed high levels of bravery and service to his country. He was a genuine World War II hero. He practiced the Masonic virtues of brotherly love, relief, and truth, even before he was a Mason and is, indeed, a deserving recipient of the highest and most honorable award of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.'"


Aleksandra's note:

The following description of Rufus Putnam  was found at the "Ohio History Central" website //

"Rufus Putnam was a soldier and early settler of Ohio after the American Revolution.

Putnam was on April 9, 1738, in Sutton, Massachusetts. His father died when Putnam was seven and his mother apprenticed him to a millwright. In 1757, he fought for the British in the French and Indian War. When the war was over, Putnam returned home where he became a farmer and a miller. He also lobbied the English government to provide veterans of the French and Indian War with land bounties along the Mississippi River. Fearing conflicts between its colonists and the Native Americans residing west of the Appalachian Mountains, England issued the Proclamation of 1763. It prohibited any of England's colonists from living west of the mountains. The English government denied Putnam's request.

At the start of the American Revolution, Putnam enlisted in the Continental Army. Early in the conflict, he helped prepare earthworks and other defensive features for the Americans surrounding English soldiers in Boston, Massachusetts. He also assisted George Washington in preparing New York's defenses. He spent the remainder of the war in upstate New York and fought in the Battle of Saratoga. He began the war as a lieutenant colonel and by its conclusion had risen to the rank of brigadier-general.

Throughout the conflict, Putnam served as an advocate for junior officers and enlisted men. America's first government, created by the Articles of Confederation, had limited powers and faced tremendous difficulty meeting its expenses. This included paying the men in its army. The Confederation Congress promised to give these men land grants in the Ohio Country, but the Congress was slow to act. In 1783, Putnam helped draft the Newburgh Petition. In this document, many of the officers in the Continental Army demanded payment immediately in land grants or they would even contemplate replacing their government. General George Washington was able to prevent an uprising.

Following the American Revolution, Putnam engaged in real estate investment. He served as a surveyor for the Confederation Congress and used the knowledge he received while surveying to make land purchases. In 1786, a group of men from Massachusetts, including Putnam and Benjamin Tupper, founded the Ohio Company of Associates. Winthrop Sargent became the secretary of the venture. The company planned to purchase land in the Northwest Territory west of the Seven Ranges. Both Putnam and Tupper had participated in survey expeditions led by Thomas Hutchins and believed that the region had great potential.

The company first chose Samuel Holden Parsons to represent their interests before the American government. When he was unsuccessful in his mission, the company replaced him with the Reverend Manasseh Cutler. Cutler worked with Treasury Secretary William Duer and president of the Congress Arthur St. Clair to negotiate an arrangement for the purchase of the land. The Ohio Company purchased 1,500,000 acres of land, agreeing to pay $500,000 immediately and another $500,000 payment once survey work was finished.

Congress allowed the company to pay for part of the land using military warrants. This created a very favorable arrangement for the investors. In the end, they paid about eight and one-half cents per acre. In order to encourage settlement of the region and create a buffer zone between white settlements and Native Americans, Congress also gave the Ohio Company 100,000 acres. This land came to be known as the Donation Tract. In the tract, any adult white male would obtain one hundred acres of free land. Although the survey pattern was somewhat different from that of the Seven Ranges, Ohio Company investors were required to set aside land in each township for education and religion as well as three sections for future government purposes. In addition, two townships were set aside for a university.

Putnam established the first Ohio Company settlement on the banks of the Ohio River. Known originally as Adelphia, the community soon became known as Marietta. To protect the settlement from Native American attacks, the settlers built a fortification known as the Campus Martius. Many of the early settlers of Ohio Company lands came from New England. They tried to establish similar institutions and communities to those they had left in the East. In 1808, the company established Ohio University on the land set aside for that purpose. In its early years the university only offered the equivalent of a high school education and enrollment remained low for a number of years. The settlers of Marietta had greater success once the Native American threat was reduced with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795. The population continued to grow in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The New England settlers often disagreed with frontier settlers coming from Virginia and Kentucky who had different visions for the region.

Putnam emerged as an important political leader in the Northwest Territory. President Washington appointed Putnam to a judgeship in 1790. He also served as a brigadier-general in the United States Army during this same time period. In 1796, Putnam became the surveyor-general of the United States. President Thomas Jefferson removed him from the position. Putnam continued to play an important role in territorial government and participated in the constitutional convention of 1802. Putnam favored the Federalist Party and did succeed in preventing slavery from becoming legal in Ohio. Putnam died on May 4, 1824, in Marietta."

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General Draza Mihailovich Awaits the Verdict // Carl Savich on the Mihailovich Trial Coverage in LIFE Magazine July 15, 1946

By Carl Savich

In the July 15, 1946 issue, LIFE magazine reported on the Draza Mihailovich trial in an article entitled “Mihailovich Awaits the Verdict”. LIFE photographer John Phillips took pictures of Draza Mihailovich before the Communist military court, smoking a pipe, drinking a bottle of beer, and lying in his bed in his cell reading a book. In a photo essay entitled “Mihailovich: Chetnik leader fights for his life before open Yugoslav court-martial”, Phillips also photographed a military guard, wearing a cap with the Communist and Soviet red star with a hammer and sickle, bringing lunch to Mihailovich, consisting of ham, mashed potatoes, and cucumbers with bread. LIFE reported that Mihailovich was wearing “GI trousers” and had read 50 books, including Sinclair Lewis’ 1925 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Arrowsmith". The photographs showed Mihailovich stoic, calm, and resolute.

LIFE photographer John Phillips was a Tito confidante who had photographed Tito since 1944 when he joined him and his Communist Partisan forces. Phillips had photographed Tito and the Communist leadership in Belgrade in February, 1945 for LIFE magazine, with a photo in a Belgrade “Government” office showing a massive photograph of Joseph Stalin on the wall, higher and larger than the photos of Winston Churchill, FDR, and even Tito himself. It was, in fact, the Russian Red Army that had put Tito and the Communist Partisans in power when Russian troops took the city on October 20, 1944 after German troops withdrew. Tito had awarded a Medal of Merit to Phillips. Phillips later assembled a book in 1983, "Yugoslav Story", published by the Yugoslav government, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Communist regime.

The so-called trial was a Communist show trial based on the model of the Stalinist show trials of the late 1930s. The proceedings were a travesty of justice and represented “victor’s justice”, or a vindictive revenge against a foe. The trial violated fundamental principles of justice, fairness, and due process. Mihailovich was not allowed to present witnesses in his behalf because the military court refused to allow U.S. and British airmen and witnesses to testify in his behalf. He was not allowed to confront and to cross-examine his accusers. The prosecutor read statements against him which Mihailovich could not rebut or disprove because the witnesses were not produced by the military prosecutors. The Yugoslav Communist regime, allied and supported by the Soviet Union, rejected the diplomatic interventions by the governments of the U.S. and Britain on Mihailovich’s behalf. It was not possible for him to receive a fair trial because Communist leader Josip Broz Tito had already pronounced, even before the trial began, that Mihailovich was guilty: “His crimes are far too big and horrible to permit discussion of whether he is guilty or not.” Mihailovich was “guilty until proven innocent”. The trial was merely a sham and pretense, a judicial or legalized lynching and murder. This was an instance of “victor’s justice”. The only “crime” that Mihailovich was guilty of was that he opposed the Communist and Stalinist dictatorship which Tito imposed on Yugoslavia. At that time, Tito and the Yugoslav Communist regime were allied to and supported by Jospeh Stalin and the Soviet Union.

It was in fact the Russian Red Army that had put the Communist regime in power in Belgrade in October, 1944 when Soviet troops advanced on the city. German forces withdrew, allowing the Soviet Army to install Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito. Yugoslav Communist propaganda falsified history by claiming that it was the Yugoslav Communist Partisans who had driven the German troops out. The Russian troops only provided assistance. This outrageous falsification and phony picture was stage-managed and meticulously manufactured by Communist historians who followed the Communist Party line. It was a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. In fact, the Soviet “liberation” of Belgrade was not much different from the similar Red Army liberations of Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia, Prague, Vienna, and Berlin. In the case with Belgrade, much work was done behind the scenes to make it look like it was the Communist Partisans who were freeing the city from the German troops. This sham was produced to give added legitimacy to the Communsit Partisans and to bolster the Communist dictatorship of Josip Broz Tito, a hardcore Stalinist and Communist. The falsification was needed to create the false impression that it was Tito and the Partisans who had “liberated” Belgrade, and not the Russian Red Army, not by Soviet troops under General Fyodor Tolbukhin, and not by Soviet military forces commanded by Joseph Stalin. It was a classic case of how the Communist dictatorship falsified history and made up events in order to rationalize and to justify a Communist dictatorship, a dictatorship installed and put in power by Soviet troops, by Joseph Stalin.

The Soviet Red Army enters Belgrade,
forcing German troops to retreat.
Yugoslav Communist propaganda falsely claimed
that it was Communist Partisan troops that had taken the city.

Draza Mihailovich first appeared in LIFE magazine on November 24, 1941 in the article “LIFE ’s Reports: ‘Invisible War’ in Yugoslavia” by Harry Zinder and George Maranz in which it was revealed that he was the leader of the Yugoslav resistance in Yugoslavia: “The leader of the invisible Serbian army is Colonel Draja Mihailovich.” In the April 2, 1941 issue “LIFE on the Newsfronts of the World: Hitler Launches his Balkan Offensive against Yugoslavia, Greece and the British Army”, LIFE had reported on the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia and featured a photograph of Ruth Mitchell, who was a supporter of the Chetnik guerrillas. In the article “For the Record: Hangings in Yugoslavia”, LIFE described the guerrillas as “”Chetniks,” a far-flung organization of patriotic Serbs who are sworn to die rather than surrender to their conquerors.” In the November 3, 1941 issue of LIFE, it was reported that the Chetnik guerrillas were engaged in a resistance movement against the Axis forces in German-occupied Yugoslavia: “In Yugoslavia a bloody little war was raging between Chetnik guerrillas and their conquerors.” In the June 10, 1946 issue of LIFE, the magazine reported on the efforts made by U.S. veterans, airmen and OSS members, to gather U.S. support for Mihailovich and to testify at his trial in the story “LIFE’s Reports: Fight for Mihailovich: U.S. Airmen Try to Help Accused Chetnik Leader” by Jeanne Perkins. Excerpts from letters from U.S. airmen rescued by Mihailovich from Axis troops were featured: “Our lives were safeguarded by the Chetniks; we were constantly on the move…. The Chetniks rescued me and my crew from the Germans.” In the August 2, 1948 Letters to the Editor section of LIFE, Robert H. Anderson of Buffalo, New York wrote to correct the historical record on Draza Mihailovich:

 "The Chetniks, led by General Mihailovich, did most of the actual fighting in Serbia against the Axis.”

Anderson cited the book Ally Betrayed by David Martin.

Russian troops on a Soviet T-34 tank enter Belgrade,
October 20, 1944,
 forcing the German troops to withdraw to the northwest.
The Red Army was greeted as “liberators”.

In Undercover: The Men and Women of the Special Operations Executive by Patrick Howarth published in 1980 by Routledge in London, Howarth emphazied on pages 78-79 that Tito was a Stalinist and Communist under the direct control of Joseph Stalin:

Tito was a Moscow-trained revolutionay, who had been imprisoned for subversive activities in pre-war Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Communist party had been declared illegal, and at the beginning of the Second World War it had only about 8,000 members. Of these Tito, as Secretary-General, was by far the most influential. Among his tasks had been to find recruits for the Spanish Civil War, and as a result he was provided with a trained elite of guerrilla fighters for his later campaigns.

Tito regarded himself as being wholly under Stalin’s orders, and when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 he waited for instructions. ‘For once, ‘ as Djilas was to write later, ‘Moscow did not delay,’ and Tito began to build up, with exemplary speed and efficiency, a guerrilla force. This force was at all times under communist control, but it was wisely described at first, largely for recruiting purposes, as the National Liberation Partisan Detachments, to be foreshortened after a time to the single word “Partisans’. …

As a revolutionary Tito had no interest in preserving property or the existing social order. … In so far as they served to arouse the anger of the population against the occupation forces Tito rather welcomed enemy reprisals.”

The judicial murder of Mihailovich allowed the Communist dictatorship of Tito to consolidate its power and to take control of Yugoslavia and impose a Communist and Stalinist totalitarian regime.

The cover of the July 15, 1946 issue of LIFE magazine,
with the cover title WELDED WATER GADGETS,
which featured a story on the Draza Mihailovich trial in Belgrade.

The table of contents page featuring “THE WEEK’S EVENTS” story
Mihailovich Awaits the Verdict” on pages 32 and 33.

The original 1946 LIFE magazine caption:
“ON THE WITNESS STAND Mihailovich sits facing
the three Army judges on the dais who will sentence him.
 Two majors, serving as alternate judges, are at far left and the
court secretary is ar far right.
Two Serbs who testified in Mihailovich’s behalf,
 were booed by spectators, many of whom bore wounds
 which Chetnik fighters had inflicted.”

LIFE Captions: “IN HIS CELL he relaxes in his GI trousers,
 smokes and reads one of 50 books, including Arrowsmith, that he has
 finished since his capture in March."

"Below: A 14-year-old boy, displaying Tito medals, cries on the steps
of the courthouse after the judges had made him leave because
he was too young to listen to the evidence about atrocities.”

LIFE Caption Photo Above: “LUNCH of bread, ham, mashed potatoes
and cucumbers is brought to Mihailovich. He may order what he wants.”

LIFE Caption Photo Above:
“DRAZA MIHAILOVICH calmly smokes his pipe and peers from
 behind his thick glasses and wiry beard during his trial in Belgrade.
 These pictures, showing him alert and well, were taken
 by LIFE Photographer John Phillips. They tend to disprove the rumor
that he had been doped with mascaline, a Balkan drug,
to make him admit guilt.”


Aleksandra's Note:

"Macaline", also known as "Mescaline", is a tryptamine - ( a psychedelic acid that causes hallucinations), and it is my firm belief that General Mihailovich was indeed doped with 
mascaline while in the communist prison in Belgrade and that this "rumor" is absolutely true. The Yugo communists were not able to make their case against Mihailovich on any valid or truthful grounds, so they used one of the methods available to them to manufacture "guilt" in the man they fully intended to "find guilty and execute" before the phony trial ever began. 

The LIFE Magazine article "Mihailovich Awaits the Verdict" was published in the July 15, 1946 issue. General Mihailovich was executed by a communist firing squad on July 17, 1946.

Thanks to Carl Savich for the splendid job he always does in his illuminating commentaries.


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