Aleksandra's Note: I first met Major George Vujnovich, OSS Chief of the Halyard Mission, in Chicago in May of 1994, when the 50th Anniversary of Operation Halyard was being celebrated as part of the worldwide D-Day Commemorations. I remember being struck by what a lovely person he was. Such an important figure in Allied relations during a very critical time in 1944, yet such a humble and gentle soul he was.
Thank you to those who began this initiative to officially recognize Major George Vujnovich with such a prestigious and well deserved award and kept it going for two years. Among them are LTC Stevo Oluic, Nenad Milinkovic of New York, and Michael Papich of California.
I'm especially grateful for the fact that Major Vujnovich, now 95 years old, lived to see this award of the Bronze Star bestowed upon him.
Congratulations and God Bless You, George.
50th Anniversary Celebration of the Halyard Mission
Chicago, IL May 1994
Left to right: Rescued Airmen Milton Friend,
Norman Reid, Richard Felman, saluting, and
OSS Chief of the Mission, Major George Vujnovich
Photo by Aleksandra Rebic
TO THE HONORABLE SENATOR GEORGE V. VOINOVICH
Dear Senator Voinovich,
As per your request this past Saturday evening at the convention of the Serbian Unity Congress in Cleveland, I am pleased to inform you that a Serbian-American hero, Ret. Maj. George M. Vujnovich (95) has been awarded The Bronze Star Medal by the U.S. Army. The award recognizes his remarkable achievement during WW2 in saving 512 downed Allied airmen in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, near the village of Pranjane, Serbia.
Thank you for your initiative of entering this achievement into the Senatorial Congressional Record.
Attached you will find the documents from the U.S. Army that Major Vujnovich received last week, notifying him of the award.
I understand the Halyard Mission represents the single largest rescue of U.S. military personnel behind enemy lines!
Senator, it was a pleasure seeing you again and hearing you speak.
President of Executive Board
Saint Sava's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, NYC
Final Evacuation of Allied Airmen from Yugoslavia,
December 27, 1944.
Standing far right is Major George Vujnovich,
OSS Chief of the Halyard Mission.
Also pictured is Captain Nick Lalich, standing center
in bomber jacket,
and Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian, center,
kneeling in front of Lalich,
both of the OSS,
and both integral to the epic successful Halyard evacuations.
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org