Aleksandra's Note: On October 14, 2010, the New York Times published a good story about the upcoming Bronze Medal ceremony that would be honoring George Vujnovich for his great contributions to the Allied cause. The story was authored by Corey Kilgannon. Naturally, since the story cast the Mihailovich Serbs, the Chetniks, in a positive light, there were bound to be comments...And indeed there have been comments. These comments reflect the continuing controversy as to how history should view General Draza Mihailovich and the Chetniks. I am posting them here as being representative of this controversy. It is up to those who know the truth to do whatever they can to get the word out. Silence will never correct the wrongs of a poisoned historical record.
The original article and the subsequent comments can be found at:
I have withheld the names of all the "commentators" except for my own and that of Milana ("Mim") Bizic. Their names can be found on the NYTimes website at the link given.
66 YEARS LATER, A BRONZE STAR FOR A HERO FROM QUEENS [George Vujnovich]
1. October 14, 2010
Well, at least this quiet, unassuming WWII vet lived long enough to finally receive the Bronze Star, unlike numerous other service men who got their’s posthumously. Alas, It’s too bad his wife of so many years isn’t here to share the pride he must be feeling at this point in his life.
We salute your valiant service to our country, Lt. Vujnovich.
2. October 14, 2010
What a wonderful thing his story is not lost to us. And he can rest well knowing Mihailovich will be remembered as a hero, too.
I hear you, HH, but there are as many unsung heros as there are unpunished villains. Hopefully.
3. October 14, 2010
I am happy for this deserving gentleman who lives to see the day his recognition has arrived. I am too, also persueing for my Great Uncle Pvt. 1st Class Cornelius Conway U.S. Army Infantry, ” World War I ” , killed in action November 3, 1918 the Congretional Medal of Honor.
He was killed at the Muesse Argonne and is buried at the Muesse Argonne American Cemetary outside of Verdun France. This is the largest U.S. cemetary in all of Europe.
The story as I know it was he attempted to save the platoon from machine gun fire from a ridge. He charged up the hill took out one machine gun nest waved up the platoon as he charged at the second machine gun taking out this also with two gernades. When the platoon took and secured the ridge, a sniper and mortar shell hit and mangeled Pvt. 1st Class Cornelius Conway who died in route to rear hospital support.
Pvt. 1st Class Cornelius Conway, my Great Uncle I shall not forget and ask the U.S. Government to please forward his medals for we, “my family” never received them.
Thank you, and “God Bless America.”
4. October 15, 2010
Mr. Vujnovich, you are a true American hero. Thank you for your service.
5. October 15, 2010
Thank you very much for this lovely tribute to George Vujnovich. I know him personally and am not only impressed with his military career, but with him as a man. He was and is a man of true character – a gentle, humble soul, who did great and important things in his life. What pleases me most is that this well-deserved award is being bestowed upon him while he is still living.
— Aleksandra Rebic
6. October 15, 2010
Wow, what a story! Someone contact Steven Spielberg!
7. October 15, 2010
I’ve known the story and the men of OPERATION HALYARD from the time I was seven years old, as my father published the day to day diary of Capt. Nick Lalich in his AMERICAN SERB LIFE magazine of 1948 in several monthly installments. Each man, like George, was a real, live, TRUE American hero. Unfortunately, VERY FEW other Americans were aware of this unbelievable rescue, but the U.S. rescued airmen were, and year after year, sought to have this story told, all to no avail.
Thankfully, George is finally being recognized by our government. It’s an honor way past due, but most certainly welcomed.
Last year, George Vujnovich was placed in the FIRST HALL OF FAME for the Ambridge Area High School in Ambridge, PA, from whence he graduated for his Leadership & Heroism.
Last month, +Capt. George Musulin was inducted into the Cambria County War Memorial Museum in Johnstown, PA, his Hometown, along with +U.S. Congressman John Murtha.
On Dec. 7, 2008, Arthur (Jibby) Jibilian -the radioman of the mission, was recognized by 300 members of the Ohio National Guard, two U.S. Congresspeople, and 2 Ohio State Senators.
For all these years, the 513 U.S. rescued airmen tried to defend the name of General Draza Mihailovich and thank him and the Serbian Chetniks and their families for saving their lives, letting them become husbands, fathers and grandfathers. Slowly the truth is coming forward.
Congratulations to a TRUE gentleman, George Vujnovich, tireless defender of the truth. I was present at an important meeting in Washington, DC that George also attended. He had taken a taxi from his home in NYC to the train station, despite being in a wheelchair, despite being over 90 years old! Once he arrived in Washington, he had to again take a taxi to the Rayburn Building, where he wheeled himself in his wheelchair into the room. Everyone cheered……
The warmest, heartiest CONGRATULATIONS once again to one of the finest, bravest, and most courageous man I’ve had the pleasure of knowing all these many years!
— Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic
8. October 15, 2010
God Bless you “Cika” George!
Your valiant duty will go unforgotten. And thank you for your honourable mention of Draza Mihailovich…a true, honourable soldier and leader who not only saved many US lives, but Serbians and Russians as well!
9. October 16, 2010
Serbian people have considered themselves staunch allies and friends of America for a long, long time. Vujnovic mentions how Serbian people risked their lives and shared their last piece of bread with the American pilots. Thank you, America, for bombing us 1999 for 78 days days and for saturating the Serbian soil with depleted uranium which has caused and will continue to cause extraordinarily high cancer rates throughout Serbia. And thank you for systematically and relentlessly vilifying the Serbs for the past 20 years and for continuing to do so until this day. For you, America, Serbs are only a genocidal people, rapists, mass murderers and war criminals.
10. October 16, 2010
Dear Mr. Vujnovich,
Congratulations on your excellent achievement and this recent recognition. The Serbian community is very proud of you and the other honorable soldiers like you. God bless the late Mrs. Vujnovich for her selfless contributions, as well.
With respect and admiration,
11. October 16, 2010
Congrats to Corey Kilgannon for writing this riveting article on a true hero – George Vujnovich.
Years ago, I had the pleasure and honour of meeting one of those airmen rescued by Lt. Vujnovich, Major Richard Felman.
Major Felman never forgot the great debt owed to the Serbian Chetnik guerillas and General Mihailovich who worked selflessly with the OSS operators to mount what was probably the most daring rescue in World War II.
Maj. Felman also returned with many American airmen to the small Serbian village of Pranjani where the makeshift airfield was built, to commemorate and remember the Serbs who sheltered and defended them from the Nazis.
Maj. Felman, who passed away in 1999, wrote in his memoirs that on that trip, he walked to a small chapel near the field of rescue and prayed.
“It was their chapel. We both knelt in humble prayer and gave thanks. Though separated by language, country and religion, the brotherhood of man was never more in meaningful evidence.”
Tomorrow’s service to honour Lt. Vujnovich with the Bronze Star also honours and remembers the noble sacrifice of the Serbian Chetniks, Mihailovich and the other American OSS operators who risked their lives for more than 500 of their brothers in arms.
May God bless them all.
12. October 18, 2010
Why did it take so long?
Maybe because he was a supporter of chetniks, serbian nationalist, who where nazi collaborators responsible for atrocities committed against Yugoslav people, including serbs, true heroes, such as Dr. Mladen Stojanovic.
They did help to save our boys at that time, but they also killed, or traded with nazis, many other allies who parachuted over Yugoslavia, especially if they were unable to get some sort of a ransom for them.
13. October 18, 2010
What a wonderful story. Although long overdue, congratulations on your Bronze Star, Mr. Vujnovich. It’s well-deserved for all you have done.
14. October 19, 2010
Not a single word about terrible atrocities Mihailovich chetniks did in WW2. Internet is full of images depicting Mihalovich chetniks having fun with nazi’s, hunting partisans – real liberators from nazi’s.
This story is misleading.
15. October 20, 2010
It’s wonderful that Vujnovich was finally honored for his contribution to the American cause in WWII. Veterans’ numbers are slowly dwindling and time is running out to pay them tribute. I was reading the other day that there are groups of WWII veterans who wish to visit memorial sites, like the one in DC, but are kept from fulfilling their desire due to issues of funding. In other words, they have no money to realize their final wish. This was appalling to me, so I did some research on the subject and I found some really wonderful foundations out there trying to assist our veterans. One of the groups I discovered was called the Greatest Generations Foundation. They actively seek funding to send WWII veterans overseas to international memorials and I think they’re building a special institute to promote the preservation of WWII memories. Honoring our veterans should be a priority in this day and age and I commend New York City and all the groups out there trying to improve our veteran’s last days.
16. October 21, 2010
For anyone who would like to sort through the “Mihailovich” and “Chetniks” controversy as evidenced in the above comments, there’s two websites I would like to recommend: One is http://www.generalmihailovich.com and the other is http://www.babamim.com. Hopefully, you will find these helpful.
— Aleksandra Rebic
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org