Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An American military marker honors the Serbian Chetniks who saved the "Forgotten 500" of WWII - Sgt. Curtis Diles of the USAF leaves a living legacy at his gravesite.

Aleksandra's Note: Many of you who visit this website honoring General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik forces have become familiar with the wonderful family of Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles of the United States Air Force, a WWII veteran who died this year in September shortly after celebrating his 89th birthday. While living, Sgt. Diles dedicated his entire postwar life to honoring the legacy of the Halyard Mission rescue operation of WWII. In July 2014, his daughter Diane Hammond issued a public invitation to Serbians to send birthday wishes to Sgt. Diles for a very special tribute album of memories she was creating for her father. The response was overwhelming. Over 300 messages of love and gratitude and best wishes came in from Serbs all over the world. She was able to present this tribute book of love to her father in July 2014 and he was so gratified. I thank God that he lived long enough to see just how much we Serbians appreciated his love for us.

Below is a brief home video taken of Sgt. Diles and his daughter Diane, one of his four children, in which he describes who he feels are the "real heroes." The video was taken on the occasion of his 89th birthday in July after he received his gift of messages from the Serbians.

This week, the Diles family received the military marker that will be placed at his gravesite in Ohio, and it reflects the heart of a man who never forgot what the Serbians and the Chetnik forces of General Draza Mihailovich did for him in the scary days of 1944 when he was shot down by the Germans while flying over Serbia and subsequently rescued by the Serb patriots and returned home to America. After the rescue and successful evacuation from Nazi-occupied Serbia,  he would live a long and rich life in America, marrying the love of his life, Inez, and enjoying a life-long marriage that lasted until death did them part and produced 26 beautiful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Though they are no longer with us, such men never die. They remain with us always and their legacy will continue to teach the future generations about the grand and glorious truths of history.

Aleksandra Rebic
December 17, 2014


The military marker that will be permanently placed at the gravesite of Sgt. Curtis "Bud" Diles, USAF. The marker reads:
"Curtis Diles, Jr. S. Sgt US Army Air Forces - World War II - Purple Heart-
July 15, 1925 - Sep 10, 2014 -
One of the Forgotten 500 rescued by Serbian Chetniks."
Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond
Front of Diles gravestone. The engraving reads: "One Life - One Love"
Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond.
Back of Diles gravestone.
Photo courtesy of Diane Diles Hammond.

Video of Sgt. Curtis Diles and daughter Diane Diles Hammond in July 2014 posted by: "chuck Hammond"


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