Thursday, March 08, 2018

Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian of the Halyard Mission finally goes to Congress! Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to the O.S.S. on March 21, 2018! / Help fund the family to make the historic trip to Washington, D.C.!

Halyard Mission O.S.S. Radioman - Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian

March 7, 2018

"We have just received word tonight that on March 21, 2018,  ART "JIBBY" JIBILIAN, and the other members of the OSS who participated in  the rescue of over 513 downed airmen behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia in WW II, will be FINALLY recognized by Congress and receive the Congressional Gold Medal!  His widow, Jo Jibilian, and daughter, Debi, are planning on attending this momentous occasion in Washington D.C.  (If Jo's health permits.)  We will be invited by Congress, but Congressman Bob Latta, who has been a staunch supporter of Dad's nomination for the Congressional Medal of Honor (which has been stalled in Congress for years), informed Dad's beloved friend Brian McMahon just Wednesday, March 7, 2018, and I am sharing everything that I know with you so far tonight!  I promise to update you as things develop and we receive additional information!

"We understand that the Congressional Medal of Honor is probably never going to be awarded to Dad, but for the Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to the OSS for what they did in WW II is well deserved!  We are so excited that this is happening and so grateful to Congressman Latta and Brian McMahon for their constant efforts to recognize "Jibby"  for his efforts.  

"Obviously, we do not have the funds to fly to Washington, D.C.; especially on such short notice.  I expect to change the initial goal up or down, depending upon how long we will need to be in D.C.   We will clearly need the funds by March 19th, so that tickets can be purchased and final plans made.  Of course, if Mom is unable to go, that will have an impact on the funds needed, and David (son) and Doug (grandson) have not yet been able to determine if they will be able to get away.  (Doug doesn't even know yet as of this writing, since he is at work!)

"There is so much I don't know right now; but I know that Jibby was respected and loved by so many people in this area, I feel confident that those same individuals will support us in this endeavor!  Again, as more details become available, I will update you on them as soon as I can!

"If you haven't read THE FORGOTTEN 500 by Greg Freeman lately, you might want to consider it.  There is also word that a movie is in the works, but we can't think of anyone in Hollywood that is short enough with a big enough nose to play Jibby!  As the radio man, he was a valued "character" (in more ways than one I suspect) of the three man team!  The FORGOTTEN 500 has romance, gun battles, air raids, hiding from the Germans, culminated in a daring daylight rescue by American planes some 20 miles from a German outpost, with the daring Red Tails providing distractions and cover to ensure the safety and success of the rescue.  NOT ONE PLANE WAS LOST AND NOT ONE AIRMAN WAS INJURED DURING THIS DARING RESCUE!  This is the largest, single rescue of individuals from behind enemy lines  in ANY war at ANY time!

"Yes, it's true, I'm a devoted fan of the OSS and the guys who rescued those 513 men!  One of Dad's proudest moments was the day a young man walked up to him and shook his hand, saying; "Thank you.   Without you, I wouldn't be here.  You rescued my grandfather".   Dad told that story often, and teared up every time he repeated it.  He spent the last year of his life trying to spread the word of the HUGE debt of gratitude that the USA owes to Yugoslavia.  If not for General Mahailovich and the people of Yugoslavia, those 513 airmen  would have been turned over to the Nazis or perished in the rough terrain of Yugoslavia!  The people of Yugoslavia rescued these men, housed them, took care of their wounds when necessary, fed them, often going hungry themselves, and most importantly, hid them from the Germans!  Entire villages were burned to the ground after refusing to turn over the Americans whose parachutes the Nazis had seen come down from the sky, but the Yugoslav people protected them, some at the cost of their own lives!

"General Mahailovich is finally being given the honor in his own country that he so richly deserves, but the US has yet to acknowledge our debt to Yugoslavia.  And I will continue to remind everyone I can each and every opportunity I can.  It's the least I can do for Jibby!

"This is what it will mean to us to go to Washington D.C. to participate in this ceremony!"

Debi Jibilian
March 7, 2018
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