Saturday, November 10, 2007

US Ambassador Honors Heroic WWII Serbs


Photo of plaque dedicated at 2004 visit of WWII surviving American airmen rescued by the Halyard Mission.

November 8 , 2007
Embassy of the United States of America
Belgrade
Ambassador Munter Honors Serbian Families in Pranjani

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter will visit Pranjani on November 9, 2007 to honor Serbian families who saved the lives of hundreds of U.S. airmen shot down by Nazi forces during World War II. The Ambassador will present an official proclamation from the Governor of the State of Ohio, thanking the people of Pranjani on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the Halyard rescue mission. The State of Ohio is proud to be an active partner with Serbia in the State Partnership Program.

The Ambassador has chosen this day to visit Pranjani in honor of the American holiday of Veteran’s Day, which is celebrated on November 11 to commemorate those who have served in the American armed forces.

Operation Halyard: During the summer of 1944 approximately 1, 000 U.S. airmen bailed out over German-occupied Yugoslavia, a significant number of them landing in Serbia. In a series of daylight and night airlifts, a team made up of troops of General Mihailovic's Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) evacuated over 300 U.S. airmen from the village of Pranjani. The rescue of the U.S. airmen involved small unit actions against German troops and put at risk entire Serb villages that sheltered the U.S. personnel. U.S. airmen bear testimony to the significant sacrifices of local Serb villagers who fed, cared for and protected them, in some cases up to six months. The Halyard Mission is considered one of the greatest rescues of American airmen from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare.

For more information, please contact the Embassy Press Section at trickovicb@state.gov or sokovicm@state.gov.

SerbBlog: And for the fascinating and accurate account of the WWII Halyard Mission, where Serbs gave their lives to protect and rescue over 500 American Airmen who had been shot down behind German lines, read "The Forgotten 500" by Gregory A. Freeman.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just read "The Forgotten 500". Hollywood should make a movie out of this heroic story!

SerbBlog.com said...

Actually, the grapevine says that they are making a movie about it. It begins filming this year. No other confirmed details, as yet. It's about time!