Milo John Radulovich (October 28, 1926 – November 19, 2007) was an American citizen (born in Detroit) of Serbian ethnicity and former reserve Air Force lieutenant who was accused of being a security risk for maintaining a "close and continuing relationship" with his father and sister, in violation of Air Force regulation 35-62. His case was publicized nationally by Edward Murrow on October 20, 1953, on Murrow's program, See It Now:
|“||That [Air Force regulation 35-62] is a regulation which states that 'A man may be regarded as a security risk if he has close and continuing associations with communists or people believed to have communist sympathies.' Lieutenant Radulovich was asked to resign in August. He declined. A board was called and heard his case. At the end, it was recommended that he be severed from the Air Force. Although it was also stated that there was no question whatever as to the Lieutenant's loyalty.—Edward R. Murrow||”|
In 1953, Radulovich, a lieutenant in the Air Force reserve in Dexter, Michigan, was discharged because his father and sister were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers. It is believed that the basis of this determination was that his father, a Yugoslav immigrant, kept up on events in his homeland by subscribing to a number of Serbian newspapers. One of these papers was associated with the American Slav Congress, which had been labeled as Communist by the American government. His sister, Margaret Radulovich was a supporter of liberal causes, but she maintained that she was "apolitical". Whatever evidence there was against the Lieutenant or his family was contained in a manila envelope not shared with Radulovich or his attorney.
Radulovich demanded an Air Force hearing, aided by retired lawyer Charles Lockwood, who worked pro bono. Lockwood contacted an editor at the Detroit News, which ran a story about the situation. Among the readers was a former classmate of Radulovich, attorney Kenneth Sanborn (who went on to become a State Representative and Macomb County Circuit Judge in Michigan). He also was an Air Force lieutenant and also accepted no fee for his services. Radulovich was granted a hearing at which the sealed manila envelope was brandished and waved by the attorney for the USAF. However, the envelope was never opened and neither the board members nor anyone in the Radulovich camp were permitted to see its contents.
The Air Force stripped Radulovich of his commission, which came to the attention of Edward R. Murrow, host of the popular See It Now program on CBS. For months, Murrow, producer Fred Friendly and the See It Now team had debated on how to address McCarthy's witch hunt, until the Radulovich affair. A crew (Reporter/Assistant producer Joseph Wershba and cameraman Charlie Mack) went to Dexter and filmed passionate interviews with the lieutenant and his family. Attorney Lockwood also appeared, and declared on national television "In my 32 years of practicing... I have never witnessed such a farce and travesty upon justice as this thing has developed into."
The program aired on October 20, 1953. The image of this man and his immigrant father led many viewers to question the impact of McCarthyist tactics for purging the government and military of potential security risks. Radulovich was reinstated one month after the broadcast.
Radulovich moved to California where, despite his reinstatement, he had trouble getting work. He was hired by a private weather forecasting business, later went to work for the National Weather Service, and was chief meteorologist at Capital City Airport in Lansing, Michigan when he retired in 1994.
Michael Ranville wrote a book about Radulovich's trial, To Strike at a King: The Turning Point in the McCarthy Witch-Hunt. The CBS broadcast and background to its airing was dramatized in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck. Mr. Radulovich himself is interviewed in the "special features" segment on the Good Night, and Good Luck DVD released on March 14, 2006.
After experiencing two strokes and other more minor medical conditions, Radulovich died November 19, 2007. In 2008, The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan approved a posthumous Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in physics for Radulovich.
- Milo Radulovich as interviewed in The McCarthy Years (DVD) replaying clip form See It Now first broadcast on CBS on October 20, 2008
- Muhlmann, Geraldine. A political history of journalism, Page 97. Cambridge: Polity, 2007
- The McCarthy Years (DVD), replaying clip form See it Now first broadcast on CBS on October 20, 1953
- See also
- Michigan Legal Milestones.
- The Sacramento News and Review feature, October 20, 2005
- How journalism saved one man, and the rest of us, from McCarthyism
- Air Force Lt. Radulovich, championed by Edward Murrow, dies at 81