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|Part of World War II|
Operation Halyard, also known as the Halyard Mission, was an Allied airlift operation behind enemy lines during World War II. 513 Allied airmen who had been downed over the German-occupied Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia and parts of the Nazi collaborator Independent State of Croatia were rescued by Serbian Chetniks, and airlifted out by the United States Fifteenth Air Force. According to statistics compiled by the US Air Force Air Crew Rescue Unit, between 1 January and 15 October 1944, a total of 1,152 American airmen were airlifted from Yugoslavia, 795 with the assistance of the Yugoslav Partisans and 356 with the help of the Serbian Chetniks.
- 1 Background
- 2 Rescue of American airmen
- 3 Airstrip construction
- 4 Ground combat
- 5 Departure of Chetnik political mission
- 6 Radio link
- 7 Operation Halyard
- 8 The number of rescued airmen
- 9 Members of the Halyard Mission
- 10 Mission
- 11 Commemoration
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Targets for United States Bombing
After the successful Allied invasion of Sicily, Italy capitulated in the autumn of 1943, the Allies occupied the whole of southern Italy. In late 1943, the 15th Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces, under the command of General Nathan Twining, was transferred from Tunisia to an airfield near Foggia. This airfield became the largest American air base in southern Italy, and was used for attacking targets in southern and Eastern Europe. The 15th Army Air Force also used the nearby airfields of Bari, Brindisi, Lecce and Manduria. The 15th Air Force bombed targets in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, the Independent State of Croatia, the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Some of the most important targets were sources of petroleum and petroleum refineries in Romania. . These installations were the driving force of Hitler's war machine and the main targets in the Oil Campaign of World War II. The Ostro Romano refinery in Ploiești, provided one quarter of the Third Reich's fuel needs and was one of the priority targets. All flights targeting the oil-fields and refineries in Romania, near the town of Ploiești north of Bucharest, passed over the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia.
From October 1943 to October 1944, the 15th Air Force conducted about 20,000 sorties with fighters and bombers. During this time it lost almost fifty percent of its aircraft but only about ten percent of its personnel. To carry out combat missions, the Fifteenth Air Force had at its disposal 500 heavy bombers (B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators) and about 100 fighter escorts.
The flight path from southern Italy to the targets in Romania was repeated every day from the spring of 1944, (over the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria to Romania). Two-thirds of these flights were carried out against objectives in Bulgaria, Romania and the German-occupied zone of Serbia. The Germans had at their disposal a limited number of fighter aircraft whose most frequent targets were Allied planes that had already been damaged by Axis anti-aircraft defenses in Bulgaria and Romania, planes that because of such damage had to fly slowly at low altitude.
Rescue of American airmen
In the spring of 1944, the USAAF intensified the bombing of targets in Bulgaria and Romania, with the result that American aviators were being forced to bail out of damaged aircraft over Serbia in increasing numbers. Some crews fell into the hands of Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian or German troops and were sent to prisoner of war camps. The first American airmen bailed out over the German-occupied zone of Serbia on 24 January 1944. That day two Liberators were shot down, one of them over Zlatibor, the other over Toplica. One bomber, damaged by German fighter planes, made an emergency landing between Pločnik and Beloljin. A crew of nine were rescued by the Chetnik Toplica Corps under the command of Major Milan Stojanović. The crew were placed in the home of local Chetnik leaders in the village of Velika Draguša. Another bomber was shot down that same day, the crew bailing out over Mount Zlatibor. They were found by members of the Zlatibor Corps. A radiogram message on the rescue of one of the crews was sent by Stojanović to General Draža Mihailović on 25 January. Major Stojanović wrote that the previous day about 100 bombers flew from the direction of Niš towards Kosovska Mitrovica, and that they were followed by nine German fighter aircraft. After a half-hour battle, one plane caught fire and was forced to land between the villages of Pločnik and Beloljin, in the Toplica River valley.
By early July 1944, over one hundred airmen were in areas under Chetnik control.
Operation Halyard lasted from July to December 1944. The German and Bulgarian occupation forces in Serbia, that had spotted the damaged aircraft and open parachutes pursued the airmen. However, Chetniks under the control of led by Mihailović had already reached them. The Germans offered cash to the local Serbian population for the capture of Allied airmen. The peasants accepted the airmen into their homes and fed them for months without Allied help. Hospitals for sick and wounded airmen were established in Pranjani village.
To some, it may be difficult to understand how the Chetniks could rescue American Airmen from the Germans, as they did in at least one instance, and, at the same time, collaborate with these very same forces. The answer rests in the Chetniks' perception of who was really the enemy. The Chetniks considered the Partisan communist movement a far greater threat to Yugoslavia than the German occupation forces. Renewed Allied support was Mihailovic's only means of reversing the Partisan takeover. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by turning American airmen over to the Germans. In fact, evacuated Americans were a significant source of first rate public relations on behalf of the Chetniks. In late 1944, only Americans displayed any outward concern for what might happen to the Chetniks when the Partisans gained control. To do anything except rescue and protect American airmen would mean the loss of their last source of support and salvation.— Thomas T. Matteson Commander, in An Analysis of the Circumstances Surrounding the Rescue and Evacuation of Allied Aircrewmen from Yugoslavia, 1941-1945
According to statistics compiled by the US Air Force Air Crew Rescue Unit, between 1 January and 15 October 1944, a total of 1,152 American airmen were airlifted from Yugoslavia, 795 with the assistance of the Yugoslav Partisans and 356 with the help of the Serbian Chetniks. According to Dr. Marko Hoare, the Chetnik leader
"[Draza] Mihailovic continued his opportunistic game of seeking to collaborate with both Axis and Allies. In this context, he assisted the US airborne evacuation of about two-hundred and fifty airmen from Chetnik territory in August 1944. This simply meant that the Chetniks allowed the Americans to use their airstrip for the evacuation – scarcely a particularly heroic action – while at the same time, Mihailovic sent a delegation along with the departing US planes in a fruitless effort to win back Allied support. Yet it was for the rescue of US airmen that Mihailovic would posthumously receive the Legion of Merit. On other occasions, Mihailovic’s Chetniks rescued German airmen and handed them over safely to the German armed forces – were he so inclined, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could follow Washington’s example and decorate Mihailovic for saving the lives of his country’s servicemen."
In early March 1944, 25 rescued pilots were brought to Pranjani. Captain Zvonimir Vučković of the First Ravna Gora Corps was responsible for their security. Mihailović ordered Vučković to build an improvised airstrip from which the aviators could be evacuated. Vučković selected a field near Pranjani. Construction of the airstrip was managed by Captain Nikola Verkić. Vučković stated:
|“||More than a hundred diggers and as many ox-drawn carts were used to build. Because of the greater secrecy we worked mostly at night. The digging, leveling and cutting-down of trees created blisters on hands. In late March I sent a report to General Mihailović that the jobs around the airport were completed.||”|
The British authorities felt the airstrip was too short. Eleven airmen, including John P. Devlin, wanted to go on foot to the Adriatic Sea. Mihailovic provided supporting units and they started out on 19 April, after a ceremonial send-off in Pranjani. The remaining aviators were unable to walk due to injuries and illness. A few dozen more airmen reached Pranjani in late April. Vučković divided them into two groups. The first, from the Takovo district, was guided by Sergeant Bora Komračević. The second group from the Dragačevo district was guided by Mihailo Paunović who did not speak English.
Due to the collection of rescued aviators near Pranjani, fighting occurred between the Chetniks and German and Bulgarian occupation forces. On 14 March 1944 the Germans moved into the village of Oplanić, near Gruža, looking for the crew of a downed Liberator. Captain Nikola Petković's 4th battalion of the Gruža brigade opened fire on the German armored vehicles to lure them away from the portion of the village where the aviators were hiding. Three Chetniks were killed and two more captured during the firefight. After the war the communists destroyed their gravestones.[need quotation to verify]
The 1st Dragačevo Brigade of the First Ravna Gora Corps engaged German forces attempting to capture an American aircrew bailing out over the Čačak - Užice road. Vučković reported the deaths of a few Chetnik soldiers in the fight. The fallen Chetniks were buried in a cemetery in Dljin village.[dead link]
American pilot William Hill was captured in April 1944 by units from the German-led 392nd (Croatian) Infantry Division. Chetnik scouts observed Hill in the ruins of the village of Gračac in the Lika region of the NDH. He was rescued by Chetniks of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, of the Lika Corps of the Dinara Division. The Chetniks approached the enemy post in darkness and released the pilot during the confusion caused by throwing a grenade into the camp kitchen. A German patrol failed to find the pilot in Cvetković. Hill dressed in the Serbian national costume and stayed with elements of the Dinara Division until he was transferred to an American base in Italy.[verification needed]
Lieutenant Colonel Todor Gogić, commander of the Morava group Corps sent a radiogram to Mihailović on 17 April:
|“||On 15 April at about 11 hours, due to engine failure, a B-24 Liberator with a crew of 10 made an emergency landing near the village of Drenovac south of Paraćin. We managed to rescue nine crew members from the Germans and Bulgarians, but one airmen was captured. The crew is from the 861st Squadron, 460th bomber group.||”|
Departure of Chetnik political mission
The British SOE military mission led by Brigadier Charles Armstrong was ready for evacuation by late May 1944. Following agreement with their Bari headquarters, three Douglas Dakota cargo aircraft (C-47s) landed at Pranjani on 29 May. In addition to the SOE mission, forty rescued Allied airmen were also evacuated. Mihailović had decided to send a political mission to London using the same evacuation. The mission was led by the President of the Socialist Party of Yugoslavia, Živko Topalović. Topalović had been a member of the Labour and Socialist International party before the war. He intended to meet with British political leaders to influence them to change Winston Churchill's decision to abandon Mihailović and support Josip Broz Tito. Topalović's mission was a failure, the British did not allow him to leave southern Italy.
The Democratic Yugoslavia news agency bulletin reports
Reports about the rescued airmen were sent to the 'Democratic Yugoslavia' news agency, which belonged to the High Command of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland of General Draža Mihailović. This agency had an office and radio station in New York City. A report was received by the Yugoslav embassy in Washington, D.C. Staff headed by the ambassador Konstantin Fotić, forwarded the report to the US Army, so that the families of airmen, especially their mothers, who were in some cases previously notified that their offspring were "missing in action". The reports almost always contained the names and addresses of the airmen.
Mirjana Vujnovich was working at the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington when she learned of reports that Serbian guerrillas were sheltering Allied airmen. She passed the information on to her husband, George Vujnovich, who put together a rescue plan. Lieutenant George Vujnovich, worked for the OSS in Brindisi, in southern Italy. He received a letter from his wife which mentioned the American airmen's plight: "there are hundreds... can you do something for them? It would be great if [they] are evacuated". It was the turning point which led to the planning and execution of Operation Halyard.
In late of May 1944, for the first time since 1941, there were no Allied liaison officers with the Chetniks. General Mihailovich's Headquarters had attempted to establish direct radio contact with the Allied Mediterranean Command, but failed. In late July 1944, one of the rescued airmen, Major Brooks (the radio specialist), was able to establish a connection with his own base in Italy. Major Brooks aircraft had made an emergency landing near Ljig. One detachment of Rudnik Corps, led by Commander Captain Dragomir Topalaović, engaged the Germans in combat to keep them away from the aircraft while the Americans and the Chetniks stripped equipment from it: including the radio apparatus. With this as his radio station, Major Brooks made contact with the Allies and was able to confirm the accuracy of OSS Lieutenant George Vujnovich's information.
Airlift from Pranjani to Bari
At exactly midnight on 2 August 1944, an American plane flew over Pranjani, near Mihailovic's headquarters in central Serbia, where a fire burned as a previous agreed signal. Three parachutes opened just behind and below the aircraft, they supported OSS intelligence agents Captain George Musulin, Lieutenant Michael Rayachich and Sergeant Arthur Jiblian and their radio equipment; they were there to set the operation up. Captain Musulin's first task was to request from General Mihailović that all the rescued airmen be gathered in the area for the forthcoming evacuation. Musulin was assured that the Chetniks had done everything possible for the airmen, including medical care. They were to have armed escorts to the evacuation point. In the meantime, to allow for a possible German attack on Pranjani, General Mihailović was instructed to build a reserve airstrip in the Dragačevo district.
General Mihailović decided to send additional representatives to Italy to assist Topalović with his mission. They were; the president of the Independent Democratic Party Adam Pribićević, Supreme Court judge Dr. Vladimir Belajčić, Captain Zvonimir Vučković, and Ivan Kovač, a Slovene who taught King Peter II before the war.
Near Pranjani, Chetnik sentries detained a civilian identified as Ivan Popov[disambiguation needed]; one sentinel had his suspicions aroused because he thought he had seen Popov leave a Gestapo building in Belgrade in German officers' uniform. Captain Vučković ordered the man to be executed. However, the civilian was reprieved at the last minute when he showed Vučković a letter signed by General Mihailović. The incident was reported to the General, who ordered that he be sent to his Headquarters. Popov was a double agent for the Yugoslavs and British in the Gestapo during the war. He was also Dušan Popov's brother. Popov (British codenamed Dreadnought, Yugoslav (Chetnik) codenamed Eskulap), was evacuated along with American airmen to Italy. The young aviators had no idea that one of the passengers was a former Gestapo officer.
The largest evacuation from Pranjani began at 3 am on 10 August. Four C-47s flew in; they were followed by a further six. Other sources give twelve or fourteen US transport aircraft used. These aircraft may have been protected by 50 (P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning) fighters of the Fifteenth Air Force, but one source indicates they were protected by six Royal Air Force Spitfires. Ground security was provided by the Morava group under Captain Aleksandar Milošević. A total of 237 men were evacuated.
The operation was repeated on 12, 15 and 18 August; a further 210 airmen were evacuated. A new OSS unit, under Operation Ranger, was led by Colonel Robert H. McDowell. Musulin flew out of Pranjani on 29 August, in the same aircraft that McDowell had arrived in. Musulin's replacement was Captain Nick Lalich, who flew to Pranjani on August 10.
Evacuation from Koceljeva
On the eve of the invasion by the Red Army in September 1944, the supreme command of the Yugoslav Army, along with the Halyard and Ranger missions, left Pranjani and transferred to Mačva. Another improvised airstrip at Koceljeva had been built. The runway was 400 meters long, it was constructed between 15 and 17 September. 20 airmen, a Frenchman, a few Italians and two US medical officers were evacuated on 17 September.
Evacuation from Boljanić
A third improvised airstrip was built between October 22 and November 1 at Boljanić near Doboj in eastern Bosnia. It was used to evacuate the Supreme Command of the Yugoslav Army and 15 U.S. airmen on September 27. Two C-47s, covered by seven fighters, landed. The evacuees, including Captain John Milodragovich and Lieutenant Michael Rajachich (both OSS), were taken to Bari. McDowell tried to persuade General Mihailović to accompany him to Italy, but he refused, saying:
|“||I prefer to lose my life in this country, than to live as an outcast in a strange [one]. I'll stay with my soldiers and the people to the end, in order to fulfill the duty to the King that he left me. For King and Fatherland - Freedom or Death!||”|
These aviators had jumped from two damaged aircraft in June 1944 into Milino Selo, in eastern Bosnia. They were accommodated in the houses of Luke Panić and several prominent farmers in the village Boljanić, and rescued by the Chetniks Ozren Corps Major Cvijetin Todić.
Two C-47s, one piloted by Colonel George Kraigher, (a pioneer in the development of Pan American World Airways ), the other by First Lieutenant John L. Dunn, left Italy at 1100 hours on December 27, 1944. Escorted by 16 P-38s, they reached the emergency landing field at Boljanić at 1255. Spotting a hole in the overcast, Kraigher led the way in, to land on a 1,700-foot strip that was frozen just enough to support the weight of a C-47. The transports were met by Captain Lalich. The aircraft were quickly loaded with 20 American airmen, one U.S. citizen, two Yugoslavian (Chetnik) officers, four French and four Italian army personnel and two remaining Halyard team members, Lalich and his radio operator Arthur Jibilian. Lalich tried once more to persuade General Mihailović to accompany them to Italy. Mihailović remained consistent in his intention to stay with his soldiers. The aircraft took off at 1315 hrs
The number of rescued airmen
- 41 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on May 28 (40 U.S. airmen and 1 OSS operative)
- 48 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 9 (18 U.S. airmen)
- 261 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 10 (240 U.S. airmen, 15 European military and 6 chetniks)
- 25 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 14 (22 U.S. airmen and 3 European military)
- 40 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 16 (33 U.S. airmen, 1 civilian, 4 European military, 2 British)
- 15 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 26 (15 U.S. airmen)
- 69 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on August 27 (44 U.S. airmen, 1 civilian, 21 European military, 2 British, 1 OSS operative)
- 24 men who were evacuated from Pranjani on September 5 (18 U.S. airmen, 2 civilians, 4 European military)
- 30 men who were evacuated from Koceljevo on September 17 (19 U.S. airmen, 6 European military, 5 OSS operatives)
- 13 men who were evacuated from Boljanic on November 1 (9 U.S. airmen and 4 OSS operatives)
- 38 men who were evacuated from Boljanic on December 27 (25 U.S. airmen, 1 civilian, 8 European military, 2 chetniks and 2 OSS operatives)
A total of 513 U.S. airmen, 5 civilians, 61 European military, 4 British, 8 chetniks and 13 OSS operatives were airlifted during Operation Halyard.
Members of the Halyard Mission
- Lieutenant Michael "Mike" Rayachich (member of mission from August 2 to 29, then a member of the Renger mission to November 1, 1944) - Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster.
- Radio operator Sergeant Arthur Jibilian (member of mission from August 2 to December 27, 1944) - Silver Star
- Captain Nick Lalich (member of mission from August 10 to 28, Head of Mission from August 29 to December 27, 1944) - Legion of Merit.
- Captain and Doctor Jack Mitrani with two medical assistants (Captain Mitrani headed the medical team mission of Halyard from August 10 to September 17, 1944).
This operation took place between August and December 1944 from a crudely constructed forest airfield created by Serbian peasants in Pranjani. It is little known today, and largely unknown to most Americans. It is the subject of the 2007 book The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All For the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II, by author Gregory A. Freeman. In his book, he describes it as one of the greatest rescue stories ever told. It tells the story of how the airmen were downed in a country they knew nothing about, and how the Serbian villagers were willing to sacrifice their own lives to save the lives of the air crews.
The OSS planned an elaborate rescue involving C-47 cargo planes landing in enemy territory. It was an extremely risky operation, involving the planes not only entering enemy territory without being shot down themselves, but also landing, retrieving the downed airmen, then taking off and flying out of that same territory, again without being shot down themselves. The rescue was a complete success, but received little to no publicity. This was partly due to the timing, the world's attention being focused on the conflict in northern France.
Because of this operation, and due to the efforts of Major Richard Felman, United States President Harry S. Truman posthumously awarded General Mihailović the Legion of Merit for his contribution to the Allied victory during World War II. The award was presented to Mihailović's daughter Gordana Mihajlovic by the US State Department on May 9, 2005.
Initially, this high award and the story of the rescue was classified secret by the U.S. State Department so as not to offend the-then Communist government of Yugoslavia. Such a display of appreciation for the Chetniks would not have been welcome as the Western Allies, who had supported the Chetniks early in World War II, switched sides to Josip Broz Tito's Partisans for the latter part of the war.
Authority to erect a monument to General Draza Mihailovich was given in 1989 by the National Committee of American Airmen in Washington, District of Columbia, in recognition of the role he played in saving the lives of more than five hundred United States airmen in Yugoslavia during World War II.
On September 12, 2004, five years after the NATO armed conflict against Yugoslavia, four American veterans, Clare Musgrove, Arthur Jibilian, George Vujnovich and Robert Wilson, visited Pranjani for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. A bill introduced in the US House of Representatives by Bob Latta on July 31, 2009, requested that Jibilian be awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in Operation Halyard.
On Veterans' Day, 2007, the U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, visited Pranjani and presented the citizens of the area with a proclamation signed by the Governor of the State of Ohio expressing gratitude to the Serbian families that rescued hundreds of U.S. airmen whose aircraft had been shot down by Nazi forces in World War II.
On October 17, 2010, George Vujnovich was awarded the Bronze Star in a ceremony in New York City for his role in the operation. Vujnovich trained the volunteers who carried out the rescue, teaching them how to blend in with other Serbians, by mastering mundane tasks conforming to local custom, such as tying and tucking their shoelaces and pushing food onto their forks with their knives during meals.
The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, in cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic Initiative and the citizens of Pranjani, initiated a project to construct a library and youth center in Pranjani which will help the education of local children and enhance commemoration of the Halyard Mission. The project will mark a historical bond between the Serbian and American people and the state partnership between Serbia and the State of Ohio, which was established in 2006. The project will include an effort to educate both the Serbian and American public about the Halyard Mission, through photographic exhibitions, an internet presentation and the production of a documentary movie. The library-youth center project consists of the construction of a multipurpose facility. It will serve as a library and the center for multimedia education of young people and farmers from the Pranjani area. It will be equipped with Internet access and as a memorial center for the Halyard Mission which will include a permanent exhibition of photographs, objects and documents related to the evacuation mission of Allied airmen and the wartime alliance between the people of Serbia and the U.S. Part of the Center's exhibits will be given to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Base in Ohio where a special exhibition area will be opened about Serbia's role in the rescue of the airmen in World War II. Similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., one wall of the Pranjani center will include the names of all the Allied airmen that were rescued during the Halyard Mission and the Serbian families that hid and cared for them. The Library will be built immediately adjacent to the primary school and Pranjani church, which was the place used for ceremonies of friendship and cooperation by citizens of the area, the Ravna Gora movement (Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland), and the U.S. mission. Another segment will be built on Galovića field in Pranjani where the U.S. Air Force evacuated the airmen. This part of the project envisions the construction of a hangar and the placement of one C-47 aircraft inside it. In addition, multi-language plaques and maps will be erected that will allow history lovers and interested tourists to become acquainted with the Halyard Mission and the historic heritage of the area.
-  Military Archive, Chetnik archives, K-278, registration number 18/1
- Roberts (1973), p. 254
- Matteson, Thomas T. (1977). "An Analysis of the Circumstances Surrounding the Rescue and Evacuation of Allied Aircrewmen from Yugoslavia, 1941-1945". Air War College Research Report No 128 (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air War College). p. 40.
- Marko Hoare, "Adding Insult to Injury: Washington Decorates a Nazi Collaborator"
- Zvonimir Vučković, A Balkan Tragedy, Yugoslavia 1941-1946: Memoirs of a Guerrilla Fighter, New York.
- Ćirović, Slobodan: On the trail of crime, Nova Svetlost, Kragujevac, 2002.
-  Military Archive, Chetnik archives, K-277, registration number 4/1
- New York Times|http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/nyregion/george-vujnovich-96-led-rescue-of-airmen-in-world-war-ii.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries
-  Agent of the OSS in Brindisi, Newspaper "Politika", November 7, 2010
-  Pešić, Miodrag: Mission Halyard, Novi Pogledi, Kragujevac, 2004.
- Roberts(1973), p. 255
- Matteson p29
- Roberts (1973), p. 255
- Matteson 1977 p29
- Matteson give 263 in total including 225 American aircrew and 6 British aircrew, p29
- Special Forces Roll Of Honour
- Special Forces Roll Of Honour
- GEORGE KRAIGHER, PILOT IN TWO WARS, by Thomas W. Ennis (The New York Times); Obituary, September 25, 1984
- Philip D. Hart "Mission to Mihailovich: The Halyard and Ranger Mission - based on the photos, diaries and research of O.S.S. captain Nick Lalich" Serb World USA, November/December 1999.
- George "Guv" Musulin
- Goldstein, Richard (April 29, 2012). "George Vujnovich is Dead at 96; Led War Rescue". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- Michael "Mike" Rayachich
- Arthur Jibilian
- Nick A. Lalich
- Congressional Record on Draza Mihajlovic
- Bill Text 101st Congress (1989-1990) S.J.RES.18.IS
- WWII Veterans Delegation Visit Serbia
- "Fremont resident may receive Medal of Honor".[dead link]
- 66 Years Later, a Bronze Star, New York Times, City Room, October 14, 2010
- 95-year-old NYC man gets medal for WWII rescue
- Philip D. Hart "Mission to Mihailovich: The Halyard and Ranger Mission - based on the photos, diaries and research of OSS Captain Nick Lalich" Serb World USA, November/December 1999.
- Freeman, Gregory A. The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All For the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II NAL Hardcover 2007, ISBN 0-451-22212-1
- Karchmar, Lucien. Draža Mihailović and the Rise of the Četnik Movement, 1941-1942. New York: Garland Pub., 1987.
- Lees, Michael. The Rape of Serbia: The British Role in Tito's Grab for Power, 1943-1944. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991.
- Martin, David. Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailović. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1946.
- Martin, David. Patriot or Traitor: The Case of General Mihailović: Proceedings and Report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Committee for a Fair Trial for Draja Mihailović. Hoover Archival Documentaries. Hoover Institution Publication, volume 191. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 1978.
- Martin, David. The Web of Disinformation: Churchill's Yugoslav Blunder. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.
- Roberts, Walter R. (1973). Tito, Mihailović and the Allies 1941-1945. Rutgers University Press.
- Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). War and revolution in Yugoslavia 1941-1945, Volume I: The Chetniks. San Francisco: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0857-6.
- Trew, Simon. Britain, Mihailović, and the Chetniks, 1941–42. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press in association with King's College, London, 1998.
- Halyard Mission Documentary Film Trailer
- Galovića field Airport in Pranjani at Panoramio
- Rescue Behind Enemy Lines by Kevin Morrow, World War II Magazine, March 20, 2008
- U.S. Marines at the Halyard Mission memorial at USMC by Army Sgt. Sean Mathis, Headquarters Marine Corps, February 9, 2009
- Trying to right a wrong WWII airmen honored for role in rescue operation by Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 31, 2009
- Canton man a big part of greatest untold story of WWII by Jay Turner Citizen Staff (Canton Citizen), November 11, 2010
- The Great Escape by Phil Scott; Air & Space Magazine, January 1, 2011
- Great Rescues of WORLD WAR II by Thomas J. Craughwell
- Bronze Star Awarded to Unsung WWII Hero CBS NEWS, October 17, 2010
-  A Luftwaffe gun camera records an attack on a B-17 and B-24
-  The original film from World War II where the see of Chetniks Timok Corps under the command of Major Ljuba Jovanović. This unit rescued 25 American airmen in June and July 1944, in Eastern Serbia. The aviators were then evacuated to Italy