Operation Halyard Serbian Chetnik rescue mission

Operation Halyard (or Halyard Mission), known in Serbian as Operation Air Bridge (Serbian: Операција Ваздушни мост), was an Allied airlift operation behind Axis lines during World War II. In July 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) drew up plans to send a team to Chetniks led by General Draža Mihailović in the German-occupied Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia for the purpose of evacuating Allied airmen shot down over that area.[2]This team, known as the Halyard team, was commanded by Lieutenant George Musulin, along with Master Sergeant Michael Rajačić, and Specialist Arthur Jibilian, the radio operator. The team was detailed to the United States Fifteenth Air Force and designated as the 1st Air Crew Rescue Unit. It was the largest rescue operation of American Airmen in history. According to historian Professor Jozo Tomašević, a report submitted to the OSS showed that 417 Allied airmen who had been downed over occupied Yugoslavia were rescued by Mihailović’s Chetniks,] and airlifted out by the Fifteenth Air Force. According to Lt. Cmdr. Richard M. Kelly (OSS) grand total of 432 U.S. and 80 Allied personnel were airlifted during the Halyard Mission.

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