Historic Rescue of World War 2 Soldiers
The Forgotten 500
Gregory A. Freeman
The communists have always been experts at lies, deceit, and disinformation. This heart-wrenching story of courage and loyalty betrayed and smeared is but one example of their treachery. It took way too long for the truth to surface in this case. The media, which have bought into these lies and disinformation for decades, is in full swing today as well. It is our responsibility to discern and ferret out the truth, and do so relentlessly, so that truth and innocent people are spared the evils of being sacrificed for political expediency. ~C.D.
Here is the astonishing never-before-told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II—when the OSS set out to recover more than five hundred airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. . . .
During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes—without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back without getting shot down themselves.
Suppressed for more than half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time ever. The Forgotten 500 is the gripping behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.
Disinformation and Betrayal
Serbian leader Draza Mihailovich was opposed to both Nazism and Communism and fiercely loyal to the Allies. However, Klugmann, one of several communist moles in Great Britain, spread disinformation and lies about him, and convinced Churchill and FDR that Mihailovich was in league with the Nazis. This kept Britain and American governments from supporting the Serbian locals of Yugoslavia, who were unwaveringly loyal to the Allies, who gave the American airmen the food off their own tables. The loving support of those villagers for those Americans is deeply moving.
Thanks to the help of those locals, 512 airmen were rescued, with no lives lost. Nevertheless, due to the influence of Klugmann and his minions, Mihailovich was subjected to a war crimes trial after the war, and convicted.
Americans were outraged when they learned of the government treachery. Churchill finally learned the truth, how he had been deceived, but it was too late. Only after the damage was done, was Eisenhower able to persuade Truman to give Mihailovich a posthumous Legion of Merit award. Even then, the award was given in secret, and kept secret for 20 years, because the State Department was “concerned” about ruffling relations with the communist dictator Josip Tito, who handed Yugoslavia over the communists after the war.
Reagan Tribute to Mihailovich, and Warning
Avowed anti-Communist Ronald Reagan, then governor of California and about to become president in the next year, paid respect to Mihailovich on September 8, 1979. He wrote to the California Citizent’s Committee to Commemorate General Draza Mihailovich:
I wish that it could be said that this great hero was the last victim of confused and senseless policies of Western governments i dealing with Communism. The fact is that others have suffered a fate similar to his by being embraced and then abandoned by Western government in the hope that such abandonment will purchase peace or security. Thus, the fate of General Mihailovich is not simply of historic significance—it teaches us something today as well. No Western nation, including the United States, can hope to win its own battle for freedom and survival by sacrificing brace comrades to the politics of international expediency.
Reagan went on to say that the betrayal of Mihailovich showed “beyond doubt that both freedom and honor suffer when firm commitments become sacrificed to false hopes of appeasing aggressors by abandoning friends.”