OSS Radioman and Halyard and Ranger Mission WWII veteran Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian receives proper tribute at Arlington National Cemetery
Aleksandra’s Note: OSS Radioman and Halyard and Ranger Mission WWII veteran Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian died in March of 2010. On May 5, 2011, he received the proper tribute he deserved at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia where his remains are now among others who did important things in their lives and who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. I had the privilege and honor of knowing Arthur. He was my friend.
With much gratitude to the family of Arthur Jibilian for sharing the journey with us – so many of us – who loved and respected him not just for the war hero that he was and for the kind and gentle soul that he was, but also for the honorable human being he remained to the very end of his life.
His efforts to vindicate General Draza Mihailovich of Serbia will never be forgotten. It is my hope that the American Navy man from Ohio who ended up in the hills of Serbia in WWII has now been reunited with the General from Ivanjica. They will have much to talk about…
“I can’t tell you how moving it was and what an honor it was to be in our National Cemetery with all the heroes buried there with Dad. What a fitting tribute to him.”
Daughter of Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian
May 5, 2011
Local veteran lauded with soldier’s burial
The News Messenger
May 11, 2011
By Mark Tower
ARLINGTON, Va. — Relatives have returned home to Fremont after traveling last week to see World War II veteran Art Jibilian buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Jibilian will be remembered for his actions during five months in 1944, when he helped rescue hundreds of American troops from a German-occupied area in Serbia. The rescue is retold in a book, “The Forgotten 500,” and has been called the most successful rescue mission of American troops during the war.
Jibilian, who died in March 2010 after battling leukemia for nearly two years, was nominated for the Medal of Honor, though that has yet to be approved by Congress.
Jibilian’s daughter, Deb Jibilian, said the service at the national cemetery was almost too beautiful to put into words.
“It was so moving,” she said. “We were facing the riflemen and bugler who were on a hill facing us. That scene, I will never forget that. It was so poignant, so beautiful.”
Jibilian said she was given the honor of carrying her father’s urn from the ceremony grounds to the vault where he was interred.
“I can’t tell you what a wonderful feeling that was, to carry that,” she said, “as a final act for my dad.”
Jibilian’s widow, Jo Jibilian, was moved when the Navy chaplain bent down and handed her the folded American flag, Deb said.
The family hopes to find a home for that flag, she said, where it will not gather any dust. One idea, Jibilian said, is to offer it to the Northcoast Veterans Museum in Gibsonburg, which has featured an exhibit about her father in the past.
Ohio WWII hero will be honored – Art Jibilian to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery / May 5, 2011
Mansfield News Journal
May 5, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va. — World War II veteran and Fremont native Art Jibilian will be remembered for his actions during five months in 1944, when he helped rescue hundreds of people from a German-occupied area in Serbia.
Jibilian, who died in March 2010 after battling leukemia for nearly two years, was nominated for the Medal of Honor, and he is being honored this morning by interment in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Jibilian’s daughter, Deb Jibilian, said she applied for burial at the cemetery in April and was thrilled to be offered the ceremony so quickly.
“They have just been so wonderful at Arlington,” Jibilian said. “It is such an honor that dad gets to be in our national cemetery, I can’t think of a better place for him.”
Jibilian, or “Jibby,” was featured in a book, “The Forgotten 500,” detailing what has been called the most successful rescue mission of American troops during the war.
“Forgotten” talks about Jibilian, who was one of three agents of the Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency — who parachuted into central Serbia in August 1944 to rescue what they thought were 50 downed airmen. It turned out to be 513.
Over the next six months, Jibilian helped construct a landing strip and coordinated evacuation flights and medical help at night as the people in the Serbian village housed and protected the soldiers under the leadership of Drazha Mihailovich — leader of the Royal Yugoslav Army, commonly known as the Chetniks.
Jibilian had always fought hard to clear the name of Mihailovich, who housed and kept alive the downed airmen.
Mihailovich was labeled as a “collaborator” and was executed in 1946 by a new Yugoslavian government led by Josep Broz Tito, one of Mihailovich’s military rivals during World War II.
Jibilian’s daughter said her father’s hope was that by telling his inspiring story he could help clear the general’s name and get him recognition as a war hero.
“Daddy doesn’t want the medal for himself,” she said. “Those 513 airmen were rescued from Yugoslavia because Gen. Mihailovich took the risk and gave his life so those men could live. The soldiers and their relatives are alive because of the general, we must not forget that. That was daddy’s message.”
Along with friends and family, attending the burial will be at least one of the soldiers her father helped rescue, Jibilian said, along with an American-born Serbian author who writes about Gen. Mihailovich’s life.
Jibilian said as happy as she is about today’s honor, it will be a difficult experience for her and others attending the ceremony.
“As much as I am looking forward to it, I am also dreading it,” she said before leaving for Virginia. “It means I need to say goodbye to him a second time.”
Email Mark Tower at firstname.lastname@example.org.