Aleksandra’s Note: I was so pleased to hear this news from good friend Milana “Mim” Bizic, someone who has shared so much wonderful information about the historic Halyard Mission Rescue Operation of WWII on her great website www.babamim.com. Serbia will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Halyard Mission right there in Pranjani where a series of incredible rescues of American and Allied airmen from Nazi-occupied territory began in August of 1944. The successful rescue missions continued in various other areas through the end of December of 1944 in Serbia and Bosnia. The Halyard Mission evolved into the “Ranger Mission,” but it was all part of the same series of events made possible by General Draza Mihailovich, his Serbian Chetnik forces, and the Serbian civilians loyal to them.
What follows is a current schedule of events. I also provide contact information for Lt. John Cappello who has been, and continues to be, seriously involved in the efforts to properly commemorate the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation.
This Halyard celebration “in the homeland” truly is a significant move forward in the historical context, because it appears that there is going to be “official” recognition by the Serbian government of what was, for a very long time, a taboo subject in Serbia due to “political” restraints. High level representatives of the current Serbian government have committed to participating in the ceremonies.
Thank you, Mim and Lt. Cappello, for sharing this great news!
From Mim Bizic:
“So important! This is great news for all of those who know the story of General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks and the rescue of over 500 U.S. airmen. I’m sharing this message from a GREAT FRIEND of the Serbian people…”
From Lt. John Cappello, August 2014.
“I also wanted to let you know about the 70th Anniversary Ceremony commemorating the Halyard Mission we are planning. The event will take place in Serbia, with activities on both 22 and 23 September 2014. Dan and Bojan have been working closely with both the President’s and Minister of Defense’s offices and they have committed to participate in the event.
Here is the agenda:
22 September 2014: Pranjani ceremony:
-Galovica field 1200-1220
Wreath laying by President, US Ambassador to Serbia, MoD delegation, Halyard Foundation.
-Galovica field 1220-1245
Remarks by President, Ambassador, and Defense Minister.
-Church/School area 1300 – 1330
Tour of Wooden church and Pranjani elementary school.
23 September 2014: Military Museum, Belgrade
“I will be traveling to Serbia for the ceremony. While we have come a long way in recognizing the sacrifice of those who rescued American airmen, we have a long way to go. We are still working on completing the documentary and I believe we are getting close to completion. Dan, Bojan and a few associates will be back in the U.S. to conduct some more research and a few last interviews. After this I hope they will be able to put the finishing touches on the documentary.
“You mentioned that your class will be interviewing Carl Walpusk. Please pass him my sincerest regards and wish him well. I hope we can put something together that will make him proud.
“If you can think of any other veterans of the rescue mission that we have not been in contact with please let me know.”
All the best,
Lt. John Cappello
TO CONTACT LT. CAPPELLO, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WRITE TO HIM AT: