15th AF The Fifteenth Air Force 15th AF

Operation Halyard

One of the great rescue stories of WWII

Operation Halyard was the greatest rescue mission of American airmen in our history.  It was conducted by a three-man OSS (Office of Strategic Services) team dropped into Serbia that was occupied by the Germans.  The OSS operatives linked up with Serbian “Chetniks” led by General Draža Mihailović in August of 1944.

This three-man Halyard team was commanded by Lieutenant George Musulin, along with Master Sergeant Michael Rajacich, and Specialist Arthur Jibilian, the radio operator.  The team was assigned to the United States Fifteenth Air Force and designated as the 1st Air Crew Rescue Unit.

By the time the operation was finished, the OSS had rescued 432 American airmen and 80 other Allied personnel who were airlifted out of Yugoslavia and back into Allied control.  The story was captured in the outstanding book “The Forgotten 500” by Douglas A. Freeman.

The following is a video about this mission -

Operation Halyard