Operation Halyard Architect Honored with Bronze Star

In the summer of 1944, OSS agent George Vujnovich orchestrated the largest ever rescue of American airmen from behind enemy lines during a covert operation known as Halyard in Nazi-occupied Serbia. This past Sunday, Vujnovich, now 95, received the Bronze Star medal during a ceremony in Manhattan, N.Y., finally recognized for his heroic actions more than 66 years ago. Cold War geopolitics kept a veil on this operation, and Vujnovich’s pivotal role for many years. Collaborating with Draza Mihailovic and his Chetnik partisans and twisting arms in Washington, D.C., Vujnovich helped arrange the escape of 512 allied fliers, many of whom the Germans had shot down during the bombing raids on the Ploesti oil fields in neighboring Romania. Vujnovich teamed with the partisans to disperse the aircrews amongst local villagers, who then assisted in building an improvised airstrip that US transports used to evacuate the fliers covertly. (See Fox News report and New York Daily News report.)