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The Forgotten 500

Author : Gregory A. Freeman

Genre : Nonfiction

This is the true story of over 500 airman, while bombing oil fields in Romania, were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Over weeks and months, with the help of local Serbian farmers who risked their own lives, hid the soldiers, eventually bringing them to the Pranjane area in central Yugoslavia, where they were protected by anti-Nazi forces under the command of General Mihailovich.

By chance, a rumor heard by his wife back in the States, the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) office in Bari, Italy, George Vujnovich learned that as many as 100 airman were alive behind enemy lines that needed to be rescued. Thus, Operation Halyard was born in the summer of 1944. George enlisted veteran  agent George Musulin and Sergeant Mike Rajacich, who both spoke the language, and radio operator, Arthur Jibilian to drop in behind enemy lines, somehow build an air strip and manage rescue efforts on the ground.

Suppressed for more than half a century for political reasons, Gregory Freeman crafts a well-documented account of courage and daring that sadly, also illustrates the effects of politics and illuminates the betrayal, turf wars, and outright sabotage among agencies across countries, along with successful efforts of Russian spies who infiltrated the agencies, as well as the secrets and lies perpetuated for decades by our own country.

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