World War II Veteran Gets Bronze Star Medal





The U.S. government has recognized the World War II architect of a mission to rescue more than 500 U.S. bomber fliers shot down over Nazi-occupied Serbia -- the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines in any war.

George Vujnovich, a 95-year-old New Yorker, is credited with leading the so-called Halyard Mission in what was then Yugoslavia.

On Sunday, he was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star Medal, presented by Rep. Joseph Crowley, at Manhattan's St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral. Vujnovich received a standing ovation from a crowd of several hundred church members, supporters, friends and officials.

"Better now than never," says Vujnovich, a retired salesman who lives in Queens.

He was an officer of the OSS, the precursor of today's CIA, when about 500 pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbia in the summer of 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Hitler's oil fields in Romania, according to U.S. government field station files, stored in the National Archives....


comments powered by Disqus