A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

The Forgotten 500

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II

(New American Library, August 2007)

By Gregory A. Freeman

One of the last untold stories of World War II is also one of the greatest - a story of adventure, daring, danger and heroics, followed by a web of conspiracy, lies, and coverup.

THE FORGOTTEN 500 is one of the greatest rescue and escape stories ever, but hardly anyone has heard about it. And that's by design. The U.S., British, and Yugoslav governments hid details of this story for decades, purposefully denying credit to the heroic rescuers and the foreign ally who gave his life to help allied airmen as they were hunted down by Nazis in the hills of Yugoslavia.

THE FORGOTTEN 500 tells the story of Operation Halyard in 1944, the largest rescue ever of downed American airmen. More than 500 U.S. airmen were rescued, along with some from other countries, all right under the noses of the Germans, and mostly in broad daylight. The mission was a complete success - the kind that should have been trumpeted in news reels and on the front page. (By comparison, the famed escape of allied prisoners from a German POW camp portrayed in the movie "The Great Escape" involved 200 men, and only 76 were successful.)

It is a little known episode that started with one edge-of-your seat rescue in August 1944, followed by a series of additional rescues in the following months. American agents from the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, worked with a Serbian guerilla, General Draza Mihailovich, to carry out the huge, ultra-secret rescue mission.

THE FORGOTTEN 500 weaves together the tales of a dozen young airmen shot down in the hills of Yugoslavia during bombing runs, and the five secret agents who conducted their amazing rescue. These are the stories of young men who were eager to join the war and fight the Germans, even finding excitement in the often deadly trips from Italy to bomb German oil fields in Romania, but who found themselves parachuting out of crippled planes and into the arms of strange, rough looking villagers in a country they knew nothing about. They soon found out that the local Serbs were willing to sacrifice their own lives to keep the downed airmen out of German hands, but they still wondered if anyone was coming for them or if they would spend the rest of the war hiding from German patrols and barely surviving on goat's milk and bread made with hay to make it more filling.

When OSS agents in Italy heard of the stranded airmen, they began planning an elaborate and previously unheard of rescue - the Americans would send in a fleet of C-47 cargo planes to land in the hills of Yugoslavia, behind enemy lines, to pluck out hundreds of airmen. It was audacious and risky beyond belief, but there was no other way to get those boys out of German territory. The list of challenges and potential problems seemed never ending: the airmen had to evade capture until the rescue could be organized, they had to build an airstrip large enough for C-47s without any tools and without the Germans finding out, and then the planes had to make it in and out without being shot down.

Could it really be done? No one knew, but they were going to try.

THE FORGOTTEN 500 takes the reader along on this suspenseful adventure, while also explaining how the Yugoslav guerilla fighter who made it all possible was betrayed by his western allies. THE FORGOTTEN 500 is the story of young men struggling to make it back home to their families, and their decades-long quest to acknowledge the secret agents and the foreign soldiers who risked all for them.

Long silenced by the governments of several nations, the full story of Operation Halyard and the young men who risked everything for their fellow soldiers is revealed for the first time in this book.

THE FORGOTTEN 500 is truly the greatest World War II story never told.

"The daring rescue effort to save hundreds of downed airmen in dangerous enemy territory is an amazing but unknown WWII adventure story. Told in riveting detail for the first time, The Forgotten 500 a tale of unsung heroes who went above and beyond."

-- James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers

"Greg Freeman has written a riveting account of the greatest escape during World War II. It is a remarkable adventure story of courage and daring that is superbly told."

-- Anthony C. Zinni, General USMC (Retired)

"Freeman's The Forgotten 500 is a literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order, a book that illuminates, thrills, and reminds us that heroes sometimes do live among us. It will take your breath away."

-- Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Mining Town

"This is an exciting, powerful story of escape and rescue. It has been buried for too long..."

-- Tony Koltz, New York Times bestselling author, The Battle for Peace

Greg Freeman's The Forgotten 500 is a gripping, true-life narrative of one of the most heroic and inspiringâ€"but virtually unknownâ€"military operations of World War II. Operation Halyard, the rescue of 500 Allied airmen from behind Nazi lines in Yugoslavia, was an epic victory, and Freeman chronicles it with a master's touch for detail. Although this book reads like a fast-paced novel, it is based on scores of probing interviews and meticulous archival research. The Forgotten 500 is destined to become required reading for serious students of the Second World War."

-- Malcolm McConnell, New York Times #1 bestselling coauthor of American Soldier

From: Gregory A. Freeman


People Directory

Rastko Petrović

Rastko Petrović (Belgrade, 1898 – Washington, D.C., 1949), poet, novelist, travel writer, essayist, etnographer, giffted sketcher, camerman and photographer. He graduated law in France, and on his return to Yugoslavia he worked as an art and literary critic. After this he was employed in the diplomatic service and posted to Italy and the USA. He is considered to be one of the most important and most influential Serbian writers in the period between the two world wars.

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Publishing

Man and the God-Man

by Archimandrite Justin Popovich

"Father Justin Popovich, pan-orthodox witness to the God-revealed and Christ-given Eternal Truth, whose testimony can be even seen within this collection of his articles - that "the mystery of Truth is not in material things, not in ideas, not in symbols, but in Personhood, namely the Theanthropic Person of the Lord Christ, Who said: I am the Truth (John 14:6), Truth perfect, never diminished, always one and the same in its complete fullness - yesterday, today, and forever (Heb.13:8)."

The treasure to be found in this anthology of neopatristic syntheses consists of: "Perfect God and perfect man" - Nativity Epistle, where Fr Justin boldly exclaim that "man is only a true man when he is completely united with God, only and solely in God is man a man, true man, perfect man, a man in whom all the fullness of Godhead lives."; "The God-man" - The foundation of the Truth of Orthodoxy - Ava Justinian language of love in Christ-centered reflections of Truth; "The Supreme Value and Infallible Criterion"- contemporary philosophical reflections on visible and invisible realities; "Sentenced to Immortality" - a homily on the Resurrection or Our Lord Jesus Christ; "Humanistic and Theanthropic Culture"-criticism of European anti-Christian culture; "Humanistic and Theanthropic Education" - indicative pondering of consequences of education without God.. ; "The Theory of Knowledge of Saint Isaac the Syrian" - Faith, prayer, love, humility, grace and freedom, the purification of the intellect, mystery of knowledge; "A Deer in a Lost Paradise" - Ava's renowned poetic essay, a confession, and deepest longing for all-sweetest Jesus...