An Open Letter To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia

From Over 500 MlAs Saved By
The Serbian People During WWII

During World War II, we were in the Army Air Corps list as "Missing
in Action" in the very same area you are now serving. If we may, we
would like to relay to you a frank, soldier-to-soldier message about
our personal experience while there - something which politicians who
sent you there have not told you and something which you have not
read or seen in the anti-Serb media. 

In 1944, the members of our committee were flying bombing missions
out of Italy over Southern Europe. During that time over 500 of us
were shot down over enemy-occupied Yugoslavia and saved from certain
death by the Serbian people. Ours was the greatest rescue of American
lives from behind enemy lines in history but has been kept under
wraps all these years because of pressure from foreign sources. 

While we were there, those of us who were wounded were given whatever
medical supplies they had even at the deprivation of their own
troops. If there was one piece of bread in the house, or one egg, it
went to the American airmen while the Serb went hungry. If there was
one bed or one blanket, it went to us while the Serb slept on the
bare ground. No risk of sacrifice was too great to insure our safety
and well being. One experience which is forever seared in my memory
is the time a village with 200 women and children was burned to the
ground by the Germans because the Serbs would not tell them where
they were hiding us. To this day, I can smell the terrible stench of
their burning flesh. One does not forget such things. 

The most incredible part of our rescue was that before each mission,
our bomber crews were briefed by the highest levels of American
intelligence that if shot down over Yugoslavia, we were to stay away
from the Serbian people as they were collaborating with the Germans
and "cutting off the ears of American airmen" before turning them
over. Only after we were shot down did we find out the amazing
thoroughness with which the truth about the Serbs was being distorted. 

Further compounding this deception is the fact that while the Serbs
were our allies in WWII, Croatians and Muslims (who we are favoring
today) were allies of the Nazis, shooting at us and responsible for
killing many of our fellow American fliers. In view of the lies we
were told about the Serbs during World War II, we could not help but
wonder if our foreign policy there today is the same anti-Serb bias
we encountered 52 years ago. Could our career diplomats sacrifice
former friends and reward former enemies in the name of political
expediency???... Could it be because in the world community there are
over one billion Muslims and only 9 million Serbian Orthodox
Christians with the same proportionate power in the global
economy???... Could it be because the Serbs have no oil wells and no
unlimited oil money? 

Could it be because the Croatians and Muslims outspend the Serbs 50
to one on lobbyists, media firms and campaign contributions???...
Could this be why, "atrocities" are manufactured to make the Serbs
look bad while gaining sympathy for their opponents???... Could this
be why the Serbs are branded "aggressors" in land they have lived on
for over 600 years???... Could our policy have something to do with
the fact there are 540 members of Congress, none of whom are Orthodox
Christians???... Could the State Departtnent's bitter bias, against
General Draza Mihailovich, the anti-Communist guerrilla leader who
saved us, be based on the fact he was a Serb??? 

Could these be the reasons the State Department has covered up the
truth of our rescue all these years and opposed our petition to
express gratitude for saving over 500 American lives (a petition
which is supported by the 8 million veterans of the American Legion,
the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Air Force Association and which
has been approved by the United States Senate.)???... Could it be
these are the reasons the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee has also denied our petition by saying to us there are
"ethnic groups in Yugoslavia" who oppose it???... 

Are we mad???... You can bet your next month's paycheck that we are
mad! We did not leave our families, risk our lives and watch our
buddies get their arms, legs and heads blown off so that "ethnic
groups in Yugoslavia" could tell us what we could or could not do in
our own country. 

Now that the spring thaw has set in, temperatures and tempers will
start to rise in the volatile area you now find yourselves. All we
ask is that in your dealings with the local people you be made aware
of the eyewitness experience of your fellow comrades-in-arms. By
speaking out now we have nothing to gain except a burning moral
passion to tell the truth, a sworn duty to protect our national
honor, a patriotic desire to express heart felt gratitude to those on
foreign soil who save American lives while they are fighting in
defense of our glorious country. 

Now that you have been sent to foreign soil and asked to risk your
lives we feel you should know the truth and not be "suckered in" by
the rhetoric of highly paid public relations firms, foreign lobbyists
and self-serving politicians who know absolutely nothing of the
region's history. 

We might also add that had it not been for the Serbian people, Air
Force General Donald J. Smith, our chairman and one our rescued
airmen, would not have survived the war and been able to dedicate 40
years of honorable service to his country. 

Had it not been for the Serbian people, technical Sgt. Curtis "Bud"
Diles, another of our airmen, would not be alive today in Dayton,
Ohio, enjoying retirement with his 4 children and 12 grandchildren...
There are hundreds of us with stories just like those. 

Some of the greatest testimony to the many sacrifices made on our
behalf is the many thousands of American children who are alive today
solely because the Serbian people saved over 500 of their
grandfathers during World War II. Some of them could very well be
serving with you today in Bosnia. 

(I was one of 3 rescued American airmen who returned last year to the
former Yugoslavia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of victory in
Europe with the people who saved us and to visit the cow pasture that
served as a landing strip from which we were rescued. The most moving
experience of our sentimental trip was being cheered by over 50,000
Serbs who gathered at a mountain top to welcome us and who kept
chanting "USA, USA"). 

As American military men, we have a proud tradition of "duty, honor
and country" to uphold and a fierce sense of loyalty to those with
whom we fought side by side in combat. We never forget their kindness
nor do we return their battlefield sacrifices for us by bombing their
women and children. 

The Serbian people helped us when we were desperate and in trouble.
Now that the situation is reversed we can do no less. 

Please keep these untarnished truths in mind as you now serve our
country and all it stands for, and may God bless you all as we pray
for your safe return. 

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