An Open Letter To Our Troops In The Former Yugoslavia From Over 500
MlAs Saved By The Serbian People During WWII
By: Richard L. Felman Major USAF (Ret) President National Committee
of American Airmen Rescued by General Mlhailovich, Inc. P.O. Box
17478, Tuscon, Arizona 85731
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 his 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 Department'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 here 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
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
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
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 us 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
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.
This war will not last long. If for no other reason, it appears the US
Forces are already running low on missiles. And, Clinton's blustering
threats of "escorting the Albanian Kosovars back to their home is
silliness. So far Clinton's war has failed to even uncover ONE of
Milosevic's mobile units to shoot at. How does he plan on personally
escorting back the reported 1,000,000 Albanians his spokespersons
claim have fled the country? The Serbs tied up 10 divisions of Hitler
Crack troops - even after they lost the war.
If he continues the kind of bombing he conducted last couple of nights,
he is going to lose the humanitarian war on CNN. Pictures of mothers
and newborn premature babies being evacuated from the hospital 100
yards from the Interior Ministry's spectacular blaze, a father on the
being interviewed saying it was "easy for Clinton to drop bombs on the
children from the sky - but we will see what kind of man he is when he
comes to our soil" or the flames from a residential area hit in last
bombing raids, are far more dramatic and horrifying than watching
Albanian refugees who are riding trains to the border and walking
across. (see: http://www.truthinmedia.org/Kosovo/photos.html) So far
this week, Over 1000 people are reported to have died so far in the
bombing raids. That is a far higher death toll than Christiane Amanpour
has been able to muster up in her drive to sell the Albanian side to a
jaded, suspicious American public.
The world is seeing the results of the bombs. The effort to portray the
Serbs, as US News and World Report does in its April 12, 1999 issue
on "Balkan Hell" as crazed killers is largely verbal so far. Stories of
"summary executions" US News noted were hard to "prove" but are
"quite credible given the Serbs' vicious record, " are being instantly
challenged by those, such as Col. Felman, USAF Ret., who have had
personal experiences with the Serbs.
We are in a whole new kind of warfare, folks, and it appears that
Milosevic is pretty much winning it so far. It already sounds like the
Clinton administration is trying to figure out who it can blame for the
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