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Celebrating 75th Anniversary of the Halyard Mission: Serbs Acknowledged Descendants of US Pilots

Seventy-five years after the largest rescue mission in the history of warfare, an operation known as Halyard Mission, a celebration will take place at the Galovića field in Pranjani.

The operation, also called Air Bridge, lasted from August 1944 to February 1945. Over 500 US pilots and airmen were saved, thanks to the courage of the Serbian people and the Yugoslav Royal Army, who risked their lives by hiding them and nursing their wounds. Ever since, the Halyard Mission is considered a symbol of solidarity between the Serbian and American people.

American pilots and crew members of planes shot down over Yugoslavia while en route to bomb a Nazi oil complex in Romania were evacuated and transferred to Italy. The rescue commemoration is held annually, organized by the Halyard Mission Foundation, led by John Cappello. Attendees will include descendants and family members of the rescued pilots, some of whom visited Serbia for the first time.

Ted Byfield, whose father Floyd was rescued, arrived in Pranjani in honor of his father and to thank the Serbs who protected and hid him. "I have Colonel Harper's diary that was with him. It was written on 93 pages, with a lot of details about that period, so I learned a lot from him," Byfield said.

Source: Nataša Stojanović

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