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Mr. George S. Musulin
Branch of Service:
City: Franklin Borough
State: Pennsylvania
County: Cambria
Honored By:
Nicholas Musulin, Jo Anne de la Riva, Milena Sanchez, Georgene Murray
Military Service:

George S. Musulin
Served his County – Capitan US Army, OSS agent, CIA

George Musulin was born into a Serbian family, grew up in Franklin Borough, and graduated from Johnstown High in 1932. George had a commanding personality and was given the nickname of “Governor” in high school which later was shortened to “Gov”. He played football for the University of Pittsburgh and was on the national champion team of 1937 where Pitt beat the University of Washington in the Rose Bowl 21- 0. George then played professional football for several years before joining the Army in 1941.

He completed his basic training and then was assigned to the 29th division (Blue/Gray Division) at Fort Meade where he served in the infantry.  After the attack at Pearl Harbor, George wanted to get “into the action”.  Through the help of a fellow Serbian, he volunteered to join the Office of Strategic Service (OSS). He was readily accepted, because of his ability to speak the Serbo-Croat language. There was rigorous training including airborne school to prepare him to parachute behind enemy lines to engage in espionage, sabotage, and rescue operations.

Musulin parachuted into Yugoslavia in October of 1943 and met with Draja Mihailovich who was leading the Chetniks fighting the Germans in the mountainous regions of Serbia. Musulin would spend many months with this group finding, sheltering, and protecting downed airmen who were shot down over the Yugoslavia territory. Eventually, Musulin was ordered to leave along with the 40 Allied Airmen that the Chetniks were protecting.

Unfortunately, due to communist spies in the British intelligence service supporting the communist Josip Broz Tito’s competing partisan group, support for Mihailovich ended. However, because of Musulin’s support of Mihailovich and his outrage at how he was being denied help and assistance from the Allies, a second evacuation plan was eventually planned–Operation Halyard, in May 1944.

Musulin was the leader of this operation. The airmen with the help of Mihailovich’s Chetniks using improvised tools, carved a 700-yard airstrip out of the side of a mountain which was barely enough room for the C-47’s to land and take off. The first extraction with 4 C-47 planes was at night.  Although every plane landed and successfully got airborne again, this by far was considered too risky to try again. The next day a total of 12 planes arrived with fighter escort to extract all of the remaining airmen. Operation Halyard was the most audacious rescue effort in WWII where a total of 512 Allied Airmen were saved without one life lost.

George returned to the States for further training and met Stephania Makivich at a social party for Serbs working for the Bureau of Naval Weapons in Washington D.C. Before he returned to overseas duty, they were married. George and Stephania had four children; Nicholas Musulin, JoAnne de la Riva, Milena Sanchez, and Georgene Murray.

George Musulin received the Legion of Merit for outstanding service to our country during WWII. After the war, George worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence. He then was recruited by the CIA when it was formed in 1950. He served in the CIA for almost 25 years and retired in 1974.

To learn more about his military experiences, he is the leading character in the book The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman.

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