Wow, a true hero has gone Home to collect his reward.
A 20 year old Arthur Jibilian, ready to serve.
Aleksandra's Note: My sincere thanks to Milana "Mim" Bizic, Arthur's dear friend, for forwarding me the following sentiments expressed by Arthur Jibilian to Brian McMahon of Danberry National LTD.
FROM BRIAN McMAHON:
Art Jibilian lost his battle to leukemia over the weekend and passed away. Prior to Art entering the hospital for what turned out to be his last chemo treatment, he must have had a premonition. One of the last discussions I had with Art was that:
"If something happens to me, please make sure that you thank all the people who have helped me in my efforts to recognize the Serbian people and re-write history with regards to General Mihailovich. Tell everyone how much it means to me that I was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. I never expected in my wildest dreams to ever be considered worthy of the Medal of Honor. All these special events that people have created, and their efforts to assist me, meant a great deal to me. Even if I never receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, 'it was a great ride' and most men my age never have an opportunity to participate in these types of events and meet so many great people."
In that regard, Art Jibilian would like to thank the following individuals and organizations in no particular order of importance. I will try to do this in the chronological order in which they took place:
- To Bill Hirzel and Capt. Bill David and all the Members of the EAA Chapter 582 for honoring me at their Air Show at Metcalf Airport
- To Bridgett David who provided medical and psychological comfort for me and my family during these trips to the Indy Championship Race and Air Venture/Oshkosh.
- To the members of the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport for flying me to that Air Show in their B-17
- To General A. J. Feucht, Jr., Col. Bartman, Capt. Bentley, Col. Mike Digby and all the members of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air Guard for that special event that took place at the Air Guard on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th of 2 years ago. I was especially honored to be installed as an "Honorary Colonel".
- To racing legend - Scott Goodyear - for inviting Dr. Harold Brown and myself to the Indy Championship Race in Chicago last year
- To John Wagner and his family for flying me to Oshkosh
- To John Robinson Block, Dave Murray and Joe Zerbey from the TOLEDO BLADE and Jack Kelly of the PITTSBURG-POST GAZETTE for their articles and support in helping me share the fact that the Tuskegee Airmen flew cover for a number of these rescue missions. Without the support of the Tuskegee Airmen, we would not have been able to keep all 512 airmen escape from behind enemy lines and return us safely home.
- To my good friend Dr. Harold Brown and all of the Tuskegee Airmen for providing air cover during "Operation Halyard".
- To Gregory Freeman for publishing THE FORGOTTEN 500 that allowed so many people to become aware of "Operation Halyard" and all the individuals who participated in this rescue mission.
- To Danny Clisham of the EAA who allowed us to participated in the AirVenture/Oshkosh program and gave me the opportunity to thank the Tuskegee Airmen for their efforts.
- To Tim Barzen and members of the RED TAIL REBORN for all of their efforts.
- To Brad Ball of NASCAR and Jack Roush of Roush Fenway Racing for their efforts to contact the national media.
- To Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, Dan Saevig, and Vern Snyder for including me and my friend, Dr. Harold Brown in last year's UT Homecoming and including us in the Parade of Heroes.
- To Joe Zerbey and the members of the Toledo Rotary providing me with the last opportunity to make a public presentation on Operation Halyard.
- To Mim, the Tesla Memorial Society and all the members of the Serbian community who worked so hard on my behalf.
On behalf of all of us who were touched by Art's heroism, his final tribute was to donate his body to the University of Toledo's Medical College for research. We want to thank his wife Jo and his daughter Debi for sharing Art with us during what was a very difficult time.
Brian W. McMahon/President
DANBERRY NATIONAL LTD.
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org