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George Musulin; Led Airlift That Rescued Fliers in World War II

February 28, 1987|From Times Wire Services

ARLINGTON, Va. — George S. Musulin, who led the daring airlift of hundreds of downed fliers from Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia during World War II, has died at age 72.

Musulin, who received the Legion of Merit for his actions, died Monday in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland of unreported causes.

Musulin was the leader of a three-man team from the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency) which parachuted into Yugoslavia on Aug. 2, 1944.

With the help of Serb resistance Gen. Draja Mikhailovich, the team and dozens of Yugoslav volunteers leveled an emergency airstrip that 16 C-47 troop planes used to carry 240 airmen out of enemy territory.

The airmen had been hidden by Yugoslav peasants.

Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Musulin graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1939 and played football there and professionally for the Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Gunners and Boston Shamrocks.

He retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and for the last several years lived in McLean, Va.

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