A Queens man who coordinated the largest air rescue behind enemy lines in American combat history has been posthumously inducted into the state Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
George Vujnovich, a retired small business owner from Jackson Heights, was awarded the Bronze Star in 2010, 66 years after the conducting the rescue. He died in late April at the age of 96, shortly after state Sen. Jose Peralta informed him of the induction.
His daughter Xenia Wilkinson said she was proud to accept the distinction on her father’s behalf.
“I wish that he could have been with me,” said Wilkinson, 67, who now lives in Washington, D.C. “He would have been so proud.”
When Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) reached out to Vujnovich’s family about his induction, he had already fallen ill, and would not have been able to make the Albany ceremony on May 22.