DETROIT (AP) – Milo Radulovich, the Air Force Reserve lieutenant championed by Edward R. Murrow when the military threatened to decommission him during the anti-communist crackdown of the 1950s, has died. He was 81.

Radulovich died Monday in Vallejo, Calif., after complications from a stroke, family members said.

He served as a consultant on the 2005 film “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which dramatized Murrow’s journalistic challenge to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The movie included the Radulovich case and the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings that led to the senator’s downfall.

Radulovich was born in Detroit, joined the Air Force Reserves, worked as a meteorologist in Greenland, then enrolled at the University of Michigan on the GI Bill.

In 1953, the Air Force threatened to decommission him on grounds that he maintained a “close and continuing relationship” with his father and sister. The military said they were suspect because of the father’s subscription to a Serbian newspaper and his sister’s political activities.

Radulovich refused the military’s demand that he denounce his relatives and appealed his discharge.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Radulovich told The Detroit News in 2005. “No way was I going to repudiate my family. I knew if my case went unresolved, the government could do this to anyone, anywhere. I could see a chain reaction.”

Murrow’s “See It Now” on CBS aired a segment, “The Case Against Lt. Milo Radulovich,” in October 1953. The next month, the Air Force reversed its declaration that Radulovich was a security risk.

He went on to a career as a meteorologist.

“He was well aware of his historical importance,” said his brother-in-law Al Fishman. “He put his finger in the dike when the flood of McCarthyism inundated the country.”

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