Jerry Yellin – Flew and took control of a Stearman PT-17 at the very same airport he trained at decades ago.

As part of a Veterans Day event, WWII veteran Capt. Jerry Yellin, 93, flew and took the controls of a Stearman PT-17, just like the one he trained in when he was 19 at the very same airport he trained at decades ago, today’s Scottsdale Airport – once Thunderbird Field II. Built in 1942 for the sole purpose of training WWII Army Air Corps pilots, Thunderbird Field II didn’t have a memorial commemorating its history until now. Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial Inc., an organization comprised of individuals from many different backgrounds who share a common passion for aviation, history and military heritage, are building a memorial at Scottsdale Airport to honor those early aviation pioneers and all veterans who have sacrificed so much protecting our freedom.

 

WWII Captain Yellin as our honored guest and speaker – 1940’s themed fundraiser

Jerry spoke at the 1940″s themed fundraiser benefiting,  Thunderbird ll and Dreamcatcher on November 10th, 2017. We celebrated our heroes at the Inaugural Swing Time – 1940’s Hangar Party fundraiser. We had WWII Captain Yellin as our honored guest and speaker. Amazing night, proud to be an American. Thank you to Alerus Bank and other event sponsors and attendees for celebrating with us. And thank you to the men and women that serve our country – past, present and future.

  

World War II pilot, 93-year-old Capt. Jerry Yellin, was once again in the pilot’s seat during a special flight on Nov. 9.

Capt. Yellin took part in a Veterans Day appreciation event, in anticipation for the inaugural “Swing Time” 1940s-themed party and gala that will benefit the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial and DreamCatchers on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Capt. Yellin is a former fighter pilot who flew the final combat mission of World War II and is the subjection of the best seller, “The Last Fighter Pilot,” and an upcoming Hollywood documentary.

The aircraft is a rare WWII Stearman, the type Capt. Yellin trained in during 1943. Capt. Yellin and the Memorial’s Chairman, Steve Ziomek, piloted the plane together.

Capt. Yellin, who still speaks nationally concerning PTSD, will also be the honored guest and keynote speaker at the “Swing Time” party and gala. On Nov. 11, he is scheduled to travel to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California to address the Veterans Day celebration there.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial Inc., is a non-profit organization 501(c)3 aimed at preserving the history and culture of aviation in Scottsdale, providing a tribute to veterans and create unique educational opportunities for our school children. Thunderbird Field II graduated over 5,500 pilots, many of whom saw military action in Europe and the Pacific. The school was deactivated on October 16, 1944 and is now the Scottsdale Airport.

 

The 100th Anniversary of the Bushmaster’s (78th Fighter Squadron) will be held in Las Vegas on February 16, 2018.

The 100th Anniversary of the Bushmaster’s (78th Fighter Squadron) will be held in Las Vegas on February 16, 2018.

Pilot who flew in final WWII mission to speak at NHS

“It’s a chance to be face-to-face with the people who made history,” said Stephen Quesinberry, department chairman. “Sometimes you don’t really think about people you know having been involved with the events you learned about in schools, and it’s definitely more interesting to hear from the people who were there.”

Yellin enlisted two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 and P-51 combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron.

He participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945. During Yellin’s final mission on Aug. 14, 1945, his wingman – Phillip Schlamberg – had the tragic distinction of becoming the last man killed in a combat mission in World War II. According to his website, Yellin battled severe, undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder after the war.

The decorated pilot, now in his 90s, still travels around the country, speaking at events. Quesinberry said Monday’s presentation is one of a dwindling number of opportunities to hear directly from a World War II veteran.

“There are not going to be many more chances to hear these guys,” he said. “It’s an hour presentation, and we certainly think it’s well worth coming out to hear.”

The NHS History Speaker Series features a free, public presentation in the fall and spring of each year with one focusing on the the Vietnam War as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration. The NHS History and Social Studies Department is a commemorative partner with the Department of Defense.

 

 

National Museum of American Jewish Military History

Jerry Yellin discusses antisemitism in his life and his role as a fighter pilot in the Pacific. He talks about the consequences of flying the last combat mission of World War II. Philip Schlamberg, another Jewish pilot, died on that mission at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History

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Ian Scotto Co-Host & Producer of SOFREP Radio Producer of The Power of Thought – podcast

Here is the Link to Jerry Yellin’s interview – podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-13-jerry-yellin-wwii-fighter-pilot/id1263228612?i=1000393797828&mt=2

 

The last mission arrives in Fairfield

Jerry Yellin, left, and Susan Marella, right, share memories and page through photos and clippings of Marella’s father, Eugene O’Brien. Like Yellin, O’Brien was in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific in World War II.

Matt Milner – Ottumwa Courier

FAIRFIELD — When people think about the end of World War II, they tend to think about the grand events. VE Day. The atomic bombs. The surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

Few think of a young captain flying on Aug. 14, 1945. Jerry Yellin took off from Iwo Jima for an attack on Tokyo with wingman Phillip Schlamberg. By the time Yellin landed the war was over, and Schlamberg was the final American combat death.

“I gave him a thumbs up, he gave me a thumbs up,” Yellin said, and they turned for home. Schlamberg didn’t make it back.

The war ended that day, but it stayed with Yelin for 30 more years. Now 93, he was in Fairfield on Saturday to tell his story.

The years have been kind to Yellin physically. He has a piercing gaze and a firm handshake. He has the National D-Day Golf Tournament to play in later this month. The annual Army-Navy football game in December is on the schedule, too.

That’s now. The decades after the fighting ended were hard. Yellin had what would now be recognized as post traumatic stress disorder. Brought up on the injunction “Thou shalt not kill,” Yellin had done just that and been rewarded for doing so.

“Anybody that comes home and talks about what they did, killing people, you just can’t do that,” he said. “It was impossible for me to live with myself.”

To Yellin, killing people is evil. But that’s what war is. And the United States was faced with truly evil regimes that had to be stopped. But that doesn’t mean he believes anyone should revel in the necessity of killing people.

Yellin’s visit was less a speech or lecture than a reunion. He chatted with people, answered questions. He signed every copy of “The Last Fighter Pilot,” a book Dan Brown wrote with and about him, placed in front of him.

It was a place for memories for everyone, including those who came to hear Yellin. Susan Marella’s father, Eugene O’Brien, was in the Pacific theater at the same time. The parallels were striking. “I thought they could have been in the same squadron,” she said.

They weren’t. But Yellin remembers playing golf at the very same course Marella’s father played on. Together they paged through a book with clippings and photos of O’Brien. Yellin pulled up a photo of himself on his smartphone, one taken during the war.

Like Yellin, O’Brien didn’t talk about the war much in the decades after it ended. A large group of his friends from school died in a plane crash after enlistment. It was a flight that, except for fate, O’Brien himself might well have been on. The stories came late in O’Brien’s life.

“He was starting to talk about the loss of it, the loss of his friends from high school,” Marella said.

That makes sense to Yellin. It’s easy to learn about the major battles or the leading generals from articles and films taken during the war or shortly thereafter. Stories about the men waited as the veterans themselves worked out how to tell them.

Now, it’s time. It’s duty.

“I feel obligated that it’s told properly,” Yellin said.

Now, 72 years later, it’s time.

 

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Reagan Presidential Library and Museum – Author Don Brown & Jerry Yellin Lecture & Book Signing

Lecture and Book signing with Author Don Brown and Jerry Yellin

Please join us for a lecture and book signing with Don Brown and Jerry Yellin on their book, The Last Fighter Pilot (Publish Date: July 31, 2017). This event is free to attend, however books must be purchased in the Reagan Library Museum Store to receive signature. Books may be pre-purchased during the reservation process.

The Last Fighter Pilot is the account of Captain Jerry Yellin, who flew the last combat mission of WWII on the morning of August 15th out of Iwo Jima. Captain Yellin is a sharp, engaging, 93-year-old veteran whose story is brought to life by New York Times bestselling author Don Brown (Treason).

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I Flew For Freedom! I Live For Peace!