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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.

 

 

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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

 

featured in PEOPLE – WWII Fighter Pilot Finds ‘Family’ with Japanese Kamikaze Pilot After Their Kids Fall in Love: ‘We Are All Human’

 

As a member of the 78th fighter squadron during World War II, former Army Air Corps Captain Jerry Yellin flew combat missions in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima — one of the deadliest battles in the war. He shot down airplanes and attacked people on the ground.

“Killing was not something I was raised to do, but we had a ferocious enemy trying to destroy us,” Yellin, 93, tells PEOPLE. “Never once did I think of the people on the ground as people. They were Japanese — they attacked Pearl Harbor, they did atrocious things to prisoners of war

“They weren’t human beings to us.”

So “never in a million years” did Yellin expect to love a Japanese kamikaze pilot like a brother — or welcome him into his family.

Almost 53 after the war ended, Yellin’s hatred turned to love when his son, Robert Yellin, married a Japanese woman — the daughter of a WWII kamikaze pilot

In Yellin’s new book The Last Fighter Pilot, co-author Don Brown describes the veteran’s emotional WWII experience and his journey to love his new Japanese family.

“Jerry would learn to love, respect, and commune with the very people that he had once, with all of his might, tried to kill, and who had taken the lives of the fellow airmen closest to him,” Brown writes in the epilogue.

Yellin — a flying enthusiast from Hillside, New Jersey — enlisted on his 18th birthday in February of 1942. Three years later, he flew the final WWII combat mission in Japan on an attack on airfields near Tokyo. Yellin’s wingman and good friend, Phillip Schlamberg of New York, was the last man killed in a combat mission.

“History sometimes serves fascinating slices of irony,” Yellin writes in the book. “With the news emerging in 1945 of the Nazi atrocities against Jews half a world away, how ironic that the war’s final mission would be flown by a couple of Jewish pilots from New York and New Jersey, and that the final combat life in the defense of freedom would be laid down by a teenage Jewish fighter pilot who had not yet learned to even drive a car.”

After years spent suffering from PTSD, Yellin returned to Japan with his wife, Helene, in 1983 for the first time since the war.

“I was blown away,” he says. “It brought back a lot of memories and I could picture the bombs dropping everywhere, it was hard, but we had incredible experiences with the people and food and scenery.”

Later that year, the couple treated their youngest son, Robert, to a trip to Japan. He loved it so much, that he returned in 1984 as an English teacher. During his stay he met and fell in love with his future wife.

Yellin visited Japan in 1987 to meet Robert’s then-fiancée Takako Yamakawa, the daughter of Taro and Hatsue Yamakawa. 

“But her parents wouldn’t meet me,” recalls Yellin. “Taro was a kamikaze pilot and hated Americans as much as I had hated the Japanese.”

It took seven months for Taro to agree to meet Robert. During their first interaction, he asked Yellin’s son five questions.

“He asked what I flew in the war,” says Yellin. “When he found out I flew a P-51, he said that anyone who flew that was a brave man— and that he would be proud to have the blood of that man flow in his grandchildren.”

At Robert and Takako’s 1988 nuptials, the two men agreed to finally meet.

“A few days after the wedding, we went with a translator to a hot bath and spoke about our wartime experiences, spiritual beliefs and education,” says Yellin. “We talked for four hours and he said he never knew there was someone else in the world that felt the way he did about life. “From that moment on we bonded and became close, close family.”

The Yellins returned to Japan every year to visit their son and his in-laws — even after Robert and Takako divorced.

“Sadly, Taro passed away three years ago,” says Yellin. “I miss him every day.”

Their friendship now lives on through the three grandchildren they share.

“I went from thinking a group of people were my enemy to finding my best friend,” says Yellin. “It’s a lesson to remember that at the end of the day we are all human and have so much love to give.”

WWII Fighter Pilot Finds ‘Family’ with Japanese Kamikaze Pilot After Their Kids Fall in Love: ‘We Are All Human’

 

“WWII’s ‘last fighter pilot’ relives fateful flight and the PTSD that followed” New York Post

On April 7, 1945, five months before the end of World War II, Capt. Jerry Yellin and his squadron flew over Japan and bombed it, lighting up “a big square of fire” 15,000 feet below.

“Little fires became big fires, and it never occurred to me, ever, that there were human beings on the ground,” says Yellin, 93, speaking to The Post in the run-up to Memorial Day.

“They were Japanese. They were terrible people. They did horrific things in China, and I saw horrific things done in Iwo Jima to dead Marines — faces bashed in to get gold out of their teeth. They just were not human beings to me then.”

Click the link for full article: WWII’s ‘last fighter pilot’ relives fateful flight — and the PTSD that followed

“If you wanna stop war everybody would go to war naked,” he says. “Then nobody would know who to shoot.” -Captain (ret) Jerry Yellin to the New York Post

 

Thank You For Your Service

AS WE OBSERVE VETERANS DAY NOVEMBER 11, let us celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. Let us remember with gratitude those who made the greatest sacrifice, their lives, for our freedom and democracy. Let us openly and genuinely extend our appreciation to those in our families, our communities and around the country, who have given of themselves so that we may live in a better country. ¦

Please click to read the full story: Thank You For Your Service

BY GLENN MILLER • FLORIDA WEEKLY CORRESPONDENT

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Events

100th Anniversary of the Bushmaster’s (78th Fighter Squadron) February 16th, 2018 Las Vegas

The 100th Anniversary of the Bushmaster’s (78th Fighter Squadron) will be held in Las Vegas on February 16, 2018. Location will be posted at a later date, once determined.