Watch Jerry Yellin Memorial Celebration, Filmed January 13th, 2 pm – 4 pm Fairfield Arts and Convention Center
Watch Jerry Yellin Memorial Celebration, Filmed January 13th, 2 pm – 4 pm Fairfield Arts and Convention Center
Inspiring a campaign for peace among Japanese and American citizens, and strengthening ties between the two countries. Having campaigned for peace for many years, this beautiful story strikes a deep chord with me. I hope it will become more widely known around the world and inspire other people too.” ~Imagine Peace, Yoko Ono “Jerry Yellin takes you from the terror of war to the everlasting hope of peace, in a unique story of World War II. -A human story like no other. God bless you, Dr. Sugano.” ~ John Colli, Nephew of Ken Colli from The Blackened Canteen “Words cannot express the true feelings of the heart when reading “The Blackened Canteen”.
Of War and Weddings is a moving and compelling true story of bitter wartime enemies who find peace through their children’s marriage. A mysterious force that weaves its way into the lives of the Yellin and Yamakawa families ends up healing the wounds of war and nurturing a legacy of freedom and understanding for the children of America and Japan. We experience Jerry Yellin’s destiny from childhood to retirement. We feel his joys, his loves, and his pains. We experience the process of healing as it occurs and are moved to discover that the legacy of two fathers is an inheritance intended for us all.
Jerry Yellin, qui a piloté la dernière mission de combat de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et a ensuite aidé d’autres anciens combattants à surmonter leur traumatisme, est décédé.
M. Yellin est mort jeudi en Floride chez l’un de ses quatre fils après avoir lutté contre un cancer du poumon. Il avait 93 ans.
Yellin, lieutenant du 78e escadron de combat de l’armée de l’air américaine, a mené une attaque sur les aérodromes japonais le 15 août 1945 lorsque l’empereur Hirohito annonça la capitulation du Japon. Quand il retourna à sa base sur Iwo Jima, Yellin apprit qu’un cessez-le-feu était entré en vigueur, et que son escadron n’avait pas reçu le signal codé les informant d’arrêter leur attaque, la dernière de la guerre.
Le copilote de Yellin, le lieutenant Philip Schlamberg, 19 ans, de Brooklyn, que Yellin avait encadré, a été abattu lors de ce dernier raid, après avoir pressenti qu’il ne sortirait pas vivant de la mission.
« En raison de notre héritage juif commun et parce qu’il était l’un de nos plus jeunes pilotes, j’avais naturellement pris Phil sous mon aile », a rappelé Yellin dans Le dernier pilote de chasse, une biographie écrite par Don Brown avec Yellin et publiée cette année, selon le New York Times.
Il a été très troublé d’avoir été témoin du carnage sur Iwo Jima où il a dit « il n’y avait pas un brin d’herbe et il y avait 28 000 corps pourrissant au soleil », et plus tard 16 membres de son escadron ont été tués en mission.
Quelque 6 800 soldats américains et plus de 20 000 Japonais ont été tués dans la bataille pour l’île du Pacifique.
Yellin a été libéré de l’armée en décembre 1945 avec le grade de capitaine. Parmi ses honneurs militaires, mentionnons la Croix du service distingué dans l’Aviation. Au cours des dernières années, il a été le porte-parole national de l’Esprit de 45, une organisation à but non lucratif qui promeut l’héritage des anciens combattants de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. selon Stars et Stripes, une publication militaire.
Pendant des années après sa démobilisation, souffrant de ce qui est maintenant connu pour être un trouble de stress post-traumatique, Yellin a lutté pour rester employé et a déménagé plusieurs fois aux États-Unis et transféré un temps en Israël, en partie pour protester contre la guerre du Vietnam, selon Stars et Stripes.
Il a bénéficié d’un certain répit grâce à la méditation transcendantale, que sa femme lui a conseillé d’essayer après avoir vu l’auteur de la pratique, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, dans l’émission « Le Merv Griffin ».
Yellin a parlé à d’autres anciens combattants qui ont lutté pour s’adapter à la vie civile et, en 2010, il a co-fondé ‘Bien-être du guerrier en opération’, une division de la Fondation David Lynch qui aide les vétérans à apprendre la méditation transcendantale. Yellin a reçu un soutien dans des vidéos promotionnelles de l’actrice Scarlett Johansson, une petite-nièce de Schlamberg.
Yellin est né et a grandi à Newark, New Jersey, et s’est enrôlé dans l’armée deux mois après l’attaque sur Pearl Harbor, lors de son 18e anniversaire.
Le fils de Yellin a déménagé au Japon après l’université et a épousé une femme japonaise dont le père s’était entraîné comme pilote de kamikaze et avait travaillé sur un terrain d’aviation pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Les pères se sont mis à discuter de leurs stratégies et de leurs expériences de vol pendant la guerre avec l’aide d’un traducteur, et sont devenus des amis pour la vie, selon Stars and Stripes.
Sa femme de 65 ans, Hélène, est décédée en 2015. Il laisse derrière lui quatre enfants, une soeur et six petits-enfants.
Army Air Corps fighter pilot Jerry Yellin (February 15, 1924-December 21, 2017) flew the last combat mission of World War II. Taking off from Iwo Jima on August 15, 1945 in his P-51 Mustang, he attacked airfields near Nagoya, before heading back to base, his wingman Phillip Schlamberg lost and presumed dead. It was only then that Yellin learned Emperor Hirohito had announced his nation’s surrender hours earlier following the United States’ two atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the war, Yellin had difficulty fitting back into civilian life, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He would find peace in the 1970s after becoming an adherent of Transcendental Meditation, while the marriage of his youngest son to the daughter of a Japanese kamikaze pilot would take him, he wrote, “from hatred to love.” An author of four books, Yellin toured extensively to bring hope to veterans suffering from PTSD, and to heal wounds brought by war.
CREDIT: Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow/U.S. Air Force
National D-Day Memorial mourns the passing of WWII pilot
by Barbara EstradaFriday, December 22nd 2017
Captain Jerry Yellin delivered the keynote address at the Memorial’s commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. (National D-Day Memorial)
BEDFORD, VA – The National D-Day Memorial Foundation is mourning the loss of Captain Jerry Yellin.
This past June, Capt. Yellin delivered the keynote address at the Memorial’s commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. One of the nation’s best-known World War II veterans, Yellin shared his harrowing story of having flown the final combat mission of WWII, in which his wingman became the final American to die in battle during the war.
When the veteran paid a visit in June, Yellin became further involved with the memorial and its mission. In September, he raised the flag to open the National D-Day Memorial Golf Classic and played as a celebrity guest golfer. One of Yellin’s final interviews was recorded at the National D-Day Memorial in October, as he joined the Memorial’s capital campaign as honorary Chair.
RELATED: WWII pilot visits National D-Day Memorial on 73rd anniversary of Normandy invasion
“We gave our lives in World War II so that we can have freedom, freedom for our country and freedom in the world,” said Yellin. “Every American should come and see this memorial, to see what we did in my generation so that your generation could live as free Americans. We fought for freedom, but we live for peace.”
Though well-known for his role in the war, Yellin often said he was just one of more than 16 million young Americans willing to fight for freedom in WWII. Yellin’s message and dedication to his fellow veterans will live on through his books, speeches, and interviews.
Staff, board, and volunteers at the foundation offers their deepest condolences to Capt. Yellin’s family and many friends.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jerry Yellin. He was not only a dear friend, but a tireless advocate for veterans who believed in educating our youth about the lessons and legacy of WWII,” said April Cheek-Messier, National D-Day Memorial Foundation President. “He loved the National D-Day Memorial and was working diligently with us as Co-Chair of our capital campaign to build the future education center. He will be remembered as the hero he was, and honored for the inspiring message he imparted to all. Fly high Jerry. We will miss you.”
Here is the Link to Jerry Yellin’s interview – podcast
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.
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.”
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