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Jerry Yellin
Born (1924-02-15)February 15, 1924
Died December 21, 2017(2017-12-21) (aged 93)
Place of birth Newark, New Jersey
Place of death Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Captain (United States O-3)
Battles/wars World War II
Air raids on Japan
Pacific Ocean theater of World War II

Jerome "Jerry" Yellin (February 15, 1924 – December 21, 2017) was a United States Army Air Forces fighter pilot, who flew the final combat mission of World War II in a North American P-51 Mustang against a military airfield near Tokyo on August 14, 1945 (August 15, 1945 local time in Tokyo).

Early life[]

Yellin was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of a real estate developer. His family was Jewish.[1]

Final World War II flight[]

Captain Yellin's final combat mission was executed five days after the U.S. Army Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar had dropped a second American nuclear weapon on Japan, namely on the city of Nagasaki.[2]

Captain Yellin flew along with another pilot, First Lieutenant Phil Schlamberg, who was piloting a second P-51 as Captain Yellin's wingman.[3] The two men were executing their mission against the airfield at or about the time that Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, wherein Japan would accept allied terms for unconditional surrender. Yellin and Schlamberg did not hear the military's attempted radio broadcast alerting them that the war had ended.[4]

Immediately after carrying out their mission against the airfield, Yellin and Schlamberg banked steeply into a cloud cover. Yellin emerged from the cloud cover, but Schlamberg had disappeared, apparently shot down, and became the final known combat death of World War II. Schlamberg's body was never recovered.[5] Short on fuel, Yellin began his four-hour flight back to his home base on Iwo Jima, where he learned that the war had ended.[6]

The Last Fighter Pilot[]

The story of Yellin's historic final flight is told in the book The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Final Combat Mission of World War II,[7] by author Don Brown,[8] released by Regnery Publishing on July 31, 2017. Yellin was a contributor and wrote the foreword for the book.

Don Brown & Jerry Yellin discuss the book The Last Fighter Pilot at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, August 3, 2017.

Yellin and Brown appeared together to kick off the book's release and to discuss Yellin's final, historic mission at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on August 1, 2017.[9][10][11] They appeared again together on August 3, 2017, at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California to discuss the book and Yellin's experiences in the war.[12]

Later years[]

In 2010, Yellin worked with actor Ernest Borgnine and U.S. Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Frank Lautenberg to get Congress to unanimously vote for Spirit of '45 Day, honoring the men and women of the WWII generation, which is observed during the second weekend in August and coinciding with the anniversary of the end of the war and Yellin's final combat flight. Yellin traveled the country, speaking in support of Spirit of '45 Day and veterans.

Death[]

After battling lung cancer, Yellin died at the home of his son in Orlando, Florida, on December 21, 2017, at the age of 93.[13]

References[]

  1. http://www.journalgazette.net/news/20171223/pilot-of-wwiis-final-sortie-dies
  2. "WWII’s ‘last fighter pilot’ relives fateful flight — and the PTSD that followed". 2017-05-28. https://nypost.com/2017/05/28/wwiis-last-fighter-pilotrelives-fateful-flight-and-the-ptsd-that-followed/. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nTkkNdMZ7o Department of Defense Video interview of Captain Jerry Yellin on Iwo Jima, March 21, 2015
  4. "Letter From Aviation History—September 2014". http://www.historynet.com/letter-from-aviation-history-september-2014.htm. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  5. "Pilot who flew last mission of World War II being honored – KUSI News – San Diego, CA". 2015-02-15. http://www.kusi.com/story/28115221/pilot-who-flew-last-mission-of-world-war-ii-being-honored. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  6. Captain Jerry Yellin remarks at national D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia – June 6, 2017 (remarks begin at 30:09 mark)
  7. Jerry Yellin Details his military experience in The Last Fighter Pilot, Washington Times, August 8, 2017
  8. Don Brown interview with nationally-syndicated talkshow host Larry Elder about the book The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Final Combat Mission of World War II on August 2, 2017
  9. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library official announcement of lecture and book-signing on August 1, 2017
  10. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Official Reagan Presidential Library video of Brown and Yellin discussing Last Fighter Pilot, August 1, 2017
  11. People Magazine article on Captain Jerry Yellin dated August 4, 2017, referring to the book "Last Fighter Pilot," by Don Brown
  12. Official Richard Nixon Foundation video of joint appearance by Don Brown and Jerry Yellin at Richard Nixon Presidenial Library, August 3, 2017
  13. Jerry Yellin, fighter pilot in last combat mission of World War II, dies at 93 The Washington Post, December 21, 2017.

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