Captain Jerry Yellin flew the final combat mission of World War II on August 15, 1945 — and he has an incredible story to tell.
He does just that in a new book out from Regnery, titled, “Last Fighter Pilot.” With fewer and fewer World War II veterans left alive each year, their stories are becoming more and more precious.
“On December 7th [Pearl Harbor], I made up my mind I was going to fly fighter planes against the Japanese, I was 17 years old,” he says in a new video.
In the video, a discussion of the experiences he writes about in his book, Yellin recounts landing in Iwo Jima amid over a hundred thousand soldiers — and the feeling her will never forget.
“I smelled the smell of death and it never went away from me,” he said. “There were 21,000 bodies rotting in the sun.”
You won't believe the end of this interview with "Last Fighter Pilot" Captain Jerry Yellin, the man who flew the final combat mission of World War II. Just incredible.
Posted by Regnery Publishing on Wednesday, August 2, 2017
He spoke of the 16 men he flew with who never returned home, five who were killed in training accidents and 11 who were died in combat, three of which were his own wing men.
“It’s probably the most precious time of my life…to be with other guys who were protecting me and I was protecting them, fighting for my country…I don’t regret one moment I served in the war,” he said.
It was after the war, he said, from 1945-1975, he was a “basket case.” Yellin said for over 40 years he was unable to talk about his time in battle — and his family members never heard about it from him until somewhat recently.
In 1983, Yellin got the opportunity to return to Japan. He was hesitant about going, but went at his wife’s request. Soon after, they sent their son there for a college trip — and the young man loved the country so much that he decided to make it his home, married a Japanese woman and lives there to this day.
His son’s future father-in-law, who was a Japanese kamikaze pilot during the war, was at first cold to meeting his daughter’s American fiance — especially when he found out Yellin flew planes against the Japanese in the war.
As Yellin tells it, though, the father eventually relented saying that “Any man that could fly a P51 against the Japanese and live must be a brave man…and I want the blood of the man to flow through the veins of our grandchildren.”
Hats off to Yellin, who risked his life many times for our country, and lived to tell an incredible story.