RFT 052: Jerry Yellin, Last WWII Mission Pilot

October 31, 2016


Captain Jerry Yellin enlisted in the Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday, two months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He became a fighter pilot, flying P-40s, P-47s and P-51s. He flew 19 ultra-long P-51 missions from Iwo Jima to Japan on bomber escort and interdiction missions, and was the last pilot in WWII to engage in aerial combat.

Following the war, he suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for 30 years, until ultimately finding a cure through Transcendental Meditation.

In 1982, he reluctantly went to Japan on a business trip and fell in love with the country and people he had hated for 40 years. In his book Of Wars and Weddings he recounts his transformation and the marriage of his son to the daughter of a Japanese fighter pilot, and how the two enemies became family.

He has now authored four books, with one translated into Japanese. His website is www.captainjerryyellin.com. At 92 years of age, he now travels around the world, speaking about his journey.