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message 1: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments Hello, my name is Jerry Yellin and I was a fighter pilot in WW2. I have 2 published books, Of War and Weddings and The Blackened Canteen available from Amazon or my website www.jerryyellin.com. Here a very short synopsis of a story from Of War and Weddings. Iwo Jima, August 14, 1945
My memories of August 14, 1945 are very clear. I flew P-51’s from Iwo Jima over Japan during WWII as a 21-year old Captain and Flight leader. On August 6, I returned from a mission when LT. Phil Maher jumped on my wing and shouted, “We dropped one bomb and wiped out a city, it’s over!”
There was a sense of relief in the entire squadron. No more 8-hour missions. No more guys being killed. We had survived. Our motto “Back Alive in 45,” seemed to have been fulfilled.
But it wasn’t to be.
A notice was posted in the ready room on August 13, with our assignments for the next day’s mission for all to read. The briefing would start at 1600 hours.
Major Jim Tapp, squadron commander stood in front of the map of Japan and started to talk, “Why another mission?” was called out from the gathering of pilots. Tapp responded,”We have to keep them honest. We will take off at 0800 but I doubt we will reach the target before the war is called off. If you hear the code word ‘Ohio,’ we will abort the mission and return to ‘Hotrocks’ (the code name of Iwo Jima).”
I was scheduled to lead Blue flight. Phil Schlamberg, a 19-year old pilot from Brooklyn, NY, was my wingman. Schlamberg, sitting next to me, leaned over, and said, “Captain, if I go, I won’t come back.”
Startled, I said, “Why?”
“Just a feeling I have,” Phil responded.
When the briefing ended, I approached Tapp and told him what Schlamberg told me and asked if there was a replacement.
“There isn’t anyone to take his place, Jerry. Doc Lewis can get him off if there is a medical reason and Schlamberg agrees,” Tapp replied.
When I asked Phil, he said, “No way.”
On the morning of the mission, I told Phil, “Just stay close on my wing, tuck it in tight, you will be OK. We will probably abort before we reach the target.”
No one heard the code word before we dropped our wing tanks and started strafing airfields near Tokyo. Phil was tight on my wing while we strafed our targets and on my wing when we started back toward the B-29 navigation plane. I looked over gave him a thumbs up and led the flight into some clouds. When we emerged into clear skies, Phil was gone, no radio transmission, no visual contact, just gone.
When we landed back at Iwo, we learned that the war had been over for three hours while we were over Japan.
In my mind Phil Schlamberg was the last man killed on a fighter mission over Japan and may very well have been the last man killed in combat in a war that took the lives of 60 million people.
Jerry Yellin Vero Beach, FL
I knew 16 young men who were killed during the war. I hated the Japanese all of my adult life. Then I attended a wedding in Japan on March 6, 1988, between the daughter of a Japanese Imperial Air Force veteran and my youngest son, Robert. This wedding between children of former enemies made me rethink, not only of my life as a warrior, but the lives of all of us who served in combat. Today I have three grandchildren living in Japan, aged 19, 17 and 13. They love me, I love them. I can’t help feeling that all of Humanity is the same, that the pure purpose of war is to kill and the pure purpose of life is to connect to all of Nature. It is up to the young people of our World to find a way to eliminate War and find a way to live in Unity with all of Humanity, in Harmony with Nature and find Peace for our Planet.

message 2: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 41 comments Impressive.

message 3: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments Thanks so much Peggy.


message 4: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 41 comments You're quite welcome. Keep writing and publishing your stories. Such reminders need to be accessible lest we go through much the same thing again.

message 5: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments I agree but find it difficult getting my books read. Here is a short review of The Blackened Canteen from Amazon.com

I have read many academic and historical fiction texts about Japanese history as a long time student of the subject. Rarely have I found historical fiction to have as many history lessons as in 'The Blackened Canteen.' Yellin does an excellent job of providing not only the experiences of Japanese and Americans in WWII, but also factual historical perspective. The characters in 'The Blackened Canteen' aren't simply sympathetic figures in an historically significant story, their thoughts also provide insightful analysis of the events that shaped the war in the Pacific.

Yellin's descriptions of the American airmen's thoughts are particularly credible because of the author's personal experience as the pilot of a P-51. His descriptions of the Japanese civilians' thoughts may provide an even deeper perspective on the thinking of an American World War II Veteran.

I would recommend this book to students of Japanese history. I have an M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis (in Japanese History and Foreign Policy), and in my entire study I never came across a book so entertaining and informative at the same time. I would also recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting book for their book club. This book invites discussion! It is rare that a book about war ends up being so inspiring.

message 6: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1 comments Here's a story from Iwo you might appreciate, Jerry. My father (a three-war veteran) flew as a navigator on B-29s from Saipan. He had married my mother in late 1944 not having met any of her family. Well, his plane crash-landed on Iwo Jima (not his fault, he claims) so he decided to find his new brother-in-law, a P-51 pilot. He was away on an escort mission so my father helped himself to his cot. Big scene when my uncle got back! It all ended well, though, and there was a nice article in the San Antonio newspaper about the reunion half a world away.

message 7: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments Great story Mark, you would enjoy Of War and Weddings, my memoir of life as a P-51 pilot and hatred of the Japanese that changed dramatically when my youngest son married a Japanese woman in 1988.


message 8: by Joan (new)

Joan | 16 comments Wow, tried to read this aloud to my husband and emotion got to my voice and tears filled my eyes. I will have to get your book. Joan

message 9: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments Both books will do that to you Joan, so I have been told by many readers. They are available from Amazon.com and you can hear and see a 3 minute video of what prompted me to write The Blackened Canteen on either YouTube by putting my name in it as well as hear two speeches I made in Washington DC over Memorial Day weekend or at my website www.jerryyellin.com

Thanks again.


message 10: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 41 comments You go, darlin'. Write on! Don't let anyone forget. We're losing too many of your generation every day. I'm happy that you can do this instead of lying with my Dad at Arlington.

message 11: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments That is my only mission these days Peggy. Speaking tomorrow to a group here in Vero. You can see me on YouTube if you care to.


message 12: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 41 comments When you have time you might want to take a look at my FIXIN' THINGS, a novel of women at Gettysburg. I think you might appreciate my take on the Great [?:] battle more than most.

The book's on amazon and the first chapter is on my website http://peggyullmanbell.com if time permits.

message 13: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments What did your Dad do in the war?

message 14: by Peggy (last edited Aug 19, 2009 05:14AM) (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 41 comments Dad went in as a PO2nd Motor Machinist and spent most of his tour "loaned" to the Army in North Africa. He went with them when they invaded Sicily and lower Italy before getting tangled with a jeep full of drunken Frenchmen and sent home on medical leave too injured to be sent back. He had ribs through his lungs and came home with only half of one lung left. The Navy gave him 6 mos. and enough pain meds to kill a Texas herd. Together we quite literally danced through 7 years during which he showered me with all the wisdom a veteran of Vaudeville and The War could impart.

I know that doesn't sound like much in the way of heroics but to me it was. Daddy was well over the age to be drafted. He didn't have to go except that HE had to go.

He did a lot of complaining because he only got to FCPO and never got a "perch for the crow" as he put it. Two of my sons, growing up with that story, especially my youngest entered the Navy determined to get that perch for the Grandpa who died long before their birth.

The older of the two retired as an admin yeoman SPO in virtual charge of the entire Naval complex @ Great Lakes. While the younger retired as yeoman CPO. As part of the youngest's retirement ceremony I was presented with a flag that my dad's younger brother, himself a retired Lt. Commander had flown over my father's grave, also Uncle Guy had placed a CPO's broken anchor beneath the grass near Daddy's headstone. Daddy finally got the "perch for the crow" he had yearned for those many years before. Every Chief at the ceremony was in tears.

message 15: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Yellin (Jaywhy) | 11 comments Thanks so much for all of this Peggy. War is such a waste of human resources and the after affects remain for life. More than 10% of our population served, 16 million, in WW2, just a few survive today.

Best regards to you and yours


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